Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Growth and Expansion of Public Opinion: The Fine Line of Entertainment and War.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Growth and Expansion of Public Opinion: The Fine Line of Entertainment and War.

"The Growth and Expansion of Public Opinion" by E.L. Godkin was written in January 1898, over a hundred years ago. It's interesting that it still holds water today. War is exciting so who cares about peace. War is entertaining to the public. Peace is not entertaining. Godkin wrote,
"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."
Accuracy is not important 100 years ago, nor is it that important now. It is not a hard concept--more exciting news does sell more. Accuracy is not revered when it comes to capitalism. Excitement sells newspapers not valid information or peaceful times. It is not that surprising considering that humility and leud behavior is what we as a society find entertaining and the topic of conversations. It is most interesting when people make fools of themselves on the media and the media just loves to exaggerate it. That is what sells. Selling and making money is way more important the truth and peace. Entertaining and selling newspapers are way more important than loved ones and innocent people getting killed because of war. With war, there is entertainment everyday.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good discussion of the material.

Accuracy is still important. It is just that sometime it is not at the top of the list of priorities. The need for speed and the fog of war, the demand for more and more information and images results in a lot of inaccurate reporting. Does that mean that reporters and editors aren't trying to be as accurate as possible? Godkin makes some good points, but remember he was describing a particular kind of journalism, not the entire profession.

2/15/2007 12:45 AM  

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