The news media hold themselves out as guardians of the First Amendment to the Constitution, but increasingly some of these organizations seek to vilify people for exercising their rights. Included in the First Amendment, which protects the news media, is the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Plainly stated, it gives Americans the right to be heard. Whether it's an individual telephoning his or her representative to voice an opinion on pending legislation or an industry representative lobbying the government, the Founders saw fit to give this right a priority that is on par with freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly.
Sadly for legislative relations, rare instances of lobbying abuses and the media's treatment of them led to the art of legislative liaison falling into bad repute. It is unfortunate because legitimate lobbying provides a service to all Americans. Industry representatives offer valuable expertise to help legislators craft policy that serves the public interest while avoiding the unintended consequences of laws written in a vacuum.