If you like this, you may also enjoy Journalism Movies and Journalism Books.
You may also enjoy Barbara Schmidt's remarkable Mark Twain site includes a full page of Twain's newspaper quotes. I could repeat all of them here, or you could just look at that site.
Shortly after discovering the Twain quotes, I became interested in Twain's speech, License of the Press.
I worked Google for two hours, but couldn't find this public domain
writing anywhere in electronic form. The cheapest print version was
$10. None of the Kindle collections included it. Eventually, I was able
to find a digitized version, which I have cleaned up and placed on my
site as a service to others interested in writings about journalism: Mark Twain's License of the Press speech.
Journalist César G. Soriano (who worked at USA Today at one time) compiled All the Journalism quotes fit to print.
The site disappeared and I recovered it from the Internet Archive. I
attempted to reach Mr. Soriano, but was unable to find contact
information from him. If he, or anyone associated with him, wants the
page down, please contact me at pes-at-sign-schindler-dot-org.
And now a word from your proprieter:
I was discussing this web page with my wife, who noted that every
quotation on it was negative. "Hasn't anyone ever said anything
positive about journalism?" To get the ball rolling, I have collected
some of my favorite newspaper declarations of principle (including one
fictional one). I would love to add more, if you'd be kind enough to
share them; you can find my email address at the bottom of this page.
HARD TO FIND POSITIVE QUOTATIONS ABOUT JOURNALISM
There is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive
quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like
it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we
disapprove, there isn't any doubt that we could not do the job at all
in a free society without a very, very active press.
--John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA
Free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.
--Albert Camus (1913-1960) French novelist, essayist and dramatist
News Corporation, today, reaches people at home and at
work... when they're thinking... when they're laughing... and when they
are making choices that have enormous impact. The unique potential..
and duty.. of a media company are to help its audiences connect to the
issues that define our time.
As with all politically lead governments, foreign investment is
the slowest in the media section. Politicians are somewhat paranoid
about the media but we still think it's worthwhile.
All of us who professionally use the mass media are the
shapers of society. we can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it.
Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.
--William Bernbach, of DDB Needham Worldwide, 1989.
...opening up a newspaper is the key to looking classy and smart.
Never mind the bronze-plated stuff about the role of the press in a
democracy -- a newspaper, kiddo, is about Style.
-- Garrison Keillor
Tribune Media Syndicate, 10 Jan 2007
The basis of our governments being the opinion of the
people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it
left to me to decide whether we should have a government without
newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a
moment to prefer the latter.
-- Thomas Jefferson
letter to Edward Carrington, 1787.
It will be my earnest aim that The New York Times give the
news, all the news, in concise and attractive form, in language that is
permissible in good society, and give it as early if not earlier, than
it can be learned through any other reliable medium; to give the news
impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or
interest involved; to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum
for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to
that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.
-- Adoph Ochs
August 18, 1896, New York Times
Money is the great power today. Men sell their souls for it.
Women sell their bodies for it. Others worship it. The money power has
grown so great that the issue of all issues is whether the corporation
shall rule this country or the country shall again rule the
December 1878, St. Louis Dispatch
There is room in this great and growing city for a journal that
is not only cheap but bright, not only bright but large, not only large
but truly democratic--dedicated to the cause of the people rather than
that of the purse potentates--devoted more to the news of the New than
the Old World--that will expose all fraud and sham, fight all public
evils and abuses--that will sever and battle for the people with
May 1883, New York World
Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they
will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above
all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.
I. I will provide the people of this city with a daily newspaper that will tell all the news honestly.
II. I will also provide them with a fighting and tireless champion of their rights as citizens and human beings.
--fictional Charles Foster Kane II
New York Inquirer (movie Citizen Kane, 1941)
The [Oregon] Journal in its head and heart will stand for
the people, be truly Democratic and free from political entanglements
and machinations, believing in the principles that promise the greatest
good to the greatest number--to ALL MEN, regardless of race, creed or
previous condition of servitude... It will be a fair newspaper, not a
dull and selfish sheet...
