A rather famous quote by WaPo publisher Kay Graham illuminates her stance on how the nexus of media and power should work together.
We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know, and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secret and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.Basically, government secrecy is grand as long at the media gets to decide the exception. Media is making itself sovereign with that point of view. By the mere editorial power it has with what to print or not print, it shapes everything. This is why the cry over democracy dying in darkness is a joke. They have shoved plenty into the dark and been accomplices to crimes domestic or international. Even the libs admit that Watergate was a coup that the media, specifically WaPo, acted as courier for between the different nodes of Beltway power.
The Washington Post has been at the nexus of power in DC for decades. The best book discussing this is "Katherine The Great" by Deborah Davis. How accurate was this book? How deep did it hit? Davis spotlighted Operation Mockingbird, discussed editor Ben Bradlee's history as a CIA asset, and even speculated that Watergate was a CIA operation with WaPo help. It was so dead on that Bradlee and Kay Graham worked overtime to get the book pulled. It was not only pulled but all copies were turned into pulp. Davis won in court and the book was reprinted.
Bradlee was not a CIA agent but an asset. It is an important difference. In WW2, Bradlee was a naval intelligence officer, and afterwards, worked in a propaganda unit. One can be an intelligence asset without ever realizing it, but Bradlee was working on projects that were part of broader CIA campaigns. Exactly what is a newspaper anyway? It is a medium for transmitting messages to audiences of a specific demographic. It is the perfect way to signal or notify others of important things without direct contact in a small circle like DC.
If you want to hear spooky, Bradlee's second wife was the sister of Mary Pinchot Meyer who was married to Cord Meyer, a big CIA figure. The Meyers divorced and Mary became JFK's last big mistress. She was killed a year after JFK's death. Who went into her home and found her diary, subsequently handing it over to James Jesus Angleton who then burned it at CIA's HQ? Ben Bradlee. Ben Bradlee was no agent, but a man who will go to those lengths for the chief of counterintelligence at CIA is definitely an asset. Darkness? Burning the diary of an assassinated president's mistress is darkness.
If one stops to consider it, this media role of selective editing not only gives a journalist or editor amazing power for leakage but then power back on the source. Access journalism is real and in this era of dead investigative journalism, it is all we have for nearly all genres of journalism. As any information is kept on file, it can be used as leverage on a source for 'why won't you tell me X now when I held back from revealing Y to the public last year?'.
This is why I support nationalizing the media. it is dying anyway. Nationalize it, and reconfigure the model to be a release of information and data with public interpretation of data and figures for debate. Take something like Wikileaks releases and then allow the hustle and drive of people interested to put the pieces together. The Clinton State Department email releases, even redacted, were enough to put the pieces together that Clinton and Obama were fully aware that the Muslim Brotherhood was moving Egypt to an Iran 1979 transition and supported it while openly stating they did not want that to happen. Guy who wrote that works a regular job and still found time to do the analysis reporters couldn't be bothered to do to spotlight the mindset of the potential next president.
This would never happen with the current system because it not only serves the system but is part of the system. They do not want to change. They just want the status of the public figure media guy with the blue checkmark on twitter and byline at some outlet. They are order takers. They are courtesans. If democracy dies in the darkness, it is because they shut off the lights.