February 20th, 2013

Mark Twain opines about the MSM

I know the term “MSM” hadn’t been invented yet. But Mark Twain knew what he was talking about:

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.

Caught between Scylla and Charybdis.

14 Responses to “Mark Twain opines about the MSM”

  1. southpaw Says:

    Judging by the rest of his comments on politicians and congress, and everyint in general, nothing much has changed.
    A good is one from my favorite essay “Advice to Youth”, where he informs a graduating class at Princeton the most useful skill in life they will ever master is the art of lying:
    “The history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal. “

  2. blert Says:

    Today, if you read the MSM you are anti-informed.

    To be mis-informed is to be the victim of random, sloppy, error.

    To be anti-informed is to be the victim of persistent agitprop and counter-truth — Winston Smith style.

    America was better off when her journalists were drunks.

    Instead of the high and mighty — we’re led by the mighty high.

  3. holmes Says:

    He might have been one of the first real American Libertarians. “No life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

  4. parker Says:

    No one listened to Cassandra….. “He might have been one of the first real American Libertarians. “No life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.””

    DC is the biggest threat to life, liberty, and property. Never forget that.

  5. Sam L. Says:

    Old Samuel was smart man, with an excellent turn of phrase.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Far better to be uninformed than mis-informed. The former is correctable, the latter entrenched.

  7. fnord Says:

    Perhaps back then it was mis-informed. Nowadays it’s mal-informed.

  8. lee Says:

    Many, many, many years ago (early 80’s) I spent my junior year of college in Jerusalem. I found a nice bar for westerners. It was near an office building that housed the offices of SEVERAL news agencies from all over the world. So OODLES of international journalists hung out in this bar. And I learned that journalists cover the entire Middle East on their a$$es, warming a bar stool in Jerusalem. Few know much Hebrew at all, almost none know Arabic.

    Many rely on the stringers (and various gophers), most of whom are Arabs, and many of whom actually work for the PLO. Stringers (and gophers) make a pittance; few Israelis would put up with such lousy pay. Their are also treated badly–like the family pet at best, indentured servent at worst. Again, few Israelis were willing to put up with that.

    Consider this, and the Michael Crichton’s “Gell Mann Amnesia Effect” and you know WHY people who read the MSM are SOOOOOOOO misinformed.


  9. Richard Says:

    Twain was trying to be pithy and short. He should have added, “a man’s reputation and his minor child”

  10. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:


  11. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:


  12. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

    BTW, Lee — if you ever read “Give War A Chance”, by P.J. O’Rourke, he discusses this.

    Other PJOR books I’d expressly recommend are
    Parliament of Whores
    Eat The Rich.

    He’s done some other good ones, too, but those three stand out well above the others Ive read.

  13. Nate Whilk Says:

    Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, June 11, 1807 http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/mtjquote.html:

    Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.

    More Twain on the press.

    (the press) has scoffed at religion till it has made scoffing popular.

    It has defended official criminals, on party pretexts, until it has created a United States Senate whose members are incapable of determining what crime against law and the dignity of their own body is, they are so morally blind, and it has made light of dishonesty till we have as a result a Congress which contracts to work for a certain sum and then deliberately steals additional wages out of the public pocket and is pained and surprised that anybody should worry about a little thing like that.

  14. Nate Whilk Says:

    Knoll’s Law of Media Accuracy: Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true—except for the rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge. —Erwin Knoll, editor, “The Progressive”

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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