-- Samuel Jackson
July 23, 1902, Oregon Journal
In journalistic débuts of this kind many talk of
principle-political principle, party principle-as a sort of steel trap
to catch the public. We ... disdain ... all principle, as it is called,
all party, all politics. Our only guide shall be good, sound, practical
common sense, applicable to the business and bosoms of men engaged in
-- James Gordon Bennett
1835, New York Herald
Preserve your independence of all demagogues and
place-hunters and never submit to their dictation; write boldly and
tell the truth fearlessly; criticize whatever is wrong, and denounced
whatever is rotten in the administration of your local and state
affairs, no matter how much it may offend the guilty or wound the
would-be leaders of your party...Make an earnest and conscientious
journal; establish its reputation for truth and reliability, frankness
and independence. Never willfully deceive the people, or trifle with
their confidence. Show that your journal is devoted to the advocacy and
promotion of their temporal interests and moral welfare.
May 1869, Chicago Tribune, from a speech give in Indianapolis to editors and publishers
The philosophical basis on which a newspaper rests is
extremely important. Why is it published? Only to turn a profit? Or
does it have another purpose? The answer is yes, our newspapers have
philosophical roots. What has been this unique character? For one, a
caring about the way things are for the ordinary person, caring about
the way the world is, the way the state is, the way the city is...The
first Bee was founded by men who had a cause, who fervently believed in
a just society. It cared about the things that would make this new
community a just society - affordable bank interest rates, land for
settlers, an honest court system, cheap electricity when it arrived and
clean water, trees and parks, good schools and fair treatment for the
--James Briggs McClatchy
Sacramento Bee, address to editors and publishers in 1993
- Publish and be damned
- Print the news and raise hell
--Traditional newspaper credos
Journalism is a noble calling. The working journalist is
to report, write, and explain in accordance with the highest standards
of the profession.
--World Journalism Institute
And I say to you, whether you do environmental reporting
or some other kind of journalism, and whether you practice journalism
here in the U.S. or in some other place, please keep doing it and doing
it well. Despite everything, journalism remains a noble calling.
-- Jim Risser, director emeritus of the Knight Fellowships.
EASIER TO FIND NEGTIVE QUOTATIONS ABOUT JOURNALISM
I have long thought that his [Rupert Murdoch's] social philosophy was contained in his cartoon show, The Simpsons:
all politicians and public officials are crooks, and the masses are a
vast lumpen proletariat of deluded and exploitable blowhards.
--Conrad Black, once again a free man, Oct. 2010
Too strong a media emphasis on death and violence can lead to despair.
Dealing with the media is more difficult that bathing a leper
... the British media [are] as untroubled by logical
inconsistency as they are by a shortage of facts, lack of knowledge, or
deficiencies in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
...The British press... [claimed that Tony] Blair was simply
Bush's poodle -- a favorite phrase, bewilderingly popular, although it
made no sense -- and that he was ignoring the will of the British
people. Considering the hacks had spent Blair's first six years in
office condemning him for relying on focus groups and opinion polls for
his policies -- in other words, paying attention to nothing but the
will of the people, or at least their whims -- that seemed a little
rich to me, but as I said, logical consistency has never figured highly
in the British media's scale of values.
--Larry King, an American journalist in London, May, 2007
A good newspaper is never nearly good enough but a lousy newspaper is a joy forever. [sometimes misquoted as "bad newspaper"]
-- Garrison Keillor
That Old 'Picayune-Moon Harper's September 1990
For years now, Martin [Amis] has had a contentious
relationship with British journalists, whom he likens to mullahs. "They
whip up hysteria," he explained. "Journalists are more powerful now
than they've ever been, and we all know what power does. Anyone who
disses the media is really asking for it. But it is the case that the
journalists are what they are - world famous for vulgarity, alcoholism,
-Charles McGrath, Sunday New York Times Magazine, April 22, 2007
I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying-it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off.
