The press and world politics

Otto Dietrich

DR. DIETRICH
Secretary of State, Reich Chief of Press

A new problem has been added to the big political problems which influence the nations during the last few decades. There is no doubt that press matters have long been among the most interesting questions in social life, and the most important in intercourse between nations; but never before has the work of the Press had such a deep and direct effect upon political happenings as at the present day.

The Führer of the German nation made the growing international problem of the Press the main theme of a great speech which found echoes in every part of the globe. He publicly and clearly showed the results and dangers of destructive Press work, which now has so much influence upon international politics.

Hitler referred to the Press as a political problem of world importance. His speech showed the negative side of a part of the international Press. But perhaps many who heard this address learned for the first time the extent to which the Press has developed into an element in world politics in the last few decades. It may be said that the policy of the Press has become an important part of politics, both national and international.

The Press is one of those institutions of which it may be remarked that its shadow is more noticeable than its light. Perhaps it is on this account that some are honestly troubled and regard the Press as one of the misfortunes that afflict mankind. But we have progressed too far for a life without newspapers. The Press has become one of the most important parts of modern life, and the existence of nations -without it can hardly be imagined.

The Press bridges time and space in reporting daily happenings. It links up mankind daily and hourly with the surrounding world beyond the range of vision. The newspaper is the mirror of our age, and the Press is always the focus of all big events. It has been called the organ of public opinion, the voice of the nations, and the eye and ear of the world.

To what extent can it fulfil this great task? That is the Press problem of our times. But it is certain that the Press is an important element in political life. It creates the atmosphere, both good and bad, in which politicians must work.

The German Press policy is not always understood in some parts of the world, but I believe that if it were rightly grasped it would help to remove the frequent disastrous effects in which a wrong idea of the Press has often resulted.

It is hardly possible to understand the structure of our Press, or our Press policy, without some knowledge of the fundamentals of National Socialism, of the new school of thought which gave rise to it, of the new conception of State which it produces, and of the relationship of the individual to the whole which lends his existence entirely new expression. National Socialism revolutionised the political thinking of the German people.

As already intimated, National Socialism replaced individualistic thought, which it regards as the error of a whole age, by the community idea. New paths were thus opened which those whose whole life is, so to speak, on another plane cannot grasp. The ideas other peoples use as the base of their school of thought are often not sufficiently far-reaching for their upholders to follow with understanding what has happened in Germany, although they are ample in their own countries. We are here at the cross-road of two schools of thought. This is the true source of all the difficulties and lack of understanding so often met with in international discussions. It is not possible to understand National Socialism with Liberal types of thought. Only those who feel this new community thought, or, at least, endeavour to comprehend it, can understand National Socialism, its age and its works, its language and its voice.

My remarks regarding the progress of human ideas, which has achieved a revolution of thought in Germany during the last few years, apply especially to the Press. When one looks into the standpoints from which the National Socialist Press is criticised, and considers the outlived standards employed, one cannot be surprised at the deficient understanding with which so many foreigners regard the National Socialist conception of the Press. It is true that the Press was born of Liberalism, but the Press of the Liberal age is not synonymous with the “Press” as a whole.

The conception of a newspaper is very different in the National Socialist State. A new age gives the Press new tasks to fulfil. The Liberal Press is characterised by the idea that the criticism or opinion of the individual regarding the State and its public institutions is justified. The individual, no matter whether he be a journalist or contributor, appears as the mouthpiece of public opinion with no justification to this claim beyond his own private opinion. This corresponds to the fundamental idea of individual thought.

The National Socialist community idea, on the other hand, gives the Press a basically different, in fact directly opposite, task-that of publishing the principles of the whole as against the individual. The German people have learned that the idea of pulling together is their greatest treasure.

The National Socialist Party, as the great revival movement of the German nation, has learned from its own history that the uniform political thought of the whole nation is the basis for all national and social success, and that it is the knowledge of common problems of destiny which produces the will to solve them. It sees an element of power in this knowledge, and regards the Press as one of the mightiest means of serving this knowledge.

In a National Socialist State, the Press has not the task of expressing individual opinion against the whole, and of voicing a “public opinion” which is really non-existent. On the other hand, it has to represent the community view against the individual, and to make this comprehensible to those who do not know it. The newspaper thus becomes the warning voice of the nation, and the school of political thought, lending every citizen the knowledge that he is a link in the community chain for good or evil.

Public opinion in Germany is thus not a fluctuating barometer, subject day by day to thousands of influences of uncontrollable individual interests.

