The more things change, the more they stay the same…

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson

Wow. Does that strike a chord!

We see this in all of the leftist activist groups, definitely – but how many of us are guilty of the same? I know I am…

And that was written over 210 years ago.

Wow. How some things never seem to change. This is one example. But there is another, more glaring one.

Think the press is bad now? Read comments about the press from Washington’s day. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was known for his disdain for the press. Watch old movies on the likes of TCM, and you’ll find disparaging comment after disparaging comment regarding the press and those who are part of it. The only thing that seems different about the press today from the press of yesteryear is its reach and immediacy. Other than that, it seems to be operating pretty much the same as it always has been.

Were there, perhaps, more principled beings peopling its offices in those days gone by? Maybe. That property of the press likely waxes and wanes, anyway – but there appear to have always been those in the profession more focused on sensation than sensibility; more keen on the rights of the press than the affect their writing may have on the people – and, worse, ready in the instant to run with innuendo and uncorroborated information rather than ensure what they have is, in fact, factual. We have only to look at the long and storied tenure of the likes of The Enquirer, The Star, and the like to see long standing evidence of that.

It’s the prevalence of the concept of the journalist as a destroyer that troubles me most. I guess, to those on the opposite side of an issue, they’re seen as heroic, but even the Hollywood image of reporters going back generations show people fearing them and what they would write about them or their situation. I think that this has been more than the fear of “exposure”, but a fear of being abused by things manufactured rather than observed.

Not having taken any journalism courses, I wonder what they are taught in terms of making ethical decisions?


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