Forget the Comfortable—Just Get It Right
“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 (as Mr. Dooley) (1867-1936), journalist and humorist
“[J]ournalists should never use the phrase again to justify their actions, unless they want old Mr. Dooley to roll over in his grave. It is true that the worst journalism comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. That is a breach of duty.
“We need journalists to get at the truth and to keep watch against abuses of power. They have a hard enough time getting that right. So let’s absolve them of the responsibility of charity or iconoclasm. If journalists want to comfort the afflicted, they should send money to the Red Cross.”
—Dr. Ink, Poynteronline, 2002
• Editorial Comment: I dunno. I can think of some in the media worth afflicting.
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