G. K. Chesterton on the Incompetence of Journalists

G. K. Chesterton on the Incompetence of Journalists November 26, 2019

[all excerpts from The Illustrated London News (Vol. 27: 1905-1907 and Vol.28: 1908-1910) ]

The real way of reading the newspapers is to read nothing but the posters and head-lines. If we read nothing but these, we can keep, like a perpetual childhood, the belief that wonderful things are really happening on every side of us. If we are unwise enough to read the journalistic text itself, we discover that nothing has happened at all. (2 June 1906)

Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed: a passage which some have considered a prophecy of modern journalism. (9 June 1906)

Journalists . . . are the priests of the modern world, and infallible (I need hardly say) on faith and morals . . . (30 June 1906)

A Labour Member made recently the following observations, if he is correctly reported — which, since I am a journalist myself I know to be extremely unlikely. (9 February 1907)

Journalists are generally the stupidest of men . . . (1 June 1907)

The curse of all journalism, but especially of the yellow journalism which is the shame of our profession, is that we think ourselves cleverer than the people for whom we write, whereas, in fact, we are generally even stupider. (29 June 1907)

I receive a large number of letters from total strangers; . . . most of them are interesting — much more interesting than anything that ever gets into print. In fact, I believe the editors who conduct newspaper controversies purposely select and print all the silliest letters and leave out the most sensible. . . .

But in all of them there is a certain human sincerity and instinct of rebellion . . . they have not, at any rate, the dreary hypocrisy of public speeches and leading articles. I am convinced that much good human material is poured out and wasted in this way. If ever the office of a great paper caught fire, and everyone rushed for his most valuable treasures, I know what I should seek to save. . . . I should grasp the waste-paper basket, and bear it away in my arms rejoicing. (14 September 1907)

I fancy that it is only another example of the loss of ordinary rationalistic logic in the impetuous rapidity and restlessness of the journalistic world. If we concentrate so much of our concern and labour merely on making journalism rapid, we shall necessarily make it emptier and sillier even as journalism. (21 September 1907)

[T]he Yellow Press is exaggerative, over-emotional, illiterate, and anarchical, and a hundred other long words; whereas the only objection to it is that it tells lies. (19 October 1907)

It is our business to criticise the world; but certainly the world will not stand it unless we begin by criticising ourselves. (26 October 1907)

[N]early everything, as reported in the ordinary newspapers, seems to be pure nonsense. . . . [F]ortunately, I have penetrated far enough into the facts of the modern world never to believe the newspapers. . . . All that anybody ever really meant as the evil of gossip is much more characteristic of established journalism . . .  (1 February 1908)

***

Related Reading:
*
***
Unfortunately, Money Trees Do Not ExistIf you have been aided in any way by my work, or think it is valuable and worthwhile, please strongly consider financially supporting it (even $10 / month — a mere 33 cents a day — would be very helpful). I have been a full-time Catholic apologist since Dec. 2001, and have been writing Christian apologetics since 1981 (see my Resume). My work has been proven (by God’s grace alone) to be fruitful, in terms of changing lives (see the tangible evidences from unsolicited “testimonies”). I have to pay my bills like all of you: and have a (homeschooling) wife and three children still at home to provide for, and a mortgage to pay.
*
My book royalties from three bestsellers in the field (published in 2003-2007) have been decreasing, as has my overall income, making it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.  I provide over 2600 free articles here, for the purpose of your edification and education, and have written 50 books. It’ll literally be a struggle to survive financially until Dec. 2020, when both my wife and I will be receiving Social Security. If you cannot contribute, I ask for your prayers (and “likes” and links and shares). Thanks!
*
See my information on how to donate (including 100% tax-deductible donations). It’s very simple to contribute to my apostolate via PayPal, if a tax deduction is not needed (my “business name” there is called “Catholic Used Book Service,” from my old bookselling days 17 or so years ago, but send to my email: apologistdave@gmail.com). Another easy way to send and receive money (with a bank account or a mobile phone) is through Zelle. Again, just send to my e-mail address. May God abundantly bless you.
***
Photo credit: OpenClipart-Vectors (9-9-13) [PixabayPixabay License]
***

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment