BSEB Class 12 English Chapter 8 How Free Is The Press Summary, Explanation, and Question Answers from Rainbow Book 

 
How Free is the Press Class 12 English – How Free Is The Press BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Chapter 8 How Free Is The Press Summary and detailed explanation of the story along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the summary is followed by an explanation of the lesson. All the exercises and Question Answers given at the back of the lesson have also been solved.

 

 

BSEB Class 12 Rainbow book  Chapter 8 – How Free Is The Press

By Dorothy L. Sayers

 
 

How Free Is The Press Introduction

 

In the essay ‘How Free is the Press’, The author writes with clarity of thought to make a strong case against mis-reporting by the press or against the misuse of the freedom of the press. 

 
 

How Free Is The Press Summary

 

How Free Is the Press Summary – The essay begins by bringing to light how freedom of press was taken lightly by everyone despite the fact that freedom of people can not exist without it. However, the author felt that we need not discuss the limitations that were imposed upon the press during war. We often limit the meaning of ‘the freedom of press’ in a sense that only highlights independence from government’s control and direction. In this particular aspect, the British Press was supposedly free. However, if we continue to believe that any particular part of the Press enjoys the freedom of being a platform for exchange of public opinion, we are wrong. The editorial policy of a daily newspaper was guided by two main factors- Firstly, it needed to take care of the interest of advertisers that help provide the finances to carry the circulation of the newspaper at such a large scale. The second was, how deep were the pockets of the man or the company that owns it as they control the policies based on their personal and political motives. The information was manipulated and controlled more by the Press itself as compared to the outside factors. This control of information was based on two assumptions about the public – first, that the public was not smart enough to figure out the truth from the lies and second, that the public did not care if a statement was false, if it aroused excitement. Some experiences suggest that readers were fools that would believe anything they were told. Hence, as a result, independent newspapers who took pride in honest reporting during earlier days, were now being taken over by reporting which was casual, careless and deliberately biased.

 

The author further shared a few insignificant instances of her personal experience, the ways with which facts and opinions were misrepresented in such a way that has the capacity to damage the reputation of someone

 

  1. Sensational Headlines; False Emphasis; and Suppression of Context- The author talked about the year 1941, when at the Malvern Conference she read a research paper of around 8000 words out of which 250 less-important words gained so much attention and were reported everywhere under catchy headlines. The paragraph was conveyed in a way that this indirect reference became the center of attraction of her address. 

 

2 Garbling- At the time of production of the author’s latest play, she was asked about her plans for the future to which she replied that she never made any plans. She expressed that she liked writing plays over novels even though novels and if she ever got an opportunity to write a play for commission for the Canterbury Festival, she would write it without thinking twice. This reply of hers was published in a manner suggesting that she would not write anymore plays except in situations where she was being paid a commission.

 

There should always be some scope for the journalist’s creative imagination. The author recalled reading with full interest how her eyes ‘glittered behind her glasses’ while saying something but since it was a telephonic interview, the author assumed that the interviewer’s eyes must have had the power of double magnifying glass. 

 

  1. Inaccurate Reporting of Facts- A while ago, a daily reported that her flat had been robbed one day before, when she had come home from Oxford just in time to interrupt the thievery. The news about robbery was true but each specification that was reported, was incorrect. It happened not a day prior, but three days before what was mentioned. Besides, she was not at Oxford but at King’s Garden party and the robbers were interrupted too, just not by her but by the boy who distributes newspapers. Now, the highlight was the reason behind reporting false information – the date had to be changed to hide the fact that it was old news and the boy was replaced by the author probably because of her social superiority and popularity. 

 

  1. Plain Reversal of the Facts- When summoned for unshaded lights, a letter that the author wrote was read in front of the bench clarifying that her servant had drawn the curtains but there proved to be a fault in the curtains. But the daily reported it by mentioning that it was the servant who did not remember to draw the curtains. 

 

  1. Random and Gratuitous Invention- Without discussing it through, a small and gossipy paper reported that the author’s two most favorite hobbies were gardening and keeping cats. This choice of hobbies was very unusually inappropriate because if there was anything she hated, it’s gardening. Also, even though her house always had a cat in the kitchen, it was supposed to keep mice away. She rarely took care of the cat.

 

  1. Deliberate Miracle-mongering- The author shared about the time when a local daily reported that she had delivered 20,000 words’ while the reporter had the entire script in his hands and it was somewhere around 8000 words. To be accurate, it was an error of 150 percent which was significant enough to know if one’s reporting should be trusted.

 

Out of these six forms of misrepresentation, the first two ones were the worst, according to the author as there was no way to rectify these.Hence, it was not at all possible to get either an amendment or an apology for these. This leads us to the following-

 

Flat Suppression- one may write letters expressing disapproval or objection but they might either be ignored completely or published in part or full, with a comment saying that the words published earlier were actually spoken. There was also a chance that the letter was answered privately by the editor. It was very rare to receive a full apology and correction from a local newspaper. Every public figure – from writer to politician, was politely made aware of the fact that if they displease the Press, they will suffer for it.

