The notion of the media (newspapers, magazines, television, radio, blogs, and the like) as the fourth estate—the other “estates,” or branches, in a more modern interpretation, are the legislative, judicial, and executive—rests on the idea that the media's function is to act as a guardian of the public interest and a watchdog of government and industry. The earliest use of the term fourth estate in reference to the press or media is found in Thomas Carlyle's book On Heroes and Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1894), the same book that introduced the Great Man theory discussed earlier.
Exile on Wall Street
Whom do you trust with your money? How do you know which company's stock to buy or sell? Some people are smart, perhaps, and believe they can accurately forecast trends and predict patterns. Most small to medium investors generally don't have a clue, however. They might perhaps rely on luck, always pretty sketchy, or they might depend on professional financial advisors, which is also not a confident bet. Independent financial analysts are supposedly one of the important “checks” on the financial system. These are the professionals who supposedly go through the numbers for you. They review company annual reports and pore over ...