Thursday, March 19, 2009

What If No Newspapers

This editorial cartoon by Gary Varvel supposes that the lack of newspapers in history would leave the guilty go unpunished. However the guilty have also used newspapers for their own ends. Lenin, Mao and Hitler all had newspapers to promote their twisted ideologies. One of the worst US president, Harding, rose to fame while running a small town newspaper. Press lords like Hearst, Black, Beaverbrooke and Murdoch have all been aggressive little shits intent on their own power. The rise of mass literacy and national newspapers in the late nineteenth century made the outbreak of The Great War an outbreak of mass patriotism and mass hysteria.

Yes, I read newspapers in the original finger blackening form. However technological systems, like the daily newspaper, are value neutral and can be a force for good or evil or profit. Good newspapers uncover lies but bad newspapers spread them.

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