Good journalism and analysis aren’t just about bringing the most important stories to light and holding the powerful to account. They’re also about creating the ideal of what government can and should be. Policymaking is and has always been a messy and often ugly business; a fair and free press is crucial for keeping it as clean as possible.

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Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.