Mocking implications could be made, even though not directly defamatory, but they could always get some space in the gossip column meanwhile dropping multiple hints that the Press could ‘make or break reputations’. It was very difficult to find a book that comes out to criticize the Press and it was also not easy to find a paper that was honest enough to publish on such a subject. A person who was being unreliable but only with little details, could not be relied upon for bigger stuff because if one was not reporting the details of a common court case correctly, how were they to be trusted with the reporting of actual world events. Decent journalists and responsible editors were not pleased with this current scenario but this pressure of today was reducing the number of editors and reporters who have been able to maintain a decent amount of ‘duty, balance and reputation’. Even if we assume that readers did care about having access to correct information, then the question arose why they did not feel bitter about the disregard that was being done to their intelligence. The newspapers were the first to make noise with their slogans in times of crisis – ‘Let the people know the facts!’ but what actually a fact was a divine that was called by the people only at times of emergency when the easy life of peace was distorted

 
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RelatedBSEB Class 12 English Lesson Explanation, Summary, Question Answers
 
 

Video Explanation of How Free is the Press

 

 
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How Free is the Press Explanation

 

  1. That without a free Press there can be no free people is a thing that all free people take for granted; we need not discuss it. Nor will we at this moment discuss the restrictions placed upon the press in time of war. At such times all liberties have to be restricted; free people must see to it that when peace comes full freedom is restored. In the meantime, it may be wholesome to consider what that freedom is, and how far it is truly desirable. It may turn out to be no freedom at all, or even a mere freedom to tyrannies, for tyranny is, in fact, the uncontrolled freedom of one man, or one gang, to impose its will on the world.

Free Press- the rights of newspapers, magazines, etc., to report news without being controlled by the government

Take for granted- assume, accept without questioning

Restrictions- limitations

Liberties- the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views

Wholesome- good, healthy

Tyranny- cruel and oppressive government or rule

Impose- force (an unwelcome decision or ruling) on someone

The author highlighted how freedom of press was taken lightly by everyone despite the fact that freedom of people could not exist without it. However, she felt that we need not discuss this and the limitations that were imposed upon the press during war. During times like these, all rights were limited and it was a thing to be noticed that when everything settled down, full freedom was brought back home. During this time, it would be healthy to focus on what freedom really meant and how much was it worth having. It was considered to be no freedom or little freedom to tyrannies/dictators where tyranny was unmonitored liberty of one man or gang to force their ruling on the world.

 

  1. When we speak of  ‘the freedom of the press’, we usually mean freedom in a very technical and restricted sense — namely, freedom from direction or censorship by the government. In this respect, the British Press is, under ordinary conditions, singularly free. It can attack the policy and political character of ministers, interfere in the delicate machinery of foreign diplomacy, conduct campaigns to subvert the constitution, incite citizens to discontent and rebellion, expose scandals and foment grievances, and generally harry and belabour the servants of the State, with almost perfect liberty. On occasion, it can become a weapon to coerce the Government to conform to what it asserts to be the will of the people.

Censorship- the policy of suppressing publication of any item

Diplomacy- the management of relationship between countries 

Subvert- cause the downfall of

Incite- stir to action

Discontent- dissatisfaction

Rebellion- opposition to one in authority or dominance

Scandals- rumors, gossips, serious breach of social or moral behavior

Foment- provoke, excite

Harry- harass, bother

Belabour- attack someone physically and verbally

Coerce- force, intimidate

Conform- comply with rules, standards, or laws

Asserts- state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully

The author explained how we limited the meaning of ‘the freedom of press’ in a sense that only highlighted independence from government’s control and direction. In this particular aspect, the British Press was supposedly free because it could openly criticize the policies and personalities of the ministers, get in the way of the complicated machinery and matters of foreign diplomacy, carry out a battle to cause the downfall of the constitution, fan the flames of dissatisfaction and revolt, bring to light the immoral behavior and injustice and harass and attack the servants of the state, with total freedom. Sometimes, it could also act as a weapon to force the government to obey what it states to be the will of the people.

 

  1. So far, this is all to the good. Occasionally, this freedom may produce disastrous hesitations and inconsistencies in public policy, or tend to hamper the swift execution of emergency measures; but, generally speaking, it works to secure and sustain that central doctrine of Democracy as we understand it — that the State is not the master but the servant of the people.

Disastrous- causing great loss

Hesitations- doubt or reluctance 

Inconsistencies- the quality or state of not being in agreement or not being regular 

Hamper- hinder the movement or progress of 

Swift- happening quickly or promptly

Execution- the carrying out of a plan, order, or course of action

Doctrine- the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief

Democracy- a system of government in which people choose their rulers by voting for them in elections

The author explained that up till now, it was all good but one day, this independence might lead to great doubts and disparities in public policy, and hinder the smooth implementation of emergency courses of action. However, it would prove to be useful in safeguarding the principles of Democracy that we all are aware of – that we are not ruled by the State, but the State works for us. 

 

  1. The Press, as a whole, and in this technical and restricted sense, is thus pretty free in a peaceful Britain. There is no shade of political opinion that does not somehow contrive to express itself. But if we go on to imagine that any particular organ of the Press enjoys the larger liberty of being a forum of public opinion’, we are gravely mistaken. Every newspaper is shackled to its own set of overlords and, in its turn, like the Unmerciful Servant, exercises a powerful bondage upon its readers and on the public generally. Indeed, we may say that the heaviest restriction upon the freedom of public opinion is not the official censorship of the Press, but the unofficial censorship by a Press which exists not so much to express opinion as to manufacture it.

