Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: E. L. Godkin

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

E. L. Godkin

"Newspapers are made to sell; and for this purpose there is nothing better than war. War means a daily sensation and excitement. On this almost any kind of newspaper may live and make money. Whether the war brings victory or defeat makes little difference. The important thing is that in war every moment may bring important and exciting news--news which does not need to be ACCURATE or bear sifting."

After reading this I was shocked but at the same time I realized how true it was. I think that it is horrible that things like this could be true the first thing is that "news which does not need to be ACCURATE or bear sifting." that to me just makes me not want to trust the media I think that if I am reading something or watching I would rather be told the truth then given false hope or made to believe that I am safe when in fact I am in danger on so many different levels.

The next part that made me really think was "Whether the war brings victory or defeat makes little difference" to me that makes little sence because depending on the war and the cause and effect of the war dont you think that say if it was WWII again and hitler took over the United States do you really believe that we would have a free press like we do now? I mean i think that the out come of the war does matter.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good, substantial post. good quote.

Godkin was an editor of an elite magazine. He looked down on the sensationalism of the yellow press. It is striking how his analysis of the press during the war of 1898 sounds very modern.

Your last point about "victory or defeat" needs clarification: Godkin is discussing a distant naval war, not one that takes place on American soil. He would agree with you that and victory in the face of an invasion of the U.S. would be important. But small distant wars can be covered with little threat to the welfare of newspaper editors back home.

2/14/2007 7:47 AM  

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