Public opinion, as we see it, is the real will of the people, with which National Socialism has direct contact at its source through its close connection with the people. We do not make public opinion, we seek to establish it.

The newspaper in Germany is not the scene of irresponsible criticism on the part of a few who act as advance guard on behalf of anonymous interests and misuse criticism to undermine the authority of the State. Our newspapers are the publicity conscience of the nation, destined to foster instead of to hinder the work of the State, for we have better methods of maintaining the State in contact with the people. This is a very different view to that of the Liberal Press, and we feel sure that it is a better one.

The arguments used by some foreign critics against German Press methods on this or a similar basis thus prove unfounded. They do not touch the essence of the matter, being taken from the Liberal dictionary whose expressions are no longer applicable to our times and our modern conception of the duties of the Press. The German Press also takes the liberty of criticising, but it criticises what harms the people, and not what benefits them. Within the obvious limitations set by the vital interests of the nation, it has in reality more freedom than the Liberal Press. It even takes the liberty of criticising the “freedom of the Press,” which is praised with all the passion of which Democrats are capable as one of mankind’s most holy possessions.

Even the most independent Liberal pen never dares to criticise the so-called freedom of the Press. Our colleagues in the editorial offices of the “free Democracies” know why. But they are not allowed to say so since such painful publicity would result in their having to seek a change of profession which was by no means voluntary.

The history of the development of newspapers shows what the freedom of the Press is really like. It has been proved that the expression “freedom of the Press” is one of the loudest of empty phrases which has ever fogged the human brain.

The evidence of those who claim Press freedom in their own lands is furthermore a proof that there has never been any real freedom of the Press anywhere, and that in places where this freedom is particularly boasted it is least truly present. I may quote some cases which exemplify the mental slavery of the Press.

In 1913 the American Journalist, John Swinton, stated at the annual meeting of the American Press Association that there was no independent Press in America, apart from the papers in small provincial towns. He went on to say that this fact was known to everyone, but that no one dared to express his opinion about it, while it would never appear in print even if he did. The man who was mad enough to write his own personal opinion would soon be in the street. A New York journalist had to lie and to sit at the feet of Mammon. He had to sell himself and his nation for the sake of his daily bread. The speaker concluded by referring to journalists as the tools and vassals of the rich who sat behind the scenes and pulled the strings. The time and talents of journalists belonged to them, and Press men were mental prostitutes.

This is a hard and drastic opinion expressed twenty-five years ago. Conditions have, however, not improved since.

A New York firm of publishers recently brought out a book entitled The Washington Correspondent, in which some extremely interesting statements appeared. The author records the answers to a questionnaire placed before several hundred journalists. The question as to how far the freedom of a journalist extended was often laconically answered to the effect that everyone knew they had to write what the editors wanted, or that they would be thrown out of the editorial departments if they did not write what was wanted. The writer of the book, Leo C. Roston, remarks that in a Society where freedom is a nice slogan, limited by economic reality, a clear conscience is a luxury restricted to those who have enough money to refuse a compromise at the expense of their personal ideals.

This book, which was not written by German National Socialists, but published in the United States, would be excellent reading for those who believe that they can reproach us with lack of Press freedom. Or they should peruse the sensational attack on the American Press which was also published in New York, and by Ferdinand Lundberg, under the title America’s 60 Families. The chapter on journalism under the influence of money is especially interesting. In this book the real truth about the freedom of the Press is recognised.

The freedom of the Press is a phantom, a mere label. There is not, and never has been, freedom of the Press in any part of the world.

One should have sufficient feeling for realities to admit this fact. The Press is always dependent, and always under obligations to someone. The only question is, to whom? To business and party politics, to the anonymous power of gold and the destruction of order and morals, or to the responsible Statesmen and Government?

When the National Socialist State was established in 1933, and Press matters were in a state of chaos, Germany was faced with this problem, and decided for the last-named alternative. The purification of the Press in the Reich was, so to speak, the visiting-card, and the reorganisation of the Press the first fruit of the National Socialist revolution.

The reputation of the Press might have been lost among the German people if the National Socialist Party had not made great sacrifices to found their own Press, which fought for years against the old conditions in the newspaper world. Chaos was turned into order, and the new law for editors was issued as early as October 4th, 1933, coming into force on January 1st, 1934.

