The Journal of History     Winter 2005    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dumbing Us Down Further:
What Freedom Of The Press?

In Their Own Words: Quotes For Political Activists: The Untaught Syllabus. 14.

The quotes contained in this article are taken from two of my books: "The Untaught Syllabus: 1917 And All That -- In their Own Words: A Political History Of The Cold War 1917-1983." which has also been serialised in British and foreign journals; and "A Radical Book Of Enlightenment For The Common Man." which is a compilation of over 1,700 radical political quotes in subject categories.

Why place such a heavy emphasis on quotes?

Quotes have a veracity of their own, either somebody said something or they didn't. And if enough people, with similar interests and motives and enough power concentrated in their hands, say much the same thing, then it is more likely that their interests will prevail.

I have found through tutoring, speaking engagements, publishing, debating and general argument that it is more effective and revealing, especially to the incredulous, that quotes, speaking for themselves without polemical intervention from me -- other than selection, editing and assembly -- have an immediate impact and influence on the credulity of the reader. And yes, it is extremely biased. But when did idealistic academic or journalistic notions of being 'balanced' or 'unbiased' ever equate with veracity or reality?

I challenge those who preach a so-called 'balanced' view to come up with a negation of what is being said.

I am happy for any of the compilation to be copied in whole or in part provided that the full authorship of each quote is stated, and that authorship of the compilation and any script is acknowledged; and that the work is used for the purpose for which it is obviously intended -- to inform and educate those interested in the modern history of wars, peace, anti-racism, poverty, imperialism, global trade and exploitation and the world debt crisis.

Dumbing Us Down Further: What Freedom Of The Press?

"Freedom of speech is the free choice of buying a newspaper for 15 million and speaking to 35 million people or speaking to 25 people from a soap box in Hyde Park."
(Tony Benn.)

"You cannot hope to bribe or twist
The honest British journalist.
Knowing what the chap will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to."
(Humbert Wolfe "The Uncelestial City.")

"There's freedom to him that would read
There's freedom to him that would write.
There's none ever feared that the truth should be heard
Than they whom the truth would indict."
(Robert Burns.)

"I await the hour when a journalist can be driven from the press room for venal practices, as a minister can be unfrocked, or a lawyer disbarred."
(US clergyman John Haynes Holmes.)

"The modern newspaper is one half ads and the other half lies between the ads."
(Anonymous.)

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. The business of the Journalist is to destroy truth; To lie outright; To pervert; To vilify; To fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals for rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and or lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
(John Swinton, former Chief of Staff, The New York Times, 1953.)

"There is no such thing in America as an independent press... There is not one of you who dare to write his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand they would never appear in print... You know this and I know it... We are the tools and vassals of rich men... they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents... our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
(US newspaper editor John Swinton, 1883.)

"The vested interests -- if we explain the situation by their influence can only get the public to act as they wish by manipulating public opinion, by playing either upon the public's indifference, confusions, prejudices, pugnacities or fears. And the only way in which the power of the interests can be undermined and their manoeuvres defeated is by bringing home to the public the danger of its indifference, the absurdity of its prejudices or the hollowness of its fears; by showing that it is indifferent to danger where real danger exists; frightened by dangers which are non-existent."
(Sir Norman Angell, English writer.)

"We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."
(David Rockefeller, Trilateral Commission, June, 1991.)

"In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interest, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press... They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers."
(U.S. Congressman Oscar Callaway, 1917.)

"Our independent American press, with its untrammelled freedom to twist and misrepresent the news, is one of the barriers in the way of the American people achieving their freedom."
(US criminal lawyer Clarence Darrow.)

"Our principal enemy, the principal enemy of any healthy development of the German spirit and of the German people today, is the press! The press, at the stage of its evolution which it has now reached, is the true enemy of the people, an enemy all the more dangerous by reason of its many disguises...

Daily new lies; lies by means of pure fact alone, lies by means of invented facts, lies by means of facts distorted into their opposites such were the weapons with which we were fought! And to cap the climax of this shameful business the newspapers in most cases even refused to print a correction...

