Intellectual Prostitutes

They lied, and I believed the lie. I bought the lie – hook, line and sinker. Worse, they lied about a place that I loved more than any other on Earth: Israel. And, I prided myself in being too smart and sophisticated to let the lying liars catch me, but I was wrong. And, embarrassed.

Oh… and very, very angry.

That was more than 15 years ago, and I’ve been ranting and raving, ever since – trying to get people to wake up to the fact that they are being lied to, and that these lies are deadly.

I’m thinking about this because I just read an article about John Swinton. By the 1880s, he’d been in the journalism business for more than 20 years. He’d been the head of the editorial staff for the New York Times for ten years and head of the editorial staff for the New York Sun for eight more, before going on to publish his news sheet, John Swinton’s Paper. In fact, he was so well respected that the journalist community held a banquet in his honor (in 1880). Someone who did not know Swinton or journalism stood up and offered a toast to the independent press. Swinton replied, to the outrage of many in the audience:

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.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the 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 of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

(Source: Labor’s Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979. via John Swinton on the independence of the press.)

Those of us who are professional writers know how easy it is to fall into intellectual prostitution. We know how to twist words and phrases to ‘adjust’ the truth to reflect what WE want the truth to be.

Well, for more than a hundred years, we’ve allowed unprincipled men and women to ‘adjust the truth’ for us. We not only allowed them, we believed them.

So, I ask you:

How much of what you believe is a lie?

You’ve been reading and watching and listening to the mainstream media all of your life. They’ve been lying to you all this time. How much of it did you believe?

I can tell you from personal experience, that even though you know about journalists and their lies, you can still be caught by their lies. I’m still embarrassed by how much I, myself accepted the Big Lie as truth.

So, are you going to break free of this web of lies? Are you going to wake up and do something?

Choose now, ‘cuz there isn’t much time left.

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