Every word I wrote was ephemeral, as evanescent as baby's breath, and had the shelf life of fish.
-Paul E. Schindler Jr. (me) May 19, 2006, describing his lifetime journalism output in a letter to A.R. Gurney Jr.
If you maintain a consistent political position long enough, you'll eventually be accused of treason.
-Mort Sahl, American standup comedian, from Mort Sahl at the Hungry
I (not really a journalism quote, but a hard to find quote I wanted to
One problem I have with reporters is that to a reporter
following me around, my untimely death wouldn't be a tragedy, but a
Alternatively, at a dinner with President Clinton, Keillor is reported to have said the President had to
"sit and eat fish with a group of people who would regard your downfall as a professional opportunity."
-Garrison Keillor, NPR (from memory by a correspondent)
Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself
to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally
indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's
vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying
them without remorse.
--Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer, 1990
Anonymous sources are to journalism what silicon
enhancements are to the feminine figure; they look impressive to the
gullible, but something doesn't feel right.
--Larry King, an American journalist in London, August, 2005
Nobody beats a bunch of journalists for inflating their
rather mundane straightforward chores with a lot more melodrama and
self-importance than the job should be asked to contain.
--Larry King, an American journalist in London, August, 2005
... Don [Hewitt, 60 Minutes exec producer] told me, "You
have set broadcast journalism back 20 years." Naturally, I was both
proud and elated although too modest to say so, but broadcast
journalism recovered with alacrity, my contract wasn't renewed, and the
incident was forgotten.
--Nicholas Von Hoffman
Wall Street Journal, p. D10, March 12, 2003
I have posted the two most rousing speeches from Tom Stoppard's excellent play on the subject of journalism, Night and Day.
Those of us forced to read the London papers sometimes
speculate about which is greater: the average British hack's sloth,
mendacity, ignorance, obsequiousness, capacity for drink, or aversion
to paying for that drink. Smart money tends to split between the latter
--Larry King, an American journalist in London, April, 2002
Diminished circumstances had no effect on his sense of what was honorable: after The Spectator
sent him a check for a piece it had accepted but was unable to run for
a lack of space, he refused to write for the magazine again.
--Louis Menand, in a review of The Warden Of English, a biography of Henry Fowler. Menand also notes that "uptight people do not make ideal biographical subjects"
The New Yorker November 26, 2001
Special Terry Pratchett Section
All quotes in this section are from his book The Truth, copyright 2000, published by HarperTorch, New York.
The press waited. It looked now like a great big beast. Soon, he'd
throw a lot of words into it. And in a few hours, it would be hungry
again, as if those words had never happened. You could feed it, but you
could never fill it up. (see similar quote from Arizona Kiss)
"So, what would I be selling, exactly?"
Just space? Nothing? Oh, I can do that. I can sell nothing like anything. It's only when I try to sell something that everything goes wrong.
William just wasn't used to the idea of evaluating words purely in
terms of their length, whereas she'd picked up the habit in two days.
He'd already had to stop her calling Lord Vetinari CITY BOSS. It was
technically correct that if you spent some time with a thesaurus you could arrive at that description, and it did fit in a single column, but the sight of the words made William feel extremely exposed.
[Police captain]We're on the same side here!
[William] No. We're just on two different sides that happen to be side by side.
William reckoned that no matter how big [the new office] was, it would
never be neat. Newspaper people thought the floor was a big flat filing
[Lord Vetinari] But I thought I should take a moment to come and see
this "free press" Commander Vimes has told me about at considerable
length... It appears to be bolted down."
[William] Er, no, sir, I mean "free" in the sense of what is printed, sir.
[V] But surely you charge money?
[W] Yes, but...
[V] Oh, I see. You meant you should be free to print what you like?