If a man makes money by publishing a newspaper, by poisoning the wells of information, by feeding the people a daily spiritual death, he is the greatest criminal I can conceive...

With my soul full of sadness, I do not hesitate to say that unless a complete transformation of our press can be accomplished, if this newspaper pestilence shall continue for fifty years more, the intelligence of our people will be destroyed."
(German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle, speech to Union of German Workers, 1863. Lassalle was imprisoned twice for sedition for making this speech.)

"The setting up of a new, invisible and all powerful government in this country, within the last twenty years, in open violation of fundamental and statutory law, could not have been accomplished under the steady fire of a free and independent press...

Except for the subserviency of most of the metropolitan newspapers, the great corporate interests would never have ventured upon the impudent, lawless consolidation of business, for the suppression of competition, the control of production, markets and prices.

Except for this monstrous crime, 65 per cent of all the wealth of this country would not now be centralised in the hands of 2 per cent of all the people...

When the Morgan and Rockefeller interests harmonised to consummate the great wrong, they well understood that they could not achieve their purpose against a hostile press. Hence they "took over" the newspapers.

This does not necessarily mean the ownership of all newspapers. The perfection of the modern combination is little less than a Fine Art. Here again control is better than outright ownership. And control can be achieve through that community of interests, that independence of investment and credits which ties the publisher up to the banks, the advertisers, and special interests."
(US reformist politician Robert LaFollette Sr, Fooling the People as a Fine Art, Follette's Magazine, April 1918.)

"The real value of freedom is not to the minority that wants to talk, but to the majority, that does not want to listen."
(US educator Zechariah Chafee Jr.)

"The press plays a very significant role in maintaining and strengthening and justifying racism at all levels of society, providing a cover for racist activity."
(The Runnymede Trust, London, 1989.)

"It is impossible for ideas to compete in the market place if no forum for their presentation is provided or available."
(Thomas Mann.)

"If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know."
(British Prime Minister Lloyd George, during the First World War.)

"One of the main reasons for the general weakness of the British Press appears to be the readiness of journalists to conspire in the massacre of their own work."
(British writer David Hare. The Guardian, August 15 1981.)

"Well, we've heard two points of view for and against capital punishment, and probably the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes."
(Presenter of Any Questions, BBC Radio.)

"The narrowness of the British media, our primary source of information, is a national disgrace... The damage runs deep...

It is as if the very notion of the journalist as a teller of truths unpalatable to ruling elites, as whistle-blower in the public interest, has been fatally eroded. This is in part the result of the 'communications revolution' or 'total television,' in which vast amounts of repetitive information are confined to a narrow spectrum of 'thinkable thought.' And the vocabulary of state and vested interest manipulation is elevated above that of free journalism."
(Australian journalist in Britain John Pilger.)

"A litterateur is not a confectioner, not a dealer in cosmetics, not an entertainer... He is just like an ordinary reporter. What would you say if a newspaper reporter, because of his fastidiousness or from a wish to give pleasure to his readers, were to describe only honest mayors, high-minded ladies, and virtuous railroad contractors?"

"To a chemist nothing on earth is unclean. A writer must be as objective as a chemist."
(Anton Chekov.)

"We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship of the press."
(G.K.Chesterton.)

"Propaganda must not serve the truth, especially not insofar as it might bring out something favourable for the opponent."
(Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.)

"It is enough for me to send for Lorenz and inform him of my point of view and I know that next day all the German newspapers will broadcast my ideas. I'm proud to think that with such collaborators at my side, I can make a complete about-face without anyone's moving a muscle. That's a thing that's possible in no country but ours."
(Adolf Hitler.) (Rauschning "The Voice of Destruction: Hitler Speaks.")

"Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."
(Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.)

"Not every item of news should be published: rather must those who control news policies endeavour to make every item of news serve a certain purpose."
(Goebbels, diary, March 14 1943.)

"It then proved necessary to bring about a gradual psychological transformation in the German people and explain to them by steps that there were some things which could not be attained by peaceful means and had to be imposed with the use of force. For that it was necessary not to propagate force as such, but it was necessary to present to the German people certain foreign political events in such a manner that the inner voice of the people itself would begin to cry out for the use of force. This means to present certain events in such a manner that in the minds of the broad masses of the people the conviction would emerge quite automatically and gradually: If this cannot be done in a peaceful way, then it must be done by force."
(Adolf Hitler, address to 400 members of the press, Munich, November 10, 1938.)

