...To write news in its perfection requires such a combination of qualities, that a man completely fitted for the task is not always to be found. In Sir Henry Wotton’s jocular definition, An ambassador is said to be a man of virtue sent abroad to tell lies for the advantage of his country; a news-writer is a man without virtue, who writes lies at home for his own profit. To these compositions is required neither genius nor knowledge, neither industry nor sprightliness; but contempt of shame and indifference to truth are absolutely necessary. He who by a long familiarity with infamy has obtained these qualities, may confidently tell to-day what he intends to contradict to-morrow; he may affirm fearlessly what he knows that he shall be obliged to recant, and may write letters from Amsterdam or Dresden to himself.
In a time of war the nation is always of one mind, eager to hear something good of themselves and ill of the enemy. At this time the task of news-writers is easy: they have nothing to do but to tell that a battle is expected, and afterwards that a battle has been fought, in which we and our friends, whether conquering or conquered, did all, and our enemies did nothing.
Scarcely any thing awakens attention like a tale of cruelty. The writer of news never fails in the intermission of action to tell how the enemies murdered children and ravished virgins; and, if the scene of action be somewhat distant, scalps half the inhabitants of a province.
Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates, and credulity encourages. A peace will equally leave the warriour and relater of wars destitute of employment; and I know not whether more is to be dreaded from streets filled with soldiers accustomed to plunder, or from garrets filled with scribblers accustomed to lie.
- Samuel Johnson, November 1758
I read this, today, and found it wonderful, especially the bolded parts. My guess is that those employed today as journalists were taught in liberal universities by assiduously liberal professors. I remember in college in 1988, when I was taking classes in film, and all of my professors were telling us that we had a social responsibility not to make fun of foreigners or poor people. Things in college have only gotten worse since then, I fear. You can probably get kicked out of school nowadays for intimating that black people commit a lot of crime or that Mexicans sneak across the American borders.
And so journalists today see it as their job to tell people how stupid they are for having voted for Donald Trump, or how wonderful they were for voting for Hillary Clinton. Any lie that tarnishes the image of a sitting president is gleefully published. Koala, it really must have steamed their clams when Hillary Clinton lost, huh? Buncha doofs.