Newspapers

Undoubtedly if you have the Marietta Daily Journal, you have read many incorrect statements made in reference to me. I have found a number of Thomas Jefferson's comments about the press to be very accurate, at least when seeing the results of the Marietta Daily Journal and the Marietta Journal's owner and publisher, Otis Brumby, Jr., regarding articles dealing with the City of Marietta or myself.

 


  • "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day." --Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807. ME 11:224

  • "As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers." --Thomas Jefferson to Barnabas Bidwell, 1806. ME 11:118
 
  • "The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false." --Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807. ME 11:225

  • "At a very early period of my life, I determined never to put a sentence into any newspaper. I have religiously adhered to the resolution through my life, and have great reason to be contented with it. Were I to undertake to answer the calumnies of the newspapers, it would be more than all my own time and that of twenty aids could effect. For while I should be answering one, twenty new ones would be invented. I have thought it better to trust to the justice of my countrymen, that they would judge me by what they see of my conduct on the stage where they have placed me, and what they knew of me before the epoch since which a particular party has supposed it might answer some view of theirs to vilify me in the public eye. Some, I know, will not reflect how apocryphal is the testimony of enemies so palpably betraying the views with which they give it. But this is an injury to which duty requires every one to submit whom the public think proper to call into its councils." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1798. ME 10:58

  • "Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this. Divide his paper into four chapters, heading the 1st, Truths. 2nd, Probabilities. 3rd, Possibilities. 4th, Lies. The first chapter would be very short, as it would contain little more than authentic papers and information from such sources as the editor would be willing to risk his own reputation for their truth. The second would contain what, from a mature consideration of all circumstances, his judgment should conclude to be probably true. This, however, should rather contain too little than too much. The third and fourth should be professedly for those readers who would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they would occupy." --Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807. ME 11:225

  • "I have been for some time used as the property of the newspapers, a fair mark for every man's dirt." --Thomas Jefferson to Peregrine Fitzhugh, 1798. ME 10:1

  • "I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time, whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. General facts may indeed be collected from them... but no details can be relied on." --Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807. ME 11:224

  • For the present, lying and scribbling must be free to those mean enough to deal in them, and in the dark." --Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Randolph, 1792. ME 8:411

  • "These people [i.e., the printers] think they have a right to everything, however secret or sacred." --Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1815. ME 14:345

For other quotes on the press by Thomas Jefferson, follow the link and scroll down to the sections on Abuses by a Free Press and Sowing Dissension, Effects on the Nation, Dealing With the Press and Reforming the Press.
( http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1600.htm)

The Quotation's Page also has a number of good quotes on Journalism. http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/journalism/

 



 

 

 

 

 


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