"The need to project to the outside, needs, fears, frustrations and unsolved conflicts, the causes of which are not recognised, and to find a scapegoat... is being systematically guided here... wherever someone makes a speech with the content that communism is bad and the West is threatened we are informed about it in detail."
("Information oder Herrschen die Souffleure?" Hamburg 1965.)

"The decent way to influence opinion is by convincing people. But not everybody is ready to be convinced. The path of conviction is a long one. The easier method is to manipulate opinion with the innumerable technical means, the functioning of which one can study and thus guide by careful sociological analysis... The soft exertion of power, the unnoticeable which does not make the person being influenced realise that he is not reacting to his free will, is much more effective, if one only understands its manipulation properly."
(West German philosopher Karl-Friedrich von Weizacker, "Only Consciousness Can Master the Future." De Welt, Hamburg, May 10, 1965.)

"It is therefore one of the most important tasks of responsible state leadership or a vigilant group of allies to make the people immune to the influence of the opponent in its own sphere of power. Every disruption of the self-confidence and the power of resistance must be prevented. This undoubtedly includes also as a partial field the elimination of those who as the fifth column are working in the ranks of their own society and order in favour of the opponent."
(Nation Europa, Coburg, March 3 1963.)

"It was always a good tactic to make the enemy responsible, in the eyes of public opinion in Germany and abroad, for the future course of events. This strengthened one's own morale and weakened that of the enemy. An operation such as the one Germany was planning would be very bloody... Therefore, one must convince public opinion that everything had first been done to avoid this horror."
(Adolf Hitler.)

"Only by continually emphasising the German desire for peace and peaceful intentions was I able to obtain freedom for the German people step by step and to provide them with the armaments always required as a prerequisite for the next step... It then proved necessary to bring about a gradual transformation in the German people and explain to them by steps that there were some things which could not be attained by peaceful means and had to be imposed by the use of force. For that it was necessary to present to the German people certain foreign political events in such a light that the inner voice of the people itself would begin to cry out for the use of force."
(Adolf Hitler, in a speech November 10, 1938.)

"Since the end of the war it was obvious to me that the German reader in no case wanted one thing, that is, to think. And I adapted my papers to it."
(West German media king Axel Springer, Sonntagsblatt, Hamburg July 5 1955.)

"The decision in the struggle for the heart of Europe and thus for the destiny of mankind is made in editor's offices, radio and television studios."
(West German neo-nazi organ Nation Europa.)

"Those fellows in the CIA don't just report on wars and the like, they go out and make their own... They spend billions of dollars on stirring up trouble so they'll have something to report on... It's become a government all of its own and all secret. They don't have to account to anybody."
(Harry Truman, quoted by Merle Miller in "Plain Speaking.")

"President Reagan and his news handlers have been making, shaping and faking news. This is an administration that has thought as much about news management, and practised as much disinformation as any in peacetime history. The milestones of its progress _ yellow rain, the El Salvador White Paper of 1961, the Pope plot, KAL 007, Sandinista gun running, stretch through the years."
(The Wall Street Journal.)

"Two years after the war ended, major Hollywood film studios received instructions to make anti-Soviet films, films directed against America's wartime ally. Large sums of money were allocated for this purpose and several scripts were commissioned."
(Berthold Brecht.)

"Foreign propaganda must be employed as an instrument of war -- a judicious mixture of rumour and deception, with truth as bait, to foster disunity and confusion... In point of fact propaganda is the arrow of initial penetration in preparing the people of a territory where invasion may be contemplated. It is the first step; then fifth column work; then militarised raiders or 'commandos', then finally the invading divisions."
(General William Donovan, Director of OSS (forerunner of CIA),in the early 1940s.)

"Let the working classes of Britain listen to nothing that might be presented before them to draw their attention from the subject and they will accomplish their own salvation and that of the world. Arise men of Britain, and take your stand! Rally round the standard of Liberty, or forever lay prostrate under the iron heel of your land and money-mongering taskmasters."
(George Loveless "The Victims of Whiggery.")

