Quote of the Day: Journalism

 

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.” – Eric Blair (George Orwell)

The United States has a public relations problem. Our media, especially the tech barons have abandoned journalism in favor of public relations. So have our universities, colleges, and public schools. No one is supposed to feel bad, or hear things that trigger them, especially anything that challenges the delivered wisdom as defined by the mainstream media and the tech barons. Finley Peter Dunn, a humorist from the early twentieth century once pithily noted that a newspaper “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.” Today, the MSM has become comfortable and chooses not to afflict itself.

We have entered an America where one has to read information coming from the media and academia in the same way Soviets in the 1960s read Pravda and Izvestia. Not by what is written, but by what is not written and what is being carefully avoided being written. We figure out what is actually happening because of what is left out.

People need to hear what others do not want printed. They need to be exposed to foreign ideas, things that make them uncomfortable. Ideas make you uncomfortable for one of two reasons: because they are wrong and you are reacting to that, or because they are right and you believe ideas or are behaving in ways that are contrary to the ideas that make you uncomfortable.

If you understand why ideas that make you uncomfortable are wrong, it provides further grounding to your beliefs. If you recognize why ideas that make you uncomfortable are right, it causes you to question the beliefs or behaviors those ideas challenge and may lead to alteration of those beliefs or behaviors. Either way, you win. You are affirmed or you are improved.

This explains why those on the right seem happier and more grounded than those on the left. They are today’s counterculture, and they are constantly exposed to ideas that make them uncomfortable. They have learned how to defend their beliefs and are secure in those they hold because they have been tested. Those on the left generally have a set of beliefs handed to them, platitudes that are rarely challenged but frequently change. They go along to get along. They never really understand their positions but are afraid to challenge them.

Journalism as defined by Orwell is a blessing. Public relations is a curse.

Published in Journalism
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 21 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    • #1
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    There was an old joke in the Soviet Union; There is no truth in Pravda, and there is no news in Izvestia. Pravda is the Russian word for truth, Izvestia is the word for news. 

    • #2
  3. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I have a half-written piece laying around here somewhere that looks at how the relationship between The News and The People has changed over time.  I think it is mostly driven by a profit motive, originally perhaps innocent or at least not intent on killing journalism.  

    Most of our information comes to us freely at a very high price.  Free in that we don’t pay a subscription to receive it.  The price we pay is a loss of a truly free press.  

    • #3
  4. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    I used to feel much the same way about church. But anymore, sermons are not an exhortation to behave better, but an affirmation of liberal politics.  

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I miss the days when journalists would pretend to edit the press releases and maybe make a phone call or two before printing them as news. 

    • #5
  6. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us. 

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done. 

    • #6
  7. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us.

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done.

    Yes. If anyone thinks it (journalism) is bad now, they should go back and read some from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Available, I’m sure, on microfilm at your local historical society.) It’s a revelation!

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us.

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done.

    Yes. If anyone thinks it (journalism) is bad now, they should go back and read some from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Available, I’m sure, on microfilm at your local historical society.) It’s a revelation!

    Indeed, but a town of any size had at least two papers. They served to keep one another honest.

    • #8
  9. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us.

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done.

    Yes. If anyone thinks it (journalism) is bad now, they should go back and read some from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Available, I’m sure, on microfilm at your local historical society.) It’s a revelation!

    But back then newspapers competed with each other.

    • #9
  10. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I miss the days when journalists would pretend to edit the press releases and maybe make a phone call or two before printing them as news.

    That’s what happens when “journalists” are actually Poly Sci or Race/Gender Studies majors…

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    A lot of public relations is printing something that someone else does not want printed.

    • #11
  12. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us.

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done.

    One of my brothers, who owned a small chain of local papers, told me once that his goal was selling eyeballs to advertisers.  He may have gotten that from someone else.  

    • #12
  13. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us.

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done.

    Yes. If anyone thinks it (journalism) is bad now, they should go back and read some from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Available, I’m sure, on microfilm at your local historical society.) It’s a revelation!

    If you are interested in a real treat, try the pamphlets produced in England during the 1640s and 50s.  