Contrive- arrange, cook up, invent

Forum- a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged

Gravely- to a degree that gives cause for alarm

Shackled- chained up, fettered

Overlords- absolute rulers

Unmerciful- cruel or harsh; showing no mercy

Bondage- the state of being a slave

We could say that the Press was free in the peaceful Britain in both practical and restricted sense. There was no political opinion that did not get communicated itself. However, if we continue to believe that any particular part of the Press enjoys the independence of being a platform for exchange of public opinion, we were wrong. Every newspaper was chained up by its absolute rulers and like every cruel Servant, it possessed the power to fully control the minds and views of its readers and the general public. Hence, we may conclude that the freedom of public opinion was not largely limited by the government, but by the ‘unofficial censorship’ by the Press itself that did not simply share the opinion, but declared it.

 

  1. The editorial policy of a popular daily is controlled by two chief factors. The first is the interest of the advertisers from whom it gets the money which enables it to keep up its large circulation. No widely circulated newspaper dare support a public policy, however much in the national interest, that might conflict with the vested interests of its advertisers. Thus, any proposal to control the marketing of branded goods (as, for example, of margarine in 1939) will be violently opposed, on the loftiest hygienic grounds, by the papers that carry the branded advertising. On the other hand, any product that refuses to pay the high advertising rates of a powerful national organ will be (again on the highest moral and hygienic grounds) denounced, smashed and driven off the market; yet you are not allowed to use any product that dissociates itself from the advertising ring. All this is understandable, since a big circulation spells bankruptcy if the paper has to depend on its sales for its revenue. Every newspaper lives in a perpetual precarious balance; it must increase its sales to justify its advertising rates, and to increase its sales, it must sell itself far below the cost of production; but if it sells more copies than its advertising will pay for, it faces financial disaster. Consequently, the more widespread and powerful the organ, the more closely it has to subserve vested interests.

Editorial- relating to the commissioning or preparing of material for publication

Advertisers- a person or company that advertises a product, service, or event

Circulation- the public availability or knowledge of something.

Vested- confer or bestow (power, authority, property, etc.) on someone.

Oppose- disagree with and attempt to prevent, especially by argument.

Lofty- rising to a great height

Denounced- publicly declare to be wrong or evil

Smashed- violently or badly broken or shattered

Dissociates- disconnect or separate

Bankruptcy- having no money at all

Revenue- income

Perpetual- constant, everlasting

Subserve- serve as a means in promoting 

Precarious- dangerous

The editorial policy of a daily newspaper was guided by two main factors. Firstly, it needed to take care of the interest of advertisers that helped provide the finances to carry the circulation of the newspaper at such a large scale. Hence, no widespread newspaper would support a public policy no matter how much it was in the benefit of the people because it may not be in sync with the interest laid down by the advertisers. Thus, any offer to control the promotion of a branded good (for example – margarine of 1939) would be violently disapproved on hygienic grounds by the dailies that promote branded advertising. Similarly, a product that disagreed to pay the extremely high advertising costs to a powerful daily, would be publicly declared as wrong and will be bashed by them on hygienic and moral grounds to the extent that it would disappear from the entire market. Hence, the public was not free to use any product that did not associate itself with the branding world. All of it can be justified by understanding that circulating on a large scale brought with it the horror of bankruptcy if the daily newspaper had to depend only on its sales as a primary source of revenue. Every newspaper lived forever in a dangerous balance- in order to justify the high advertising costs, it must increase its sales (to reach a larger proportion of the population) and to increase its sales, it must sell at a price below the production cost but if the sales exceed than what was being paid to it by the advertisers, there would be a ‘financial disaster’. As a result, the larger scale a newspaper worked on and the more powerful it became, the more it had to serve as a means in promoting the interests vested in them.

 

  1. This means that the cheap daily paper, which goes everywhere and has most influence, is far less free than the more expensive weekly or monthly, which draws a higher proportion of its revenue from sales. Therefore, it is only the comparatively rich who can afford to reward independent expressions of opinion.

We could conclude that the affordable and cheap daily newspaper that reached every household had a major impact. It was less free than the comparatively pricey weekly or monthly that earned more revenue from sales. Hence, only the rich population could afford to have access to free expression of opinion.

 

  1. The second chief source of a newspaper’s revenue is the wealth of the man or company that owns it; accordingly, its policy is largely determined by the personal spites and political ambitions of its proprietor. The failure, for example, of a great newspaper magnate to secure a government appointment may be the signal for the unleashing of a virulent campaign, in every organ which he controls, against the minister or the party which has disappointed his ambitions. The public, knowing nothing of the personal bias behind the attack and little of the vast network of control which ties up whole groups of the London and Provincial Press in the hands of a single man or combine, sees only that great number of (what appear to him to be) independent organs are united in a single, savage, and persistent condemnation. Unless he is exceptionally shrewd, exceptionally cynical, or of exceptionally resolute and independent mind, he can scarcely help being influenced, and having his vote influenced; and it is odds that he will never realise the nature of the pressure brought to bear upon him.