"All great events have been distorted, most if the important causes concealed, some of the principal characters never appear, and all who figure are so misunderstood and misrepresented that the result is a complete mystification. If the history of England be ever written by one who has the knowledge and the courage, the world would be astounded."
(Disraeli.)

"In this capture of the mind by our industrialised autocracy as the means to economic and social subjugation, the most powerful instrument of all is the modern industrialised Press. Through it our economic Prussianism can control the nation's mind, form its opinions, direct its passions, determine its judgements."
(Sir Allen Lane. The Press and Organisation of Society. 1933.)

"With politics let loose among those peoples, we may have a wave of disorder and wholesale Communism set going all over those parts of Europe."
(South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts.)

"From the outset I realised that in researching the subject I would have to carve through an ice cream mountain of public relations. I searched in vain through books about the corporations and their histories to find any reference to questionable activities in World War II. It was clear that the authors of those volumes, granted the cooperation of the businesses concerned, predictably backed off from disclosing anything that would be revealing."
(American historian Charles Higham.)

"Very often whole chunks of history are ignored. Most pupils in Britain do not learn anything about the history, social development or lives of those who live in socialist or 'neutral' countries. History curricula are generally limited to the establishment's version of the British Empire, particularly its wars with other empires, Spain, France and Germany, and the history of the USA. It would difficult to find an average pupil who had any idea of a small fraction of, say, the Nordic countries, the Balkans, or indeed of Asia. A few school children are told there was a revolution in Russia which overthrew the Tsar, but they are not given any information about the causes, effects or subsequent developments."
(Denis and Cynthia Roberts "How to Secure Peace in Europe.")

"Contrary to the belief of most people, Americans are the most misinformed people in the world. The unceasing daily flow of half-truths, distortions, slanted news stories, and downright lies from the big-business controlled press and radio does not enlighten. It serves only to confuse and befuddle; foments unreasoning hysteria; spreads baseless prejudices.

The existence of such a system of mis-information makes America fertile ground for home-bred fascism and home-grown totalitarianism.

Until America develops an educational system that teaches citizens to spot the phony columnists and commentators, and not to parrot the propaganda they read and hear, the people cannot be truly educated. Without the light of truth, wise and proper decisions are impossible. The shame of America is that Americans, despite all their technological marvels, know more things that are not true than any other people on earth."
(Thomas Ogilvie, Editor, Jersey Times February 26, 1949.)

"Theoretically the press is free... In practice the media are dependent on money, on power... The mass media are... firmly in the hands of those who rule, who manage them directly or indirectly...

But Not only the politicians rule. The rich do so by disposing of the labour power of the masses. They also try to form an opinion which is favourable to their interests... They also make use of the media to convince people that party interests are also those of the masses...

Within the ruling class the proprietors have the advantage over the politicians for the latter only have the mandate of the masses who depend economically on the proprietors. Private property in the mass media provides an additional abundance of power of disposal over things and people but over the apparatuses which are indispensable for the information of the masses."
("De Chance der Massenmedien." Die Neue Gesellschaft, Bielefeld, 1966.)

"The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and non-involvement in the part of some individuals and groups."
("The Crisis of Democracy." The Trilateral Commission, 1977.)

"The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enable it to organise and sway the emotions of the masses, and to make its tool of them."
(Albert Einstein.)

"The pressure of public opinion is like the pressure of the atmosphere; you can't see it but, all the same, it is sixteen pounds to the square inch."
(US poet James Russell Lowell.)

"Josef Goebbels as the historic records show has fooled many people. After all, that was his job and few would dispute his almost complete mastery of it. What is surprising indeed, however, is that it still shows evidence in the pages of The Times thirty odd years later. Writing from experience I do not think that at that late time of the war Goebbels managed to fool many German soldiers in Russia on the Katyn issue... German soldiers knew about the shot in the back of the head all right... we German soldiers also knew very well that the Polish officers were dispatched by none other than our own."
(Ex German soldier Henry Metelmann, in a letter to The Times, February 27, 1971.)

