George Seldes

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George Seldes (November 16, 1890July 2, 1995) was an American investigative journalist and media critic.

Missing page citations[edit]

  • Never grow weary of protesting. In this sensitive business of dealing with the public which depends on faith and good will, protest is a most effective weapon. Therefore protest.
    • Lords of the Press.
  • The failure of a free press in most countries is usually blamed on the readers. Every nation gets the government—and the press—it deserves. This is too facile a remark. The people deserve better in most governments and press. Readers, in millions of cases, have no way of finding out whether their newspapers are fair or not, honest or distorted, truthful or colored....
    • Lords of the Press (1938)
    • Incorporates the famous observation of Joseph de Maistre that "every nation gets the government it deserves."
  • There are less than a dozen independent newspapers in the whole country, and even that small number is dependent on advertisers and other things, and all these other things which revolve around money and profit make real independence impossible. No newspaper which is supporting one class of society is independent.
    • Lords of the Press (1938)
  • One of the biggest pieces of bunkum shoved down the American throat was the story of the 1929 Italian election. For this I cannot blame my colleagues.
    • Can These Things Be! (1931)
  • Forbidden to write anything critical of the Fascist regime, they could only report what the hierarchy wanted them to report. The clever and honest American and British journalists, however, did insinuate startling facts in their stories; these insinuations, unfortunately, were between the lines and not for those who read as they run, and the American public is mostly a running reading public.
    • Can These Things Be! (1931)
  • Of course there are boob and bad reporters who bring in boob and bad items which are printed, and which make so many papers what they are. But there are more intelligent men who try to bring in intelligent items, only to see them changed into imbecile items, with the result that they may easily give up trying, and accustom themselves instead to the spirit of the office....
    • Can These Things Be!
  • We scent the air of the office. We realize that certain things are wanted, certain things unwanted. There is an atmosphere favorable to Fascism. We find that out when some little pro-Mussolini item is played up, some big item, not so pleasant to the hero of our era, played down, or left out. In the future we send pro-Mussolini stuff only. We get a cable of congratulations.
    • Can These Things Be!
  • I am merely trying to illustrate one of the fundamental facts about American journalism today, the fact that the servants of the press lords are slaves very much as they have always been, and that any attempt at revolt is immediately punished with the economic weapon.
    • Lords of the Press
  • But much more vicious than these cases is the majority of foreign correspondents who never have to be placed against the wall, who are never told what to write and how to write it, but who know from contact with the great minds of the press lords or from the simple deduction that the bosses are in big business and the news must be slanted accordingly, or from the general intangible atmosphere which prevails everywhere, what they can do and what they must never do. The most stupid boast in the history of present-day journalism is that of the writer who says, "I have never been given orders; I am free to do as I like."
    • Lords of the Press
  • Only in democratic countries is there the beginning of a suspicion that the old axioms about the press being the bulwark of liberty is something that affects the daily life of the people—that it is a living warning rather than an ancient wisecrack. A people that wants to be free must arm itself with a free press.
    • Lords of the Press

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