    • #13
  14. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Journalism as defined by Blair and Dunn never existed – at least not in the ‘pure’ form the journalism schools and the mythology of Watergate want you to believe. The comfortable that were afflicted or the ‘someone’s who didn’t want something published were the enemies of the (also comfortable, and quite happy to see the story published) proprietor.

    With the unprecedented metastasizing of the administrative state post-WW2 we find ourselves in a situation where the interest of every proprietor and the bureaucratic class (of which journalists are the least talented and most self-regarding members) are aligned with that of the permanent government. So the targets of journalism are the apostates of the religion of Big Government: us.

    Which is to say journalism is working as intended, and as it has always done.

    One of my brothers, who owned a small chain of local papers, told me once that his goal was selling eyeballs to advertisers. He may have gotten that from someone else.

    Actually, those small local papers might be the last bastion of journalism.  Local stories about government, high school sports, legal notices, etc.  I subscribe to two of these locals and find that, at times, they provide more in the way of news than those in the big cities. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that neither publication has an opinion section.

    • #14
  15. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    US journalism are in the narrative business, not the news business. They will go after a story that fits a narrative they want to push and ignore one that does not

    • #15
  16. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Percival (View Comment):

    but a town of any size had at least two papers. They served to keep one another honest.

    No – they allowed you to choose which lies to read (or avoid reading). Or which “narrative” to subscribe to, in modern parlance. Honesty don’t enter into it. 

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    genferei (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    but a town of any size had at least two papers. They served to keep one another honest.

    No – they allowed you to choose which lies to read (or avoid reading). Or which “narrative” to subscribe to, in modern parlance. Honesty don’t enter into it.

    Or you could read both. Not ideal, but you would have a better grasp of what was going on.

    • #17
  18. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Percival (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    but a town of any size had at least two papers. They served to keep one another honest.

    No – they allowed you to choose which lies to read (or avoid reading). Or which “narrative” to subscribe to, in modern parlance. Honesty don’t enter into it.

    Or you could read both. Not ideal, but you would have a better grasp of what was going on.

    I’m not sure you can triangulate your way to truth from two sets of lies. The category error is in reading the newspaper looking for truth in the first place. (Truth outside of the box scores, that is.)

    • #18
  19. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    I used to feel much the same way about church. But anymore, sermons are not an exhortation to behave better, but an affirmation of liberal politics.

    Depends on the Church you are going to.

     

    • #19
  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    genferei (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    but a town of any size had at least two papers. They served to keep one another honest.

    No – they allowed you to choose which lies to read (or avoid reading). Or which “narrative” to subscribe to, in modern parlance. Honesty don’t enter into it.

    Doesn’t matter. If they call out each other’s lies, it helps you interpret. 

    • #20
  21. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Newspapers weren’t always pure biased propaganda, whether right or left leaning.  My favorite newspaper anecdote began in 1980 or so.  I would walk to the local Hotcake House and sit in the booth, play Jackson Brown singing Stay, and Crystal Gayle singing Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue on the juke box (they got sick of it over the years) and read the Oregonian from cover to cover.

    I always read even the 1-inch columns in the the lower left corner of page-2.  And one time I saw an interesting, though seemingly irrelevant, notification of a 2.3 earthquake located at Semipalatinsk in Russia.  There are no seismic faults in Semipalatinsk.  Hmm, I thought.  And I stored it away in the part of my brain used to store useless information.

    It was some years later that I became aware that Semipalatinsk was the test site of an experimental particle beam weapon that the Soviets were working on.  They built an immense underground vault loaded with many tons of iron, and propelled this mass outward through many tons of wire coils generating an electrical impulse that was stored in what were essentially above-ground capacitors the size of grain silos.  They would then practice creating and shooting a directed electromagnetic pulse into space (this was years before Reagan’s Star Wars program).

    The energy for moving all this metal so quickly to generate electricity was a small atomic bomb at the center of the iron mass.  Ah! I said.  This was the source of the small earthquake noted so routinely in the Oregonian that day.

    Newspapers used to be full of all kinds of interesting stuff.

    • #21
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.