Spite- grudge

Ambitions- something a person hopes to do or achieve 

Proprietor- owner

Magnate- a wealthy and influential businessman or businesswoman

Unleashing- turn loose or free from restraint 

Virulent- venomous, spiteful

Bias- a tendency to prefer one person or thing to another, and to favor that person or thing

Savage- extremely cruel, violent and uncontrolled

Persistent- continuing to do something or to try to do something even though it is difficult or other people want you to stop

Condemnation- the expression of a very strong disapproval (criticism)

Exceptionally- to a greater degree than normal; unusually 

Shrewd- intelligent, cunning

Cynical- skeptical

Resolute- determined

Exceptionally- to a greater degree than normal; unusually

Scarcely- barely, hardly

The second chief factor that controlled a newspaper’s revenue was how deep were the pockets of the man or the company that owned it as they controlled the policies based on their personal and political motives. For example, if the owner of a big newspaper failed to get an appointment with any government official, they would attain the motive to start a revengeful campaign through every domain that came under him, against the minister or the party that had disappointed him. The public obviously knew nothing about the grudge behind these types of attacks and knowing little about the vast network of control that made up the whole groups of the London and Provincial Press being managed by one man or a group of some men could see only multiple independent bodies working together towards one continuous criticism. Unless the owner was unusually intelligent, distrustful, determined and had a great degree of control over his mind, he could hardly help being affected by these forces and having his vote affected. However, he would never become fully aware about the nature of the pressure that was upon him.

 

  1. But still more serious, because more subtle, than the control applied to individual papers by various kinds of interest is the control and censorship exercised by the Press upon the news and opinions which it disseminates. The control rests upon and exploits two basic assumptions about the public: (a) that they have not the wit to distinguish truth from falsehood; (b) that they do not care at all that a statement is false, provided it is titillating. Neither assumption is flattering; and indeed, between the language used privately by the late Lord Northcliffe about his British readers and the language used publicly by Hitler about his German readers there is very little to choose. Both assume that readers can be made to believe anything. The result is that accurate reporting ,which used to be the pride of the old-fashioned independent newspaper, has largely given place to reporting which is at best slipshod and at worst tendentious.

Subtle- not obvious and therefore, difficult to notice

Disseminates- spread

Exploits- make use of (a situation) in a way considered unfair or underhand

Wit- keen intelligence; cleverness

Falsehood- the state of being untrue

Flattering- pleasing or gratifying

Titillating- pleasantly stimulating

Lord Northcliffe, Alfred Charles William Harmshort (1865-1922)- British newspaper proprietor who acquired a chain of newspapers and founded the Daily Mail (1896) — the first cheap, popular English daily. Through this he influenced public opinion especially during the First World War

Slipshod- careless, casual

Tendentious- deliberately biased

Much more serious than the influence of outside factors to an individual paper, was the control of the Press itself upon the news that it spread as it was hard to notice. This control of information was based on two assumptions about the public – first, that the public was not smart enough to figure out the truth from the lies they spread and second, that the public did not care if a statement was false, if it aroused excitement. Both these assumptions about the public were least pleasing and between the language used privately by the late Lord Northcliffe about his British readers and the language used publicly by Hitler about his German readers there was hardly any option left to choose from. Both of these suggested that readers were fools that would believe anything they were told. Hence, as a result, independent newspapers who took pride in honest reporting during earlier days, were now being taken over by reporting which was casual, careless and deliberately biased.

 

  1. I should like to illustrate, with quite trivial examples drawn from personal experience, the various ways by which both fact and opinion can be distorted, so that a kind of smear of unreality is spread over the whole newspaper page, from reports of public affairs down to the most casual items of daily gossip.

Illustrate- serve as an example of

Trivial- of little value or importance

Distorted- giving a misleading or false account or impression, misrepresented

Smear- damage the reputation (of someone) by fake accusations

Unreality- the quality of being imaginary, illusory or unrealistic

The author offered to share, with a few insignificant instances of her personal experience, the ways with which facts and opinions were misrepresented in such a way that had the capacity to damage the reputation of someone through unrealistic accusations written on an entire newspaper page. This had been seen everywhere; from reports of public affairs to casual daily gossip.

 

  1. 1. Sensational Headlines; False Emphasis; and Suppression of Context. This year (1941), at the Malvern Conference, I read a paper dealing with the theological grounds for the Church’s concern with politics and sociology, with the complementary dangers of pietism and Caesarism, and with the importance of Incarnation doctrine in this connection. Out of 8000 words, some 250 dealt with the connection between Caesarism and an undue emphasis placed on sexual, as contrasted with financial, morality. This quite subsidiary paragraph was reported everywhere, under sensational headlines, in such a manner as to convey that this passing allusion formed the whole subject matter of my address. Out of the 8000 words about theology, the reporters picked the only one which they presumed their readers capable of understanding —to wit, ‘fornication’. You, the reader, will appreciate the compliment. I will, however, add for you comfort that this report was not made (as you might well suppose) by a Pressman from your favourite paper, specially selected for his understanding of ecclesiastical affairs. All the distorted reports emanated from a News Agency; and the individual editors, when remonstrated with, were for the most part content to disavow responsibility. This is how you learn what happens at public meetings.

Sensational- causing great public interest and excitement

Emphasis- special importance, value, or prominence given to something

Suppression- to put down by authority or force

Theological- relating to the study of the nature of God and religious belief

Complementary-  given or supplied free of charge

Pietism- The stressing of personal feelings rather than the dogma of intellectual truth

Caesarism- absolute dictatorship

Incarnation doctrine- the theory of the union of god and man in the person of Christ

Undue- excessive

Contrasted- compare in such a way as to emphasize differences

Allusion- indirect reference

To wit- that is to say; namely

Fornication- voluntary sexual relationship between an unmarried man and unmarried woman

Pressman- a journalist

Ecclesiastical- religious, related to the Christian church

Emanated- issue or spread out from (a source)

