1980s >> 1985 >> no-971-july-1985

50 Years Ago: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

It is an unwritten law of the newspaper world that the rich and the politically powerful must always be represented in a favourable light. Their vices must be veiled if at all possible, and if they are so glaring that they simply force themselves on the notice of the general public, then they must be given a certain twist. They must be made to appear as the pardonable eccentricities of genius, or lightly turned aside with the sycophantic snigger which our Press and literary gentlemen reserve exclusively for their capitalist masters. Thus it happens that Mr. X-. whose friends know him to be a drunken gambler. appears to the readers of the newspaper as a jovial soul, with heart of gold — all because he is a powerful instrument for deluding working class electorates in the interest of capitalism. This courtesy is also extended to foreign potentates, and only temporarily abandoned for purposes of war. Newspaper readers soon forget, and are not at all shaken in their trustfulness when they see Lord Rothermere, for example, heaping praises on the head of that “great man”, the ex-Crown Prince of Germany, only a few years after Lord Rothermere’s newspapers had represented him as the world’s prize buffoon.

(From an editorial in the Socialist Standard, July 1935.)