Fundamental and longstanding principles upon which journalism is practised

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From the 22 May 1901 edition of the Adelaide Advertiser, a report on the previous day’s debate in Melbourne’s Federal Parliament:

Referring to the general election, Mr. Reid said there was an imaginative production [The Age newspaper] published in Melbourne at a reasonable price, whose proprietor [David Syme] was the virtual dictator of Victoria, and held its politicians in the hollow of his hand. (Cries of “No.”) He intended to let them hear something novel. No prominent politician had the pluck to face the dictator. One man, the Rev. J. B. Ronald, faced him, and was still alive, and tolerably well. He hoped that would give courage to others to follow his example. They must reckon now that one paper ruled Victoria, and that affected the results of the election.

Syme, the noted patron of Alfred Deakin, who ran the paper from 1860 to 1908, in an unfinished essay on ‘the Working of Party Government’:

The Press has… been described as the organ of public opinion. But a newspaper is something more than an organ of public opinion… A newspaper, if it is of any account at all, has its own opinions. It does not ask the man in the street what he thinks, but it tells him what he ought to think.

Joseph Goebbels, 15 March 1933, speech to press proprietors:

Gentlemen! I believe that I can present myself to you as a colleague, as it were, because I do not come to the press field as an innocent but am myself from the press… As I have already said, the press must not merely inform: it must also instruct. I turn first of all to the explicitly national press. Gentlemen! You too will consider a situation in which the press is so finely tuned that it is, so to speak, a piano in the hands of the Government and on which the Government can play, a situation in which it is an enormously important and significant instrument of mass influence that the Government can make use of in the work for which it is responsible.

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One Response to “Fundamental and longstanding principles upon which journalism is practised”

  1. ‘Border protection’ and nationalization of the high seas « Churls Gone Wild Says:

    […] of the basic tasks of electoral politics (and its satellites in the media and academic worlds) is to mobilize and harness a mass constituency behind elite objectives. In […]

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