Remonstrated- to present and urge reasons in opposition 

Disavow- refuse to accept responsibility of

  1. Sensational Headlines; False Emphasis; and Suppression of Context. The author talked about the year 1941, when at the Malvern Conference she read a research paper talking out the theological aspect of Church’s issue with politics and sociology, and the disadvantages of pietism and Caesarism that comes with it, in connection with the ‘Incarnation doctrine’. The paper was of around 8000 words out of which 250 explained the link between Caesarism and an excessive emphasis was laid on sexual as compared to financial and morality. This less-important paragraph gained so much attention and was reported everywhere under catchy headlines and was conveyed in a way that this indirect reference became the center of attraction of her address. The reporters chose only those words out of the 8000 total words that they found to be understandable by their readers, that was to say, adultery. As a reader, one would appreciate this but the author added to this comfort by adding that the report was not prepared by a journalist from a famous newspaper that had been specially chosen for his understanding of religious matters, relating to the Christian church. All these misrepresented reports originated from a News Agency and when the independent editors faced protest, they were entirely satisfied in not taking upon themselves any responsibility. This was how one learned what really happened at public meetings.

 

  1. 2. Garbling. This is the special accomplishment of the Press interviewer. During the production of my latest play, I was asked, “What were my plans for the future?” I replied that I never made plans; that I preferred writing plays to novels, though novels paid better; and that, financial considerations notwithstanding, if the opportunity to write a play were to present itself – for example, another commission for the Canterbury Festival – I should undoubtedly write it. This reply duly appeared in the Press, in the form: ‘Miss Sayers said she would write no more plays, except on commission’.

Garbling- giving a confused version of

Notwithstanding- in spite of

Canterbury Festival- a festival of plays held at Canterbury, a city in Kent, England

Garbling. This was an account of a great achievement of the Press interviewer. At the time of production of the author’s latest play, she was asked about her plans for the future to which she replied that she never made any plans. She expressed that she liked writing plays over novels even though novels attracted more money and in spite of the financial factor, if she was faced with an opportunity to write a play like another commission for the Canterbury Festival, she would write it without thinking twice. This reply of hers was published in a manner suggesting that she would not write anymore plays except in situations where she was being paid a commission.

 

  1. Bland perversions of this kind, together with the interviewer’s playful habit of making statements himself and attributing them to his victim make reported interviews singularly unreliable reading. One must allow for the Pressman’s vivid imagination. I remember reading with interest that my eyes ‘glittered behind my glasses’ when making some remark or other, since that particular interview was given by telephone, I could only conclude that the interviewer’s own eyes must have been ‘double magnifying glass microscope of extra power’. But the last, best word on Press interviews has been written by ‘Q’ in “From a Cornish Window’ ; those who believe that public characters say everything they are reported as saying should read it and take warning.

Bland perversions- outright and deliberate distortions

Attributing- regard something as being caused by

Vivid- producing a clear or strong impression on the senses

 ‘Q’: pen name of Sir Arthur Quiller Couch (1863-1944), an English poet and author of repute

Outright and deliberate distortions of this sort combined with the interviewer’s habit of being playful and drafting the statements on their own and crediting them to their victim has resulted in reported interviews being untrustworthy and irresponsible. There should always be some scope for the journalist’s creative imagination. The author recalled reading with full interest how her eyes ‘glittered behind her glasses’ while saying something but since it was a telephonic interview, the author assumed that the interviewer’s eyes must have had the power of double magnifying glass. At last, she talked about the best Press interview which was written by Sir Arthur Quiller Couch in “From a Cornish Window”. It said that those who believed a public character was saying all that they are reported to be saying, should not think otherwise and consider it a warning. 

 

  1. 3. Inaccurate Reporting of Facts. Some time ago a daily paper reported that my flat had been broken into the previous day, and that I had returned from (I think they said) Oxford, in time to disturb the thieves. This was true enough, except that every detail was wrong. The date was three days earlier than alleged, I was not at Oxford but at the King’s Garden Party, and the intruders had been disturbed, not by me, but most likely by the newspaper boy. The interest here lies in the probable reason for the mis-statements. The date had to be changed to conceal the fact that the news was already ‘cold’; and I was substituted for the boy, presumably for my greater snob-value. The altered date was a bad blunder — Buckingham Palace would have adorned the tale to so much better advantage.

Oxford- the main town of Oxfordshire, England, the seat of Oxford University

Alleged- said, without proof, to have taken place or to have a specified illegal or undesirable quality.

King’s Garden Party- a social gathering at the lawns of Buckingham Palace, with the ruling British Crown as host /hostess where social celebrities are invited

Intruders- a person who intrudes, especially into a building with criminal intent. 

Probable- likely to happen or be the case.

Mis-statements- an incorrect statement, or giving of false information

Conceal- prevent (something) from being known; keep secret

Snob- value- value attached to something for its power to indicate supposed social superiority.

Altered- changed

Blunder- a stupid or careless mistake

Adorned- make more beautiful or attractive

Buckingham Palace- The London home of the British sovereign constructed by Nash (1821-36) and partly designed early in the 20th century

She further shared an account of inaccurate reporting of facts. A while ago, a daily reported that her flat had been robbed one day before, when she had come home from Oxford (as far as she remembers reading what was written) just in time to interrupt the thievery. The news about robbery was true but each specification that was reported, was incorrect. It happened not a day prior, but three days before what was mentioned. Besides, she was not at Oxford but at King’s Garden party and the robbers were interrupted too, just not by her but by the boy who distributes newspapers. Now, the highlight was the reason behind reporting false information – the date had to be changed to hide the fact that it was old news and the boy was replaced by the author probably because of her social superiority and popularity. The changed date however, was a careless mistake because Buckingham Palace would have admired the story in a much better way. 

