Wednesday, June 29, 2016

“The skill of misinformation”

COMMUNICATION is now a science, or rather the skill of misinformation. A journalist must know the technique of how to escape the charge of editorializing in the guise of reporting. The simplest form of that skill is to find somebody who agrees with the position of the newspaper and ask him or her for an opinion. This is then reported as being representative of the thinking of society at large, but it reflects above all the view of the editor and perhaps also of the reporter. The technique is a skill in the art of lying, about which most reporters and editors as well as professors in schools of journalism are not really concerned. No room there for an Augustine of Hippo, who, on thinking ever more seriously about becoming a Christian, realized that his profession, for which the State paid him, was to promote lies. This dawned on him when, shortly before his conversion, he was supposed to deliver an oration on the emperor’s birthday. He knew that, like other rhetors paid by the State, he had to lie from both corners of his mouth by presenting a rascal as a paragon of virtue.

I am not saying that such an art is explicitly endorsed in our schools of education, but it is hardly met head on, because there everything has to be politically correct. There the chief aim is to make everybody feel comfortable with anyone else’s views and patterns of behavior. The result is that modern society is coming apart at the seams. Statistics on crime, on deviant behavior, speak louder than words. The science of education has become an instruction in brazen pragmatism.

~Stanley L. Jaki: “The Science of Education and Education in Science.” (in Lectures in the Vatican Gardens)