In order to play its critical role in a democracy, the press needs at least two qualities--a healthy skepticism toward the actions of those in power and sufficient ideological diversity to ensure that wrongdoers of all stripes will be held accountable.
Scott Horton, of Harper's, points out in today's Anniston Star that Alabama's press is sorely lacking on both counts.
Horton notes the strong evidence that prosecutors were improperly feeding material to reporters from certain press organizations during the investigation of former Governor Don Siegelman. And with the Newhouse newspaper chain dominating three key markets in Alabama, no independent voices stepped up to ask critical questions about the prosecutions evidence--and its activities.
In essence, Alabama's press is a lot like its state judicial system. It's a club made up largely of people who are white and male and of a certain ideological bent. And Alabama's citizens, overall, are not well served by either their press or their judiciary.