 

  1. 4. Plain Reversal of the Facts. On a summons for unshaded lights, a letter of mine was read to the Bench explaining that my servant had carefully drawn the curtains, but that there had proved, unfortunately, to be a defect in the curtains themselves. The local paper duly reported: ‘Miss Sayers said that a servant had forgotten to draw the curtains.’ (This was calculated to cause pain and distress to my servant — but why should anybody care?) 

Summons- an order to appear before a judge or magistrate, or the writ containing such an order.

Unshaded- not having a shade or cover 

Distress- extreme anxiety

Another account that she shared highlights the clear turn-around of Facts. When summoned for unshaded lights, a letter that the author wrote was read in front of the bench clarifying that her servant had drawn the curtains but there proved to be a fault in the curtains. But the daily reported it by mentioning that it was the servant who did not remember to draw the curtains. This was probably an attempt to cause extreme suffering and anxiety to the servant but the author was unsure as to why anyone should care about the same. 

 

  1. 5. Random and Gratuitous Invention. Without consulting me at all, a small and gossipy paper recently informed its readers that two of my favourite hobbies were ‘gardening and keeping cats’. I do not see why anybody should want to know my hobbies — but if they do it, it would surely be better to mention the right ones. This choice was peculiarly unfortunate. If there is anything I detest , it is gardening; and although my household always includes a necessary cat, which lives in the kitchen and is supposed to catch mice, I have little to do with it, except to remove it and its hairs from the chairs and cushions, and open the door for it from time to time under protest. Shortage of domestic staff has since constrained me to live on more intimate terms with the cat. But if he is a ‘hobby’, then so are the ‘handyman’ and the ‘daily woman’.

Gratuitous- intentional

Consulting- seek information or advice from

Detest- hate, despise

Peculiarly- in an unusual way

Detest- dislike intensely

Handyman- a person able or employed to do occasional domestic repairs and minor renovations

Daily woman- female who performs housework

Next was the instance where a random but intentional assumption had been invented regarding the author. Without discussing it through, a small and gossipy paper reported that the author’s two most favorite hobbies were gardening and keeping cats. She was unsure about why the readers would be interested in knowing her hobbies but for that matter, if anyone was interested, they deserve to know her real hobbies. This choice of hobbies was very unusually inappropriate because if there was anything she hated, it’s gardening. Also, even though her house always has a cat in the kitchen, it was supposed to keep mice away. She rarely took its care apart from removing its hair from everywhere- chairs and cushions, or letting it out after some intervals under protest. It was due to the shortage of house help that she had to maintain a close relation with the cat but if that made it her hobby, then the handyman and the daily woman could be called her hobby too. 

 

  1. 6. Deliberate Miracle-mongering. It was recently reported in various local papers that, in a public address, I had delivered some 20,000 words in the space of an hour and a quarter. This would in any case have been impossible. Actually, the reporter had the full text of my speech in his hands, and could have seen for himself that it consisted of almost exactly 8000 words. The error was thus precisely 150 percent, a useful figure on which to base one’s estimate of truth in reporting.

Deliberate- done consciously and intentionally

Miracle-mongering- intentional spreading of stories, outstanding achievement etc.

An instance of intentional spreading of stories that the author shared about the time when a local daily reported that she had delivered a 20,000 words’ speech during a public address in about an hour and 15 minutes. It was such impossible reporting because the reporter had the entire script in his hands and it was somewhere around 8000 words. To be accurate, it was an error of 150 percent which was significant enough to know if one’s reporting should be trusted.

 

  1. Of these six forms of misrepresentation, the first two are the most dangerous. There is no remedy against them. They do not come within the narrow range of the law of libel; for to misrepresent a man’s attitude and opinions is no offence. Nor could one readily persuade a jury that a lie had been told about one, since a sort of formal veracity in detail is used to convey a totally false impression of the speaker’s words as a whole. Consequently, it is next door to impossible to secure either correction or apology. Which brings us to:

Libel- defamation, false or insulting statement

Veracity- habitual truthfulness

Out of these six forms of misrepresentation, the first two ones are the worst, according to the author as there was no way to rectify these. They could not be classified under the little scope of law of libel as misstating someone’s nature or statement can not be called an offense. This can also not be proved in the court of law that a lie has been told about a particular person because a series of truths told in detail portray an incorrect impression of the speaker’s words. Hence, it was not at all possible to get either an amendment or an apology for these. This leads us to the following-

 

  1. Flat Suppression: letters of protest may be written. These may be (a) ignored; (b) printed in full or in part, accompanied by an editorial comment to the effect that the words reported were actually said, and that the speaker must not expect to monopolise the whole of the paper’s valuable space; (c) answered privately by the editor — a manoeuvre that does nothing to correct the false impression left in the public mind. Only occasionally, and usually from a provincial paper, does one receive full apology and correction. Let me quote, honoris causa, a note written to me from an editor of the older school: ‘Thank you for your letter, which we thought it our duty to print … we try to preserve our reputation for balanced news.’ Here are three old-fashioned words, duty, reputation, balanced: do they still represent what the reader demands, or expects, from Fleet Street? 

