"Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction.
Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another."
by:
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
(1874-1936) British essayist, critic, poet, and novelist
Source:
"On the Cryptic and the Elliptic", 1908
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Reader comments about this quote:
Yes, but also they are increasing non-productive as a form of investigative journalism - they are consumer driven and align themselves to their own political agendas. I have to visit the internet to get my news. To read our newspapers you would think there was no world other than the USA
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    Bad news sells like gang-busters. People love to hear stories -- we have an entertainment addiction that is evenmore thrilling when the horror movie is (supposedly) real.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I once ask an editor which branch of the government he received his checks from. He of course said none. My inquiry concerned an article that was a blatant fictitious fabrication from a BLM employee (of course, nothing done to validate the story). My experience with Iraq and Afghanistan also makes the media to be, well, at best, biased propaganda mongers of fiction (a picture here and and a word there and walaah).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Amen!
     -- Dick, Ft. Worth     
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    Both journalism and whatever is actually real (everyone can have a different take on any event) are too broad to make generalizations. The majority of journalists try to get the facts or they aren't journalists. Being a novelist himself, Chesterton probably never wrote a line of non-fiction and wouldn't know one if he saw it. The statement has no meaning.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    Right on Jack!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Today's journalism is agenda driven propaganda. Most "journalists" are simply op-ed writers in disguise (and not a very good one at that).
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    If journalists are doing their best to report "truth". why didn't they mention the WMD's that were used as an excuse to invade Iraq were supplied to Hussein by the US? Why don't they mention that the Taliban (evil bastards that they are) had all but eradicated the growth of Heroin Poppy's from Afghanistan? And why don't they mention that those same fields are back and under UN gaurd? I could go on all day about the MSM not only failing to report the truth, but sending the reader in another direction "away" from the truth.
    The MSM never tells the public what it should know about what it's government is doing or the real motives for those actions...never!
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Jack, to my above statement; The major rag publication I was embroiled with admittedly only printed the government's printed defense (which was an out right lie - start to finish - with exception to a few land marks). There was no broad generalization, journalistic endeavors or facts sought by the press. I was told that what their paper did was the norm because others had printed basically the same story and because the source was the official government stance, it could be trusted. Last night I had an opportunity to converse with an editor from a major north east media source and I heard nothing that was out of the ordinary of my previous experiences.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Good stuff here.
     -- Adam Miller, Eagan     
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    It has never been clearer that the mainstream media conglomerates are officially propaganda machines. Their sole purpose is to keep the 'noble lie' going. And remember all the emails we are receiving everyday to donate money to 'campaigning' which is almost all for buying advertising. Keep in mind that if Obama spent 1 billion dollars in advertising, the mainstream media is the one getting the payments -- they know who butters their bread. The broadcasting industry has tremendous power -- and with the dumbed-down populace spending several hours per day in front of the 'boob tube,' we should not be surprised how many boobs are being created.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The man did say mainly.....
     -- RBE, Florida     
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    Chesterton found himself on the wrong side of truth, dividing France over corruption in the military, falsely condemning a just man. Later pardoned and reinstated to a higher rank.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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    The formal versus the substantive. By decontextualizing in print the press now (and potentially always) presents truths/facts devoid of context and therefore their true meaning. This is emphasised by talking heads. Combine this with a less discerning public who are more interested in having their views confirmed and not challenged, then those powerful enough to set the agenda have an easy ride. Journalism for profit cannot afford to be challenging and offensive to the paymasters. Those interested or discerning enough need to go hunting like a pig after truffles for good journalism.
     -- Mick, Manchester     
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