19 April 2010

The Deception of "The Free Press"

Our forms of communication have changed dramatically since 1935 yet the criticisms of the media then are as relevant as today.  G.K. Chesterton wrote about the misleading nature newspapers when he wrote,
Journalism, is a false picture of the world, thrown upon a lighted screen in a darkened room so that the real world is not seen and the unreal world is seen. . . . We live under secret government, conducted by a secret process called Publicity."
Here is an indictment of the journalistic profession by one of its own, an editor from New York, John Swinton, given during the New York Press Associations annual dinner.
"There is no such thing as a free press in America, if we except that of little country towns.  You know this and I know it.  Not a man among you dares to utter his honest opinion.  Were you to utter it, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.  I am paid 150 dollars a week so that I may keep my honest opinion out of the paper for which I write.  You, too, are paid similar salaries for similar services.  Were I to permit that a single edition of my newspaper contained an honest opinion, my occupation, like that of Othello's, would be gone in less than twenty-four hours.  The man who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinion would soon be on the streets in search for another job.  It is the duty of a New York journalist to lie, to distort, to revile, to toady at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or what amounts to the same thing, his salary.  We are marionettes.  These men pull the strings, and we dance.  Our time, our talents, our live, our caprices are all the property of these men; we are intellectual prostitutes."
Apparently there was some controversy over this quote of Swinton's but for a fact checked account of what he said you can read here.

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