Monopolize- have or take the greatest share of

Provincial- belonging to a province

Manoeuvre- carefully guide or manipulate (someone or something) in order to achieve an end 

Honoris causa- intended to do honour

Fleet street- a street in Central London where most British newspapers have their offices 

Flat Suppression: one may write letters expressing disapproval or objection but they might either be ignored completely or published in part or full, with a comment saying that the words published earlier were actually spoken and that the speaker must not take the majority of the paper’s crucial space. There is also a chance that the letter would get answered privately by the editor. It can be called a very clever scheme that does absolutely nothing to make amends regarding the person’s reputation in the public. It is very rare to receive a full apology and correction from a local newspaper. The author quotes a letter of apology that was intended to her by an old-school editor. It begins by saying thank you to the author for writing the letter which is their ‘duty’ to print as they strive to attain balance in the news in order to maintain their good name. The author throws light upon three meaningful words drawn out of the letter – duty, reputation and balanced. She wondered if they still print what the reader from Fleet Street expects to read.

 

  1. To get misleading statements corrected entails, in any case, a heavy and exhausting effort of correspondence — for the falsehood may be syndicated all over the worlds over-night and appear simultaneously in several hundred papers. In addition, if one makes a fuss, or ventures to accuse the newspapers of lack of veracity, there always lurks in the background the shadow of genteel blackmail. Any public person — writer, speaker, actor, politician – is subtly made to feel that if he offends the Press he will suffer for it.

Entails- to make something necessary

Correspondence- communication by means of letters or email

Syndicated- expressed, collectively circulated

Fuss- the condition of being annoyed or not satisfied about something

Ventures- a risky or daring journey or undertaking

Accuse- charge (someone) with an offence or crime 

Lurks- be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something

Genteel- characterized by exaggerated or affected politeness, refinement, or respectability.

To get the misstatements corrected, it requires a lot of repeated and tiring efforts in communication whereas on the other hand, the fake news takes over the world as fast as overnight and happens to appear in hundreds of newspapers. Moreover, if someone creates a scene or goes out on the risky journey of blaming the newspaper for showing lack of truthfulness on multiple occasions, one can always expect to get politely blackmailed by them. Every public figure – from writer to politician, would be politely made aware of the fact that if they displease the Press, they would suffer for it.

 

  1. No threat, of course, is openly uttered; but books and plays may be unfavourably noticed or silently ignored — allusions sneering, though not actually libellous, may crop up in the gossip columns — a thousand hints will be quietly conveyed that the Press can make or break reputations. Books which venture to criticise the Press are, therefore, rare; nor is it easy to find a paper honest enough to print an article on the subject.

Allusions- an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference 

Sneering- mocking

Libellous- defamatory 

A threat is never openly made but a book or a play can always be ignored or highlighted in a manner which may prove to be unfavorable. Mocking implications can be made, even though not directly defamatory, but they can always get some space in the gossip column meanwhile dropping multiple hints that the Press can ‘make or break reputations’. It is very difficult to find a book that comes out to criticize the Press and it is also not easy to find a paper that is honest enough to publish on such a subject.

 

  1. Speeches may be made, of course, but they will not reach the wider public, for they will not be reported in full; only a carefully isolated sentence or so will fund its way into the papers under some such headline as: ‘Bishop Seeks to Muzzle Press’, or ‘M.P. Attacks Press Liberty’. Indeed, the slightest effort to hinder the irresponsible dissemination of nonsense is greeted by a concerted howl: ‘This is a threat to the Freedom of the Press!’

Dissemination- the action or fact of spreading something, especially information, widely

Concerted- concentrated, combined

Howl- make a long, loud cry sound

It was obvious that speeches are made on the subject but they do not reach the ears of the general public as they would never be published in entirety; a very careful part was extracted that makes its way to the newspapers and was probably printed under the headlines ‘Bishop Seeks to Muzzle Press’ or ‘M.P. Attacks Press Liberty’. Even the smallest attempt to interfere in the irresponsible spreading of nonsense was welcomed by a loud cry which was alarmingly considered as a threat to the Freedom of Press.

 

  1. No wonder that within three days lately the Archbishop of York and a Minister of the Crown were heard to utter the same despairing cry in face of journalistic misrepresentation and indiscretion: ‘We cannot control the Press!’

Despairing- showing the loss of all hope

Indiscretion- behaviour or speech that is indiscreet or displays a lack of good judgement

This was the reason why the Archbishop of York and a minister of the Crown lost all hope within three days and had only one thing to say about the recklessness of misstatements being reported, which was simply, that they can not control the Press.

 

  1. The particular examples I have given are, you will say, of very small importance. True: That is what makes them so symptomatic and so disquieting. They do not show any direct wresting of the truth towards a propagandist end – against such attempts the reader may, with a little mental effort, efficiently arm himself. What they do clearly show is an all-pervading carelessness about veracity, penetrating every column, creeping into the most trifling item of news, smudging and blurring the boundary lines between fact and fancy, creating a general atmosphere of cynicism and mistrust. 

Symptomatic- suggestive, indicative

Disquieting- inducing feelings of anxiety or worry

Wresting- forcibly pull (something) from a person’s grasp (snatch; grab)

Propagandist- a person who tries to persuade people to support a particular idea or group, often by giving inaccurate information

All-pervading- occurring or having an effect through or into every part of something.