"The daily press... which in a moment spreads inventions over the whole world, fabricates more myths... in a day than could have formerly been done in a century."
(Karl Marx.)

"I believe that few people aside from myself have any idea of the tremendous, the almost invincible power and force of the daily press. I am one of those who believe that at least in America the press rules the country; it rules its politics, its religion, its social practice...

The publisher who has succeeded... is necessarily a capitalist...

The press of this country is now and always has been so thoroughly dominated by the wealthy few of the country that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical, and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of the people shall have, in order that they shall vote and in all ways act in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing class. I have sought to give these people all the information which will strengthen them in their unequal contest with their masters."
(US newspaper boss Edward Scripps.)

"The cloak-and-dagger operations of America's Central Intelligence Agency are only a small part of its total activities. Most of its $2,000 million budget and 80,000 personnel are devoted to the systematic collection of information minute personal details about tens of thousands of politicians and political organisations in every country in the world including Britain. And this data, stored in the world's largest filing system at the CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, is used not only to aid Washington's policy makers, but in active political intervention overseas shaping the policies of political parties, making and unmaking their leaders, boosting one internal faction against another, and often establishing rival breakaway parties when other tactics fail."
(Richard Fletcher "How the CIA Took the Teeth Out of British Socialism." In Philip Agee and Louis Wolf (eds) "Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe.")

"Everything is quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. I wish to return."
(William Randolph Hearst's correspondent Remington sent to Havana. 1890.)

"Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
(William Randolph Hearst, in reply to his correspondent Remington in Havana. 1890.)

"The freedom of the press throughout the world where the capitalists rule, is the freedom to buy up newspapers, the freedom to buy writers, to buy and manufacture public opinion in the interests of the capitalists."
(Lenin 1921.)

"When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom -- freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement...

All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavour in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride...

Thus blind faith is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves; insatiable desire a substitute for hope; accumulation a substitute for growth; fervent hustling a substitute for purposeful action, and pride a substitute for unattainable self-respect."
(Eric Hoffer, US longshoreman.)

"The stage, art, literature, the cinema, the press and advertisement posters, all must have the stains of pollution removed and be placed in the service of a national and cultural idea."
(Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.)

"We are drowning in information and starving for knowledge."
(Rutherford Roger.)

"An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance."
(Canadian writer and educationalist Laurence J. Peter, 1919-1990.)

What kind of world is it Huxleyan or Orwellian?

"What Huxley teaches is that... spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one (Orwellian) whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate... Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility."
(Neil Postman in "Amusing Ourselves To Death.")

British school and college history, economics, sociology and business studies syllabus teaching and books do not contain any of this information.

All the material and information I have presented here is readily available to historians, writers, journalists, teachers, educators and syllabus publishers. Although I have spent many hundreds of hours gathering it all together, I did not have to look very far to find any of it.

When as a trainee history lecturer, it was suggested I take the class on a trip to the Tower of London and then set them an essay on what life was like for a soldier in King Charles' Army centuries ago. Very useful knowledge that! A sociology of the past perhaps? But certainly not history in its most important sense; unless history is to mean anything old or 'interesting' that you can do in evening classes, like antiques, flower arranging or basket weaving. When instead I taught real history, learning from the past in order to change the future, the collective life-experience of humanity, I was got rid of. The head of the history department complained that the students had remarked that I made them think; which the head of history had probably never done in a lifetime of teaching. I ended up washing and cleaning and emptying human surgical waste in a hospital.

Unless teachers learn to be brave and intellectually honest (difficult when they have a mortgage and bills to pay), future historical, social and economic education and popular 'knowledge' will also not refer to the U.S. or British history and continuing complicity in global plunder, exploitation, domination and control, wars of aggrandisement and acquisition, causing the deaths and devastation of the homes and lands of millions of people -- the thousands of children under the age of two who will die tonight through simple lack of food, clean water, medicine and education -- the untold millions of unnecessary deaths among the overwhelming majority of humanity on this incredibly rich and abundant and ultimately sustainable earth.

Quotes from Brian Mitchell. Evolution.


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