The structure of the reorganised German Press is clear and simple. The new law changed the centre of gravity of responsibility to the person concerned. The personal responsibility for the editorial part, i.e., for the political and chief part of the paper, was made clear. Just as the individual is absolutely responsible to the whole nation, so those who write in the Press and mould public opinion are likewise answerable to the State and to the public.

This new law also corresponds to the German feeling of right, in contrast to the Liberal conception, that the contributions of free-lances should be editorially supervised, and that the individual is responsible. The anonymous principle was thus replaced by responsibility.

The National Socialist Press law brought German journalists into direct relations with the State and nation, to whom, as well as to their own conscience, they are answerable. On the other hand, the State guarantees them the necessary legal independence of unfair influences in their work. Formerly the Pressmen could not always repel these.

Personal Press responsibility and rights are the starting-point for the new position of journalism in National Socialist Germany. They have effected a fundamental change in the social position of the German Editor.

It would be a great mistake to believe that Germany wanted a mechanical State Press, with the editors as mere slaves of State authorities. We wanted a living people’s Press in which the personality of the Editor could develop freely, and his journalistic sense of duty could unfold for the benefit of the nation.

At the same time, the German Press is aware that there is much left for it to do. Such a fundamental personal change as we undertook requires time to develop in accordance with the tasks at hand. The legal regulations were absolutely essential.

With the radical separation of business and politics achieved by the editorial law in Germany, the basis for the recovery of the Press is provided, for it has awakened in the breast of every German journalist the inner law of that higher Press freedom which distinguishes the journalistic profession as one ennobled by national responsibility.

The inner power and the national importance of the Press thus becomes clear. Opposed to it is the international power of the Press as a factor in world politics.

The Press is a power in the life of the nations, being much greater than is dreamed of by many citizens in their bourgeois philosophy. It was formerly called the seventh Great Power, but I believe it has been promoted in order of seniority during the past twenty years. In proportion to the approach of the nations to each other as a result of modern transport and telegraphy have the opinions and political atmosphere and reactions of the nations become more important for the political decisions of the Powers. The wires of the Press convey the true or supposed attitude of the nations to all great happenings from one country to another within a few hours. There is no point in saying that the wireless does it still more quickly. The wireless announces the opinions of the Press, which are taken as the barometer of public opinion, and regarded as the voice of the nation, whether it be so or not. The Press is looked upon as Public Opinion because it most strongly influences the opinion of the public.

On this account it may be designated as the barometer of world politics, its influence over the decisions of many cabinets in the last few decades having become stronger and more direct than many imagine.

This power in the hands of the Press as one of the most influential means of guiding the public has potentialities both good and bad: it can develop for the well-being or to the detriment of international relations. A French Diplomat hence described it as the tongue, of which Æsop said it was both the best and the worst member. Unfortunately, the bad tongue has made itself much more noticeable in international relations than the good powers of the Press.

Many a time public opinion has been poisoned by untruthful statements in the Press, and by that irresponsible sensationalism which endangers the peace of the nations.

In his Reichstag speech after five years of National Socialism, Chancellor Hitler spoke of this open wound in the life of the nations. He gave a clear answer to those who incite the public, and appealed to the Governments not only to make international arrangements to prevent the dropping of explosive, poison-gas and inflammable bombs, but also to stop the publication of all newspapers which have an even deadlier effect on international relations.

There have been occasions when sections of the Press have preached hatred and war between nations whose only wish was to live in peace. No one will seriously try to deny this fact. One or two foreign journals have referred to me as a remarkable Press surgeon, and written about my “Nazi mentality.” But I have received private letters from many journalists who agreed with me. These are a proof that my words express the thoughts of many Pressmen who are working under the compulsion of circumstances. It is the same with many Democratic Statesmen as with many journalists. They have long recognised the depressing Press problem, but dare not deal with it. Their own Press freedom forbids them to touch upon these problems. The tragic difficulty in the way of solving what is really a simple problem is to be found in the fact that all who could change these conditions are compelled to be silent because they are politically dependent upon the Press. While other matters in public life are freely discussed, the silence of the grave envelops this subject in the Democratic Press. Only the Leaders of authoritarian Governments have raised their voices against this state of affairs.

For example, Mussolini explained on one occasion to the President of the International Editors’ organisation how great was the evil of one-sided reporting. All these incorrect Press announcements created a state of affairs which was serious, and which all countries should help to remove in the interests of peace.

