About Me

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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

LMN Project: Law Marketing News - Journalism and democracy

Read Walter Lippmann's "Liberty and the News" as part of the LMN project. This is a small book published in 1920. It is either remarkably prescient or it just shows that nothing really changes. Lippmann invokes objective "news standards" for journalism, warning about the dangers of reporters with agendas -- in a society easily manipulated and misinformed. Shows how the press undermines democracy when it does anything other than "report" on events. The media corrupt the process if they hold themselves to ideals above clarity and directness in reporting about facts.
Lippmann was an advisor to Woodrow Wilson (and the Wilsonian Society), founder of the New Republic, spent 30 years writing a syndicated Pulitzer-prize-winning column for the New York Herald-Tribune, and later an editor of New York World. So, he was no wild-eyed romantic or naive kid.
He seems to understand the power of the press, although not all of his illustrations capture the Big Lie in the Big Picture. For example, the use of money to bribe 70 of the leading journalists of the world, by King Leopold as he pillaged the Congo. But he does note that the more the journalists lie, the more popular they often are in a mass culture, where public opinion is one of the "facts" journalists can distort.

One quote: "If I lie in a lawsuit involving the fate of my neighbor's cow, I can go to jail. But if I lie to a million readers in a matter involving war and peace, I can lie my head off, and, if I choose the right series of lies, be entirely irresponsible. Nobody will punish me...".
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