Mencken on Readers and newspapers.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, December 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Mencken on Readers and newspapers.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


AMERICA'S best known satirist in my time (a late Filipino columnist was often cited as his counterpart) had some unflattering words to say about the average newspaper reader.

He is "not at all responsive to purely intellectual argument, even when its theme is his own ultimate benefit But he is very responsive to emotional suggestion, particularly when it is crudely and violently made, and it to this weakness that the newspapers must ever address their endeavors. They must try to arouse his horror, or indignation, or pity, or simply his lust for slaughter. Once they have done that, they have him safely by the nose. He will follow blindly until his emotion wears out. He will be ready to believe anything, however absurd, so long as he is in his state of psychic tumescence."

As the perceptive now knows, newspapers (media, in general) do not lose money by pandering to the propensity of readers and audience.

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