without the FOIA. There is little doubt that open meetings and open records statutes and court decisions making the courts accessible to the press and the public have created a more informed society and, ultimately, a better government.
Even televised trials can lead to a better informed public, putting aside the perceived abuses that occurred outside the courtroom in cases such as the O. J. Simpson murder trial. As First Amendment Attorney and University of Illinois Journalism Professor, Steven Helle, concluded in a 1996 address:
The media are highly visible, often more than a little arrogant, and they commit their mistakes in front of thousands, if not millions. How can one resist popping a few of their balloons? The reality, though, is that the media and the publicity they engender are not the problem, and I have tried to suggest that publicity may be part of the solution. Mistaking publicity as the problem may be, as Abraham Lincoln once said, to confuse a horse-chestnut with a chestnut horse. 168