Television news has no appeal to me. Even the radio can be aggravating, as in a recent program a new local anchor was going on and on about a bee theft. He was saying things like, “…well how can you steal bees? They must be flying around, how did they get them in the truck? And who would buy bees anyway?” He was serious and his ignorance continued. I wanted to stop the car and call the station and try to educate him. Nah!
Magazines on-line and in print are a better source in my opinion. Readers catch mistakes, if they are made, and keep editors on their toes. I’ve subscribed to all the above, but not at the same time. Subscribing for short periods of time, off and on because I don’t have time to read a years worth of everything I order is the better way. ODE For Intelligent Optimists I like, but strangely, good news comes with a high price tag. Scientific American I subscribe on-line, only. There is one newspaper I respect for its honesty and balanced reporting, The Christian Science Monitor.
I watched the telly on New Year’s Eve and rung in the year with guests and listened to a lot of news leading up to the big event and it put me in mind of John Bogart’s famous statement, “If a man bites a dog, that is news.”
I thought it would be fun to sort through the various quotes about News and see how they compare with today.
“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets”: Napoleon (Rings true.)
“When we hear news we should always wait for the Sacrament of confirmation.” Voltaire
(We now have fact checkers on-line, but nobody listened to Voltaire, and no one uses the fact checkers after they read the paper.)
“Every editor of newspapers pays tribute to the devil.” La Fontaine (I can agree with that, I’ve been there.)
“Let me make the newspapers, and I care not what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in Congress.” Wendell Phillips ( Sounds a lot like today. Do anything to get your face in the news. Phillips, an abolitionist, died in the 1800’s.)
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Thomas Jefferson. (Wise tribute to the importance of a free press. There are only two Free Presses that I know of in existent today, unlike days of yore.)
“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” Thomas Jefferson. 1807. (Looks like Jefferson saw the evil a newspaper can bring and changed his mind. I found three more quotes about the news by Jefferson in which he states “… it is disreputable to state a fact on a Newspaper’s authority…I do not read a newspaper and feel the happier for it…I shall never take another newspaper of any sort.” )
“Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this. Divide his paper into four categories, heading the first, Truths, the 2nd Probabilities, the third, Possibilities and the 4th Lies. The first chapter would be very short.” Ibid
Sad to say, there were more negative than positive quotes about newspapers.
Andy Rooney was one journalist who had a lot of good things to say in a few words.