Trifling- unimportant or trivial

Smudging- make blurred or indistinct

Blurring- make or become unclear or less distinct

Cynicism- an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; skepticism

Mistrust- be suspicious of; have no confidence in 

The author specified that the examples she has shared might look as small and insignificant to the readers but in reality, these are the instances that highlight the actuality of the situation and that is worrisome. These examples show that one cannot grab the actual truth from a person looking forward to persuading people with inaccurate information because the reader simply uses the least mental effort and believes what they are told. What actually happened was, there was total carelessness about being truthful continuously which was entering every column of the newspaper – even into the most unimportant piece of news thereby removing any distinction between the actual truth and what appears to be fancy. All it did was promote cynicism and mistrust.

 

  1. He that is unfaithful in little is unfaithful also in much; if a common court case cannot be correctly reported, how are we to believe the reports of world events? If an interviewer misinterprets the novelist whom we have all seen, what does he do with the foreign statesman whom we have never seen? If the papers can be convicted of False Emphasis, Garbling, Inaccuracy, Reversal of the Fact, Random Invention, Miracle-Mongering, and Flat Suppression in cases where such distortions are of advantage to nobody, what are we to suppose about those cases in which vested interests are closely connected? And, above all, what are we to make of the assumptions on which all this is based — that the reader is too stupid to detect falsehood and too frivolous to even resent it?

Frivolous- (of a person) carefree and superficial

Resent- feel bitterness or indignation at (a circumstance, action, or person)

A person who was being unreliable but only with little details, can not be relied upon for bigger stuff because if one is not reporting the details of a common court case correctly, how are they to be trusted with the reporting of actual world events. If a reporter can misquote the novelist that the audience is entirely familiar with, how can they be trusted with their words about a foreign statesperson that we know nothing about. If the newspapers are actually accused of False Emphasis, Garbling, Inaccuracy, Reversal of the Fact, Random Invention, Miracle-Mongering, and Flat Suppression especially in situations where the misstatements do not benefit anyone, how can they be trusted with cases where personal interests of owners and stakeholders are involved. Above all, the author mentioned that we are no one to figure out what these assumptions are based on when the readers themselves are stupid enough to be able to identify false information and silly enough to be able to hold a grudge against it.

 

  1. Decent journalists do not like the present state of affairs. Nor do the more responsible editors. But the number of editors and journalists who can maintain a high standard of ‘duty, balance, and reputation’ in the face of pressure grows less day by day. It is difficult for any paper that presents its news soberly to maintain its circulation; perhaps it is true that every nation gets the Press it deserves.

Decent journalists and responsible editors are not pleased with this current scenario but this pressure of today is reducing the number of editors and reporters who have been able to maintain a decent amount of ‘duty, balance and reputation’. Newspapers that report facts and unadulterated news find it very hard to remain in circulation and one can say it’s true that every nation gets the Press it deserves.  

 

  1. But supposing the reader does care about accuracy, does he resent contempt for his intelligence, does he want the truth what is said and done — what steps is he to take? How is he to get at the facts which are withheld; or smothered under these mountains of distortion and absurdity? How is he to make his will felt? Is he to write angry letters, or transfer his daily penny from one organ to another? Will anybody care if he does? They will care if he protests in sufficient numbers. But his penny is a small weapon to oppose against the vested interests and the pooled money of the great combines. His helplessness is a measure of the freedom which the Press enjoys — but is the reader free?

Contempt- disregard for something that should be considered

Withheld- suppress or hold back (an emotion or reaction)

Smothered- covered completely

Absurdity- the quality or state of being ridiculous or wildly unreasonable

Even if we assume that readers do care about having access to correct information, then the question arises why they do not feel bitter about the disregard that is being done to their intelligence. If they were to have access to truthful information, what can they really do? How is a reader supposed to get the facts that are being kept from him or are actually presented after a lot of editing and are made unreasonable? How can a reader be made to fight for this? Would he be required to write angry letters or transfer his hard earned money from one organ to another and would anyone care if it happens? If only the readers come together to protest in great numbers, they would notice. But the problem is the monetary investments of the readers would any day fall short in front of the huge pools of money invested by the great group whose interest is associated with the paper. Hence, the reader’s helplessness is a measure of how much freedom the Press enjoys. But the question is – is the reader free?

 

  1. The common has a vote in Parliament. He has a Parliamentary representative whom he can badger and heckle and whose tenure of office rests upon his consent. If he likes to make use of the machinery of a democracy, he can have questions asked in the house; in the last resort, he can destroy one government and make another. But there is no machinery by which he can control the organs which mould opinion. For that, his sole resource is a penny a day and this native wit and will. In time of crisis, the newspapers are first with the cry: ‘Let the people know the facts!’ But perhaps Fact is a deity invoked by the people only in the last emergency when the easy gods of peace have failed them. 

Badger- making unclear

Heckle- harass

Invoked- appealed 

The common people only have a vote in the Parliament to elect the representative that they can go after because it is the common people who decide how long he would stay in power. If he is fond of making the most of a democracy, he can get questions asked in the Parliament and if nothing else, it can create its own government as a last option. However, there would still be no means to have the power to control the bodies that can shape opinions i.e., the Press. To make a difference in that domain, the only useful resource is a penny a day, his intelligence and strong determination. The newspapers are the first to make noise with their slogans in times of crisis – ‘Let the people know the facts!’ but what actually a fact is a divine that is called by the people only at times of emergency when the easy life of peace is distorted
 
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How Free is the Press Question Answers

 

Exercises

 

B.1.1. Read the following sentences and write ‘T’ for true and ‘F’ for false statements:

  1. Press is free everywhere.
  2. There is no internal censorship on the press.

iii. Proprietors have their personal interests as well.

  1. Advertisers contribute to the revenue of the newspaper