Journalism & strong drink

Posted by ESC on April 09, 2003

In Reply to: An old maxim posted by ESC on April 09, 2003

: : Hi,

: : Anyone konws the meaning of the follwing maxim:

: : To borrow an old maxim, the news media are assumed to be afflicting the powerful while, at the same time, comforting the afflicted.

: : Thanks a lot.

: I found this on the site:

: "Th' newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th'ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward."
: -Finley Peter Dunne, "Mr. Dooley's Opinions", 1900

: Journalists are supposed to be neutral. But I guess you could say they are suppose to champion the cause of the average man/woman or the working class (the afflicted) and expose the wrong-doing of the rich and powerful (the comfortable).

I'd have to read the above paragraph in context to be sure. But it sounds like the speaker is being sarcastic about the role of newspapers. Here's another journalism-related phrase that I particularly like:

TAKE TO JOURNALISM AND STRONG DRINK - "It is said of English author John Mitford (1782-1859) that he 'took to journalism and strong drink.' Mitford was paid a shilling a day by his Grub Street publisher, 'of which he expended tenpence on gin and twopence on bread, cheese and an onion.' Rent he had not, as he 'lived in a gravel pit, with pen, ink and paper' for the last 43 days of his life." From the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997.