Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A few of my favorite things..............


1.  The New Yorker's Jill LePore essay, "Does Journalism Have A Future?"  No definitive answer available.  Here are a few excerpts

The daily newspaper is the taproot of modern journalism. Dailies mainly date to the eighteen-thirties, the decade in which the word “journalism” was coined, meaning daily reporting, the jour in journalism. Early dailies depended on subscribers to pay the bills. The press was partisan, readers were voters, and the news was meant to persuade (and voter turnout was high). But by 1900 advertising made up more than two-thirds of the revenue at most of the nation’s eighteen thousand newspapers, and readers were consumers (and voter turnout began its long fall). “The newspaper is not a missionary or a charitable institution, but a business that collects and publishes news which the people want and are willing to buy,” one Missouri editor said in 1892. Newspapers stopped rousing the rabble so much because businesses wanted readers, no matter their politics. “

 “When you read your daily paper, are you reading facts or propaganda?” Upton Sinclair asked on the jacket of “The Brass Check,” in 1919.

 “To keep a reporter’s prejudices out of a story is commendable,” Irving Kristol wrote in 1967. “To keep his judgment out of a story is to guarantee that the truth will be emasculated.” 



2.    Stratford Caldecott's essay, G. K. Chesterton and Modernity, wherein Chesterton points a finger of blame at Capitalism for destroying "family" in the modern world.  That's not something you hear everyday.   This Chesterton quote also included:


Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought… It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all…. There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped. That is the ultimate evil against which all religious authority was aimed. It only appears at the end of decadent ages like our own.



3.  Christopher Hitchens pens an essay on the Freedom of Speech.

The unfettered tongue and pen do not always produce results that make our lives easier or more comfortable.
Mark Twain once observed sardonically that Americans were careful to make very sparing use of their precious and much-boasted liberty. But even he, the most popular figure in the country at the time, took care to conceal some of his more scornful views on religion and expansionist foreign policy.
My own opinion is a very simple one. The right of others to free expression is part of my own. If someone’s voice is silenced, then I am deprived of the right to hear. Moreover, I have never met nor heard of anybody I would trust with the job of deciding in advance what it might be permissible for me or anyone else to say or read. That freedom of expression consists of being able to tell people what they may not wish to hear, and that it must extend, above all, to those who think differently is, to me, self-evident.

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