[W] Well, broadly... yes sir.
[V] Because that's in the--what was that other interesting term? Ah yes... the public interest?
[W] I think so sir.
[V] These stories about man-eating goldfish and people's husbands disappearing in big silver dishes?
[W] No sir. That's what people are interested in. We do the other stuff, sir.
[V] Amusingly shaped vegetables?
[W] Well, a bit of that, sir. Sacharissa calls them human interest stories.
[V] About vegetables and animals?
[W] Yes sir. But at least they're real vegetables and animals.
[V] So... we have what the people are interested in, and human interest
stories, which is what humans are interested in, and the public
interest, which no one is interested in.
[W] Except the public sir.
[V] Which isn't the same as people and humans?
[W] I think it's more complicated than that sir.
[V] Obviously. Do you mean that the public is a different thing from
the people you just see walking around the place? The public thinks
big, sensible, measured thoughts while people run around doing silly things?
[W] I think so. I may have to work on that idea too, I admit.
[Lord Vetinari] It amazes me how the news you have so neatly fits the
space available. No little gaps anywhere. And every day something
happens that is important enough to be at the top of the first page,
too. How strange...
[Lord Vetinari] [He spots a typographical error on a page of type
which, from where he is standing, is back to front and upside down]
Things that are back to front are often easier to comprehend if they
are upside down as well. In life, as in politics.
[Lord Vetinari] Bribed? My dear sir, seeing what you're capable of for
nothing, I'd hesitate to press even a penny into your hand.
[Note: this is a variation on a piece of doggerel first recited to me by Donald. J. Sterling Jr., editor of The Oregon Journal:
You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there's no occasion to.
--Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940), British poet, author. "Over the Fire," bk. 1, The Uncelestial City (1930).]
Go out and find things that people want put in the paper
And things that people don't want put in the paper.
And interesting things.
Like that rain of dogs a few months ago?
There was no rain of dogs two months ago.
One puppy is not a rain. It fell out of a window. Look, we are not interested in pet precipitation, spontaneous combustion, or people being carried off by weird things from out of the sky...
Unless it happens.
Well obviously we are if it does happen. But when it doesn't, we're not. Okay? News is unusual things happening...
And usual things happening...
And usual things, yes. But news is mainly what someone somewhere doesn't want you to put in the paper ...
Except sometimes it isn't.
...News all depends. But you'll know it when you see it. Clear? Right. Now go out and find some.
This is a newspaper isn't it? It just has to be true until tomorrow.
END Special Terry Pratchett Section
Special H.L. Mencken Section
successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They
never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is
forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.
--Prejudices, First Series (1919) Ch 13
does so much [false news] get into the American newspapers, even the
good ones? Is it because journalists, as a class, are habitual liars,
and prefer what is not true to what is true? I don't think it is.
Rather, it is because journalists are, in the main, extremely stupid,
sentimental and credulous fellows -- because nothing is easier than to
fool them -- because the majority of them lack the sharp intelligence
that the proper discharge of their duties demands.
--Prejudices: A Selection, p. 220
A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
--A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949)
assume so glibly that the God who presumably created the universe is
still running it? It is certainly perfectly conceivable that He may
have finished it and then turned it over to lesser gods to operate. In
the same way many human institutions are turned over to grossly
inferior men. This is true, for example, of most universities, and of
all great newspapers.
Minority Report : H.L. Mencken's Notebooks (1956) p. 298
End Special H.L. Mencken Section
The difference between managing and editing is that a word doesn't tell you to go f*** yourself when you tell it to move.
--Louise Kohl, one-time editor of MacUser
quoted by Dan Rosenbaum, July 20, 2001
On behalf of the newspaper industry (new, cost-cutting
motto: ``All the News That'') I wish to announce some changes we're
making to serve you better. When I say ``serve you better,'' I mean
``increase our profits.'' We newspapers are very big on profits these
days. We're a business, just like any other business, except that we
employ English majors.
