“In fact, we are generally even stupider”

Thus we may concede that politicians have done something towards degrading journalism.  It was not entirely done by us, the journalists. But most of it was.  It was mostly the fruit of our first and most natural sin — the habit of regarding ourselves as conjurers rather than priests, for the definition is that a conjurer is apart from his audience, while a priest is a part of his.  The conjurer despises his congregation; if the priest despises any one, it must be himself. The curse of all journalism, but especially of that yellow journalism which is the shame of our profession, is that we think ourselves cleverer than the people for whom we write, whereas, in fact, we are generally even stupider. [. . .] Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another; the public enjoys both, but it is more or less conscious of the difference. … But the, people know in their hearts that journalism is a conventional art like any other, that it selects, heightens, and falsifies. Only its Nemesis is the same as that of other arts: if it loses all care for truth it loses all form likewise.

All Things Considered (1908).

Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 6:22 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Awesome.


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