Crawl Across the Ocean

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Media, The View from 1878

Some fodder for the post I'll likely never write on the death of the newspaper industry:

"Use of the smallest dishonesty. The power of the press consists in the fact that every individual who serves it feels only slightly pledged or bound to it. He usually gives his opinion, but sometimes does not give it, in order to help his party or the politics of his country, or even himself.

Such little misdemeanors of dishonesty, or perhaps only of dishonest reticence, are not hard for the individual to bear; and yet the consequences are extraordinary, because these little misdemeanors are committed by many people at the same time. Each of these people says to himself, "For such petty services I live better and can make my livelihood; if I fail in such little considerations, I make myself impossible." Because it almost seems that writing one line more or less, and perhaps even without a signature, makes no difference morally, a man who has money and influence can turn any opinion into the public one. Whoever realizes that most people are weak in small things, and wants to attain his own purposes through them, is always a dangerous human being."

(from Human All Too Human, by Friedrich Nietzsche)

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