The extent to which the importance of this problem has been recognised in the parliamentary Democracies is shown by statements made by many of their responsible statesmen. Thus, M. Lebrun, the French President, seriously warned the Editors of his country not to abuse the so-called Press freedom. That was at the annual meeting of the French journalists’ organisation on February 8th, 1937. The freedom to say everything within certain limits was good, but it was dangerous when one allowed oneself to be led by hate and passion. The French Editors, he went on, would have to consider the different management of the Press policy in the various countries. On the one hand there was something like an orchestra conductor, who harmonised all notes, so that the national will appeared more uniform and powerful. This was a strength which was to the benefit of the country. But where criticism exceeded the bounds, everyone did as he wished. There was thus the danger that exaggerated individualism would compromise everything, and make the desired effect impossible. One should never forget the regrettable effects of false reports, which might endanger that international harmony among the nations, for which one should work more than ever, and jeopardise the peace desired by all.

At a lunch of the Foreign Press Association in Paris, the French Foreign Minister, M. Delbos, recently spoke against the custom of issuing false or unfair reports, stating that the common duty of the Press in all lands was to allay the fever which had arisen. The Press would have, he continued, to do more for the reconciliation and unity of the nations than for their separation.

It was none other than M. Herriot who, according to the Paris Temps of April 16th, 1936, demanded a law against Press slander on the ground that it was unbearable that lies went unpunished in a respectable country like theirs. This new law would, therefore, have to comprise at least two points: firstly that all articles would have to be signed, and secondly that the responsible Editor must not misuse his position; the manager of a paper and author of the article should take over the responsibility.

According to the Prager Presse of April 21st, 1935, the Czechish President Benesch asked whether it was possible to overlook the fact that the moral state of our generation was being ruined by the revolutionary, demagogic, immoral, corruptible, sensational, etc., points of view and aims which guided the Press.

In an address before the Irish branch of the Institute of Journalists, President de Valera asked whether the freedom of the Press should or should not be unrestricted. He said that the expression “freedom of the Press” must have a reasonable explanation, and might not be regarded as meaning power without responsibility. There was a foggy notion of Press freedom in many circles, with the aid of which people spread disturbances of thought which they would not allow their children in private life. The nation would have to be protected against the abuse of the influence of the Press.

Numerous Statesmen have made similar remarks in almost all lands, e.g., the Danish Prime Minister, Stauning, and the Swiss statesman Dr. Meyer, while Mr. Eden, in one of his speeches before the League of Nations, mentioned that diplomatic successes had little news value, while diplomatic failures had lasting results which could long be heard and felt.

The British Premier, Mr. Chamberlain, stated in a speech in the House of Commons that the power of the Press for good or evil was very great in the field of international relations, and careful use of this power, guided by full realisation of responsibility, might have far-reaching effects by attaining a favourable atmosphere for the aims they were striving for.

Mr. Chamberlain was almost certainly thinking of the role played by a section of the English Press regarding Lord Halifax’s visit to Berchtesgaden, and of the kind of service it rendered to British Diplomacy. It is a fact that sensationalism on the part of an irresponsible section of the Press has done much to disturb the chances of understanding among the nations. This list is a long one, but it becomes almost endless when one considers the vast positive power of the Press, and what a blessing this could be for mankind if it were wielded with a true sense of responsibility.

One imagines how peaceful the world would be if one did not only write about peace, but if the newspapers themselves would keep the peace. The Press could work wonders in political life. The League of Nations has attempted to arrange international relations. There have been innumerable diplomatic endeavours, conferences and assemblies. The result is very trifling. But perhaps the disappointment at the fruitlessness of these endeavours is the chief cause of the political defeatism which has gripped so many countries in Europe. The nations could have very different relations with each other if they recognised how much the Press could do towards the promotion of collaboration and mutual understanding, and if the positive power of the Press were employed fully for this high goal.

It is not Utopianism to state that mutual respect and understanding could be reached in the atmosphere created by the Press in a few months, whereas this could not be achieved in other ways even in centuries.

Instead of sowing the seeds of dissension and hate, as some papers do, the Press could be one of the most beneficent organs in creating international relationships. The nations want peace, wish for understanding with their neighbours. But the Press in many lands, while claiming to be public opinion, does not allow these wishes to fructify.

The Man in the Street in many lands might well ask why the path of international Press peace is not taken. The nations have all come to an agreement regarding drug-smuggling, the White Slave traffic, and the pursuit of robbers. Why, then, should they not join hands in fighting political incitement and the peace boycott indulged in by some irresponsible papers?