Miami Herald, May 20, 2001
An editor without a magazine is like a jockey without a
horse. When you see a jockey standing there without being up on a
horse, they seem little and not very impressive. I was riding a lame
horse, but I still enjoyed it.
--Frank Lalli (ex-Fortune, ex-George)
January 2001 speech to the American Society Of Magazine Editors.
We must express the view, based on our empirical
observations, that a substantial number of journalists are ignorant,
lazy, opinionated, and intellectually dishonest. The profession is
heavily cluttered with aged hacks toiling through a miasma of mounting
decrepitude and often alcoholism, and even more so with arrogant and
abrasive youngsters who substitute 'commitment' for insight. The
product of their impassioned intervention in public affairs is more
often confusion than lucidity.
--Conrad Black, F. David Radler, and Peter G. White
"A Brief to the Special Senate Committee on the Mass Media from the
Sherbrooke Record, the voice of the Eastern Townships," November 7,
1969, p.10. Quote Excerpted in Talk Magazine, Nov. 2000.
The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a
long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die
--Hunter S. Thompson
A newspaper is not the place to go to see people actually
earning a living, though journalists like to pretend they never stop
sweating over a hot typewriter. It is much more like a brothel - short,
rushed bouts of really enjoyable activity interspersed with long lazy
stretches of gossip, boasting, flirtation, drinking, telephoning,
strolling about the corridors sitting on the corner of desks, planning
to start everything tomorrow. Each of the inmates has a little
specialty to please the customers. The highest paid ones perform only
by appointment; the poorest take on anybody, The editors are like
madams - soothing, flattering, disciplining their naughty,
temperamental staff, but rarely obliged to satisfy the clients
personally between the printed sheets.
--from a UPI Washington Bureau Manager
I can tell you what its like to work for
a newspaper. Imagine a combine, one of those huge threshing machines
that eat up a row of wheat like nothing, bearing right down on you.
You're running in front of it, all day long, day in and day out, just
inches in front of the maw, where steel blades are whirring and
clacking and waiting for you to get tired or make one slip. The only
way to keep the combine off you is to throw it something else to rip
apart and digest. What you feed it is stories. Words and photos. Ten
inches on this, fifteen inches on that, a vertical shot here and a
horizontal there, scraps of news and film that go into the maw where
they are processed and dumped onto some page to fill the spaces around
the ads. Each story buys you a little time, barely enough to slap
together the next story, and the next and the next. You never get far
ahead, you never take a breather, all you do is live on the hustle.
Always in a rush, always on deadline, you keep scrambling to feed the
combine. That's what it's like. The only way to break free is with a
big story, one you can ride for a while and tear off in pieces so big,
the combine has to strain to choke them down. That buys you a little
time. But sooner or later the combine will come chomping after you
again, and you better be read to feed it all over again.
from the novel Arizona Kiss
THE DAILY FISH wrap. A 19th century Irish immigrant named
O'Reilly called the newspaper ``a biography of something greater than a
man. It is the biography of a DAY. It is a photograph, of twenty four
hours' length, of the mysterious river of time that is sweeping past us
forever. And yet we take our year's newspapers -- which contain more
tales of sorrow and suffering, and joy and success, and ambition and
defeat, and villainy and virtue, than the greatest book ever written --
and we use them to light the fire.''
Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 1999
Experienced newspaper reporters arrive at middle age with
a memory surrounded by a bodyguard of ironies. The reporter is always
on the borders of someone else's country, his papers never quite in
order. However much e knows, he can never know enough. The dispatch
written with utter confidence turns out to be incomplete or
wrongheaded. The dispatch written on instinct alone turns out to be
God's truth. The best and most faithful of these characters come to
understand that in some profound sense they are owned by their
memories, and that in turn their own angle of vision -- in essence,
whether they see themselves as insider or outsider, paleface or redskin
-- depends on the earliest circumstances of their own lives, their
childhood fears and joys, and on how danger was defined, and how it all
fit in. In the summing-up, what is to be done?
