Walter Spearman

Understanding The News (1941)

Understanding The News (1941) by Walter Spearman


There are some who say : "You can't believe what you see in the papers." There are others who say: "It's so, because I saw it in print."

But the intelligent individual neither believes everything he reads nor automatically discounts what he does read. He tries to understand the news, whether he finds it in his daily newspaper or in his weekly magazine or his radio or the latest book upon his shelf.

Today more news is pouring in upon our eye and ear than ever before in the history of the world. And today more than ever before it is important for us to understand this news, to recognize its truth, and to appraise its significance among the world-shaking events of the twentieth century.

Do you understand that news? Have you examined your own newspapers as to their impartiality, their fairness, their intelligence, their honesty in presenting news?

Do you know the men who write your local news and what their problems are in giving you an accurate account of what is happening? Do you recognize the by-lines of the best foreign correspondents and can you distinguish their signed stories from the propaganda press re- leases of foreign government-controlled news agencies ?

Do you rely upon the news interpretations of your favorite editors and columnists? When you listen to the radio, do you understand the personal backgrounds of the various commentators? Do you know the difficulties imposed by censorship?

Getting the news is the privilege of citizens in a democracy. Understanding that news is their duty.

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