I fully recognise the difficulties in the way of a solution. They are rooted less in the will of the peoples than in organisation conditions and in the structure of the Press. In his Reichstag speech, Herr Hitler gave some clear hints regarding the objections that there are no legal means in other countries of ending lies and slander. In going into this question I have no wish to outline any ideas of my own. But I may remark that Germany and Italy have the practical essential conditions for Press collaboration by means of modern Press legislation. The structure of our Press shows, for the first time, the prospect of achieving aims in international politics which, when properly understood and followed without prejudice, will become a blessing to the nations and to mankind as a whole.

Those who have recognised these practical aims and possibilities are in duty bound to work for their international realisation in the interest of the nations and of peace. The policy of the German Press is guided by this thought alone in trying to adopt the path of reason and understanding in international Press matters by making Press agreements, whether written or unwritten, from country to country.

The Press Agreement made by Germany with Poland and Austria serves this goal, and a further success was attained in the shape of a Gentlemen’s Agreement regarding mutual Press relations not long ago, when the Yugoslavian Premier visited Germany. The close friendship between the German and Italian peoples is due by no means least to the attitude of the Press in the two countries, the journalists having visited each other for years, and set up friendships which are now of benefit to both peoples.

The German Press will continue to pursue this policy of non-aggression pacts and agreements between country and country so far as politics and Press affairs may permit.

But there are limits in this respect – not limits to our good will, but to possible negotiations and to the Press morals in some countries. Just as there can be no armistice between two States when one has a well-disciplined army while the troops of the other are in the hands of condottieri who carry on a war of their own, there can be no Press peace when only one party adheres to the national discipline, while the other refuses to accept responsibility and allows itself to be led by the anonymous influence of powers which aim at destroying peace.

Thanks to the national discipline to which our Press is trained by National Socialism, we are in a position to make such agreements and to keep them. What, however, is the position in other countries?

Diplomatic representations are often made regarding unqualified attacks on our people and their form of Government, and the almost stereotype answer is: “We agree that it was untrue, or a grave slander, but we have no basis for effectively interfering in view of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the Press.”

Such objections are incomprehensible to us, even from the standpoint of the widest Democratic Press policy. What is thus defended as freedom of the Press is not freedom but insolence. Here, the State does not defend freedom but abuse. M. Herriot said that it was unbearable that lies should go unpunished in a respectable land like his. In doing so, he merely expressed what every respectable man thinks in every country, for there is no Constitution which can shield such things in the name of the people. Every government can step in against those who poison the foreign relations of a nation by false reports, and thus endanger their own nation’s peace. The wellbeing of the nation and the security of the State are, after all, the first law of Democracy. When the interests of the people are irresponsibly endangered by the publication of untrue rumours, every Statesman should claim the right to seize the edition of the paper in which such reports appear, according to the written and the unwritten law. Countries in which such obvious principles are not applied are not suitable partners for Press agreements.

In many countries the strange custom of holding the German Government responsible for every word printed in German papers has spread. Reserve is demanded of the German Press, while the countries concerned do not feel obliged to act similarly owing to their view of the freedom of the Press. That is unfair banking on our respectability and does not bring the goal of a Press peace any nearer.

We are not prepared to accept irresponsible Press attacks as the reward for our honest endeavours. Any such attack which is not suppressed by the Government of the country in question compels us to resort to the same weapons. No one will doubt we can be plain in defending our rights. We are of the opinion that the bad custom of judging by such unequal standards does not foster international Press reconciliation. We cannot afford to act as peaceful angels when the devil stands before us. Here, we say: An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth.

We, too, can only contribute to the Press peace step by step. No one can expect us to keep our arrows unpointed while others launch attacks at us. This must be clear to Statesmen in other lands who consider a Press peace as the best preparation for an all-round political agreement. It is of little use to protest that one wants peace while the Press shoots its poisoned arrows simultaneously.

In Germany, as in Italy, Press reform and legislation have made the first step towards a reasonable Press policy between the two countries, and thus shown the way to a clearing of the international atmosphere.

In a number of other countries, reason is also making itself heard. We have recognised that the moral crisis in world newspaper circles has less to do with the journalists than with those who prescribe their line of action from the darkness of anonymity. As a result, we freed the Pressmen from the invisible shackles of capital by means of our Editor law, and gave the journalist a directly responsible relationship to the nation and State, without in any way interfering with the private ownership of the newspapers. This clear and healthy solution has brought our journalism in order. Now it is the turn of others to follow if they really mean that they wish for peace.