Reviewing Max Frankel's The Times of My Life in the Sunday New York Times, March 7, 1999
If I have to do all this superficial crap you've assigned me, I need time to do it in depth.
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 16, 1987
quoting a fellow newspaper writer
A Journalist is a machine that converts coffee into copy.
-- Michael Ryan Elgan (1961-?)
Managing Editor, Editor, Windows Magazine
Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none
has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he
pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample
him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us
do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I.
-- Russell Baker
I would have to watch out at the White House, as I did at
CBS, for the kind of editors who want to sit around and give you their
opinions on things instead of concentrating on the text and catching
your factual mistakes. Catching mistakes is hard, you have to know
things like facts and numbers and names; you have to be awake. Anybody
can have an opinion. This is not to say that good editors don't notice
things like the quality of the writing, they do, and when it's low they
hope you'll be fired, which you probably will be. But the first thing a
good editor does is catch your dumb mistakes; all else, as they say, is
What I Saw At The Revolution
... It was the idea of facing a future skimming the
surface of life, winging my way in and out of other people's crises,
confusions, and passages, engaging them enough to get the story, but
never enough to be indelibly touched by what I had seen or heard.
New York Times Columnist, in One True Thing, her novel about a magazine journalist
The First Law of Journalism: to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it.
Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.
The public have an insatiable curiosity to know
everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of
this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.
I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.
The press is a blind old cat yelling on a treadmill
--Ben Hecht, in his novel Erik Dorn
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by
reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the
second hand of a clock.
If God himself reached down into the muck and mire, he could not raise a journalist up to the depths of degradation!
--The old country doctor in
a 1937 journalism film written by Ben Hecht
The four pillars of wisdom that support journalistic
endeavors are: lies, stupidity, money-grubbing, and ethical
June 19, 1995
to reporters questioning him about the dissent of the set of Divine Rapture
Production stopped on July 24, 1995
In the hierarchy of predatory animals, Journalists are the carrion eaters.
in November, 1984 on the occasion of his changing professions from Journalism to the computer industry.
It sometimes takes a while for executives to figure out
that the reporters they think of as little bugs to be squashed or spun
can be more powerful than they are.
Newsweek, August 14, 1995
The media only report stupid or careless answers, not stupid or unfair questions.
My American Journey, Random House, 1995
A curious journalist-those words should be redundant, but, alas, I have to tell you they are not.
Washington Monthly, July/August 1995
Cybermedia will make every man his own editor, which in
turn makes every writer a fool. The Internet will transmit
misinformation very efficiently. We will miss the gatekeepers.
--Neal B. Freeman
National Review, Dec. 11, 1995
Donald A. Davis
Bureau Manager, UPI Boston (BH), March 1975 (spoken to Paul Schindler)
Anyone who edits their own copy has a fool for an editor.
With the possible exception of God during the writing of the Bible, every writer in history has needed an editor. So do you.
The Bible tells the story of the creation of the world in 800 words. Surely you can do a two-car fatal in 750.
Every good journalist is aware that his trade may one day
go the way of phrenology--and, what's more, the population will hardly
protest the extinction.
The New Yorker, Jan. 29, 1996
Yelling about the media is like bellowing at the umpire.
Maybe it can't change the calls reporters and editors made about
yesterday's story, but it might make a difference in tomorrow's.
LA Times, July 22, 1996
It takes great self-confidence to write a newspaper
column. Some might say it takes arrogance. Be that as it may, my
willingness to pronounce on a great many matters of which I have little
or no knowledge is one of my prime qualifications for this trade.
The New York Times, August 6, 1996
Am I surprised that Joe Klein [pseudonymous author of Primary Colors which he denied writing] lied? No, because in my opinion reporters lie all the time.
The New Republic, August 12, 1996
People tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best
interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember.
