MUNCIE, Indiana, 11:30 p.m. – This past Thursday evening, January 3, I watched history and recorded it.

I was in the Des Moines suburb of Ankety, in the Precinct 3 caucus room. Camcorder in hand, I pushed the “Start” button and let American democracy live itself out for my camera.

Later that evening, I attended Barack Obama’s post-caucus celebration in downtown Des Moines. I stood in the press section while he delivered his victory speech. Scores of journalists surrounded me, all tightly compact, all watching closely and listening even closer.

I was one of the lucky few thousand who would watch Obama deliver this speech live. The rest of Iowa, and indeed, the rest of the Unites States and the world would have to experience his speech through a medium: the media, whether it be in print, on television, or online.

The media acts as a filter. It communicates the essence of a thing, but something is lost in the process. At best, the media can provide a 360 degree account of an event, but a third dimension is lost, always.

Also, the media is not necessary an equal-opportunity filter. The media is purported to be unbiased, and it may aspire to be, but a journalist’s personal opinion can find ways to sneak into a story or picture.

A third-hand account is never a complete substitute for the real deal. Always be mindful of what might have been subtracted and what added.

Chris Young