Words worth repeating

In remarks in 1949 by John Cowles, part of the family that piloted the well-known Des Moines Register here in Iowa, made in 1949, I found his gem (see The Annals of Iowa, Volume 73, Number 2, Spring 2014, pages 134 and 135): “The primary obligation of a newspaper is to give its readers the news, all the news, without bias or slant or distortion or suppression in the news columns. We believe that only on our editorial pages should our own opinions be expressed.”

As a newspaper editor, I was delighted to see this concept expressed so concisely.

Here’s another quote from Cowles, this one from 1951, four decades from the beginning of talks shows and the talking heads of “news discussion” shows: “There is considerable reason to believe, I think, that television, when its facilities become nationwide, when telecasts are  in color, and when the number of receiving sets has doubled, will become the nation’s single most powerful instrument for the mass transmission of ideas and entertainment.

“Because of its powerful impact, television may tend to make the maintenance of our free society more difficult. Badly informed, emotionally adolescent TV viewers may tend to adopt hysterically extreme views on complicated political and economic issues concerning which they know, and would otherwise care, little.… Television may be the greatest potential agency for adult education we have, but there is a grave danger that it will develop in a pattern where it will not serve the public welfare as it might.”

This from page 137 of the same publication.

One could substitute digital information, as well, and make the same type of statements.

Thanks to https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/words-crush-wednesday-wcw/ for the inspiration to post this.


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