Writers are always selling somebody out.
National Public Radio, 1977...
Fiction is a bridge to the truth that journalism can't reach.
--Gonzo Journalist Hunter Thompson
USA Today, March 26, 1998
These days there's all too much coverage of pesudo-events about extraordinarily inauthentic people doing inauthentic things.
Vanity Fair, March 1998
The fear of missing out
means today's media, more than ever, hunts in a pack. In these modes,
it is like a feral beast just tearing people and reputations to bits.
But no-one dares miss out.
--British Prime Minister Tony Blair, June 12, 2007
What the proprietorship of
these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility —
the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.
--British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, 1931. He was attacking
the leading press barons of his day (Lord Beaverbrook and Lord
Rothermere); the phrase was suggested by Baldwin's cousin Rudyard
“I do not fool around with newspapers,” Mattie says.
“The paper editors are great ones for reaping where they have not sown.
Another game they have is to send reporters out to talk to you and get
your stories free. I know the young reporters are not paid well, and I
would not mind helping those boys out with their ‘scoops’ if they could
ever get anything right.”
--Charles Portis, once the Paris Bureau Chief of the Herald Tribune, put these words in the mouth of the young girl Mattie Ross in his novel True Grit.
From the book
Great Amerian Wit
by Robert E. Drennan, quoting New York Newspaper Columnist Heywood Broun, at the peak of his career in the 1920s and 1930s.
Some of my best friends are newspaper
photographers... and yet I feel that when one or two are gathered
together for professional reasons you have a nuisance, and that a dozen
or more constitute a plague.
There are exceptions, but when a play includes Jim Swift--reporter of the Times Telegram, you can be pretty sure that presently there will appear a character compounded out of Iago and the protagonist of Ten Nights in a Barroom.
You might not mind
so much if your sister married one of them, and two or three asked in
after dinner would not for a certainty spoil the party, but taken as a
group drama critics of New York are so much suet pudding.
Content Revised 2.19.21 [add Mencken]
Content Revised 2.18.20 [add Charles Portis]
Content Revised 6.13.19 [add Heywood Broun]
Content Revised 5.17.19 [add Blair and Baldwin, both mentioned on a BBC comedy show]
Content Revised 10.17.11 [add License of the Press link]
Content Revised 10.14.11 [add Mark Twain link, revive Cesar Soriano link]
Content Revised 7.2.07 [several positive, 2 negative quotes added]
Content Revised 5.18.07 [Larry King quote added]
Content Revised 5.4.07 [two Keillor quotes added, 1 positive, 1 negative]
Content Revised 2.10.07 [positive quotes added]
Content Revised 2.04.06 [Molly Ivins, Paul Schindler quotes at top]
Content Revised 2.04.06 [1 new quote at top]
Content Revised 8.3.05 [2 new quotes at top]
Content Revised 8.2.05 [2 new quotes at top]
Content Revised 3.13.03 [1 new quote at top]
Content Revised 10.3.02 [Link to Stoppard Night and Day quotes]
Content Revised 4.22.02 [New British journalist quote added, format changed]
Content Revised 2.17.02 [Ray Ring's Name Corrected]
Content Revised 10/31/01 [Terry Pratchett section added at the top]
Content Revised 7/20/01 [1 new quote at the top]
Content Revised 5/20/01 [1 new quote at the top]
Content Revised 3/4/01 [link to Soriano quote page]
Content Revised 1/31/01 [1 new quote at the top]
Content Revised 11/13/00 [1 new quote at the top]
Content Revised 10/02/00 [1 new quote at the top]
Content Revised 9/10/00 [2 new quotes at the top]
Content Revised 3/10/99 [1 new quote at top]
Content Revised 5/28/98 [1 new quote at bottom]
Content Revised 10/1/97 [1 new quote at bottom]
Content Revised 12/2/96 (4 new quotes at bottom)
Format Revised 2/1/96
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