The Myth Of A Free Press

There is no free press. It’s very expensive
4 min readJun 12, 2022


The three estates of the French Revolution. The fourth estate just jumped on top

Journalism is called the fourth estate, along with the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. It’s important to understand it as an estate no more trustworthy than priests or politicians, and as distinct from the expression of people. There is no free press at all. It’s actually very expensive.

What we call a free press is actually a series of digital fiefdoms owned by billionaires, employing millionaires, deceiving the rest of the population. From Fox News to the New York Times they are a power and they defend the interests of power, there is no other reckoning.

The whole idea of a ‘free press’ is based on the idea that journalists are some incorruptible priesthood devoted to truth, but look at actual priests. They’re all just human, they’re all influenced by power and money, and they’re all prone to wild abuses, especially if you blindly believe in them. The press is just another estate along with the clergy, and no more worthy of obeisance.

The fact is that in this day and age it costs billions of dollars to control a ‘free’ press, which is the opposite of freedom for 99.999% of people. It’s just another industry that’s massively consolidating under capitalism. Thus the press will no more declaim capitalism any more than a big shoe company would. They’re both just corporations, why would they attack their own ecosystem, even as it becomes toxic to the living one?

Even the social media platforms that are open to people are engineered around copyright strikes by intellectual ‘capital’ owners and increasingly follow imperial censorship dictates on proxy wars (like Ukraine, or Palestine) and algorithmically do god knows what. These are still platforms owned by capital, deeply connected with power, and these digital estates can’t be trusted any more than landed ones.

It is a sad thing to lose faith in journalists as it is to lose faith in priests. Like God, the ephemeral idea of truth is worthy of worship. But we simply cannot trust its interlocutors. While Fox News tells Americans to hate Mexicans, the New York Times tells them to hate Russians. They’re two sides of the same imperial coin, and they’re certainly both capitalist, that goes without question.



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at