The American press is overwhelmingly owned and operated by Republicans who fix the rules of U.S. political debate. And I use the words "fix" advisedly.Who said that? Michael Moore? Noam Chomsky? Hugo Chavez? Find out after the cartoon ...
It is a press that has generally grown comfortable, fat and self-righteous; and which with some noteworthy exceptions voices the prejudices and preconceptions of entrenched wealth rather than those qualities of critical inquiry and rebellious spirits we associated with our noblest journalistic traditions.
It is a press that is generally more concerned with the tax privileges of any fat cat than with the care and feeding of any underdog.
It is a press that sanctimoniously boasts of its independence and means by that its right to do what its Republican owners damn please.
The press used to be regarded as a public trust, not a private playground.
That illuminating quote was made 50 years ago by James Wechsler, editor of The New York Post.
Hard to think of a time when the Post -- or most of our country's major media -- were considered part of a "journalistic tradition" marked by "critical inquiry and rebellious spirit."
The quote is from an address Wechsler delivered in 1957, cited in J.E. Gerald's useful book The Social Responsibility of the Press (1963).
Here's another interesting quotable from the 1950s, this one from Robert Hutchins in his book Freedom, Education and the Fund (1956):
Of course we have a one-party press n this country, and we shall have one as long as the press is big business, and as long as people with money continue to feel safer on the Republican side.