The means they adopt is their own business, in which we shall not interfere. As in the case of foreign politics, National Socialism has its own conception of Press politics. Just as we believe that world peace can only be assured by the existence of free, sovereign and happy States, so do we also hold that world economy can only prosper on a basis of healthy national economies. In the same way, we are of the opinion that only a morally and economically healthy national Press can be the basis of international Press co-operation.

The barriers built between the nations by hate will be pulled down all the quicker the more the responsible Statesmen understand the will of their people in this question in all lands, and the more they find the courage to act accordingly, and thus serve the interest of the nations. The so-called freedom of the Press which they believe they must respect is a phantom, with no more power than the fright it instils, as one of the first European newspaper men wrote in 1827. The real issue should not be avoided for the sake of a mere catchword.

The journalist who exercises his profession has long recognised the true face of this strange freedom of the Press, which is no freedom for him. He knows that the Press is free in theory, but that this freedom is abolished by the power of gold in actual practice, as an American once remarked. Statesmen who shrink from this power should consider this point, and not avoid it by talk of “a good conscience” and by an appeal to the people’s love of freedom.

True freedom does not lie in irresponsibility, but in responsibility. Responsibility towards the community of one’s own nation and towards the community of all peoples. This would make the Press an instrument in promoting peace, and not one which separates and incites the nations. This responsibility should be felt by all, both by the men who guide the policy of the Press, and by the journalists who write for the newspapers, whether they work in the editorial departments, or as correspondents abroad. We see the first main basis for profitable Press relations with other lands in fruitful collaboration with the foreign Press representatives in Germany.

Our attitude towards the foreign journalists accredited to Berlin may, perhaps, be the subject of some misunderstanding. I believe that journalistic fairness and national obligation in the Press work of the foreign journalists can well be combined. This presupposes some psychologic understanding of the situation, and of the conditions existing on both sides.

We see the duties of the foreign correspondent as follows. He is to give his countrymen an unprejudiced, truthful picture of a foreign land and its people. Those who view their task in this way can be sure of our assistance at any time, for we then respect in them the representatives of organs of public opinion in their own country. We shall not dispute their right to make objective criticism so long as they wish to serve the interests of truth. But those who harbour feelings of personal or other dislike, or even hatred, for the country they are in, feelings which bring them into constant conflict with their professional duties and make objective reporting difficult or impossible, should not come to us as correspondents. They harm not only our land, but also their own by unfair, one-sided news-reporting, and are subject to justifiable distrust which is sure, sooner or later, to lead to a breach.

We are very sensitive when we find a foreign journalist acting in opposition to the endeavours of politicians towards “neighbourliness” with other nations by deliberately reporting in a manner likely to incite other nations against us, deliberately misreporting conditions in the Reich. In such cases we have resorted to the institution of expulsion, which, by the way, is not a National Socialist invention but a measure applied everywhere to journalists who abuse their position and the hospitality of the country they are in. This measure has already been made use of by us, and will be retained in the future. But we understand the peculiar conditions under which the foreign journalists have to do their work. We are not narrow-minded, and do not belong to those who believe every journalist must be an objectionable creature if he does not write exactly like a National Socialist. We expect him, as a subject of another land, to think and feel differently to us in many matters, just as we expect a German abroad not to forget that he is a German. We only ask the foreign correspondent to serve the interests of truth, to do his journalistic duty in a respectable manner, and like a Diplomat, to view his mission from a higher standpoint – that of fostering the relations between nation and nation.

It is true that a paper cannot be quite without sensations, but do not the achievements of National Socialist Germany in many fields offer more than enough material for sensational reports? One should not devote so much energy to the quest of the negative when so much positive is available. In exaggerating for the sake of sensation there is the danger of slipping, and thus of falling a victim to rumour, and hence to untruthfulness.

Bismarck said that every country had, in the long run, to pay for the windows broken by its Press. He also said that it would be easier to make a good editor into a Secretary of State than to produce a single good journalist from a dozen privy councillors. These words still apply to-day.

I do not see a destructive, but a reconstructive element in Pressmen, an element which will help us to realise the exigencies of Press politics which constitute one of the most urgent problems in international politics.

Herr Hitler made a difference in his Reichstag speech between two kinds of journalists. I should be happy if all belonged to the kind who serve their people by preparing the way for the truth. One saying may also be quoted, which also applies to the correspondent abroad: “Respect everyone’s country, but love your own.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s