Wednesday, June 28, 2006

from a reader

[Editor's note: A reader sent this in to us, so we thought we'd just post it and let it speak for itself. We're not saying we agree with it. On the other hand, when you think about the core nature of advertising, well, it's food for thought. (see first post today.)
On an unrelated matter, we're taking a week or so off from blogging. Thanks for reading ... B. Jones]

[Asked to give a toast before the prestigious New York Press Club in 1880, John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff at the New York Times, made this candid confession [it's worth noting that Swinton was called "The Dean of His Profession" by other newsmen, who admired him greatly]:

" There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, as an
independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you
who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know
beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for
keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others
of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who
would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the
streets looking for another job.

If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper,
before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of
the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to
vilify; to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell the country for his
daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting
an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men
behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and
we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the
property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes. "]


JD Allen said...

A bit like that speech by Gen. Smedley Butler. I lost the link I used to have to that, or I'd plug it in here. If I could figure out how to do that. Also reminds me of Ambrose Bierce's adios, at least, the one purported to him in "The Old Gringo".

Banjo Jones said...

or maybe Swinton already had been "toasting" several hours (or days) before he made this celebratory toast. you never know. people say wild shit sometimes. they write it, too.

JD Allen said...

Enough with the vacation, already. I need my read.