Tyranny of Journalism


In old days men had the rack.  Now they have the press.  That is an improvement certainly.  But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralising.”

In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.  Fortunately in America Journalism has carried its authority to the grossest and most brutal extreme.  As a natural consequence it has begun to create a spirit of revolt.  People are amused by it, or disgusted by it, according to their temperaments.  But it is no longer the real force it was.  It is not seriously treated.

The tyranny that it proposes to exercise over people’s private lives seems to me to be quite extraordinary.  The fact is, that 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.  In centuries before ours the public nailed the ears of journalists to the pump.  That was quite hideous.  In this century journalists have nailed their own ears to the keyhole.  That is much worse.”

The private lives of men and women should not be told to the public.  The public have nothing to do with them at all.

The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wild)

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