Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Genius and Hypocrite

In an opinion piece available at Opinion Journal, Peter Kann sets forth "10 current trends in the mass media that ought to disturb us." It is thoughtful and well-written and merits reading by anyone concerned about the state of 21st century journalism. The Oracle's enjoyment of the piece was only marred by Kann's introduction quoting Thomas Jefferson. The author of the Declaration of Independence, a champion of a free press during the Washington administration, said during his presidency, "I deplore the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed, and the malignity, the vulgarity and the mendacious spirit of those who write them."

Jefferson, who was no stranger to blatant hypocrisy, revealed as much here to levels that few others are able. The one lamenting the malignity and vulgarity of the press during his presidency is the same one who, while Secretary of State, brought a newspaperman to Philadelphia (on the government dole) for the purpose of starting a paper designed to launch the same kind of attacks on the Secretary of the Treasury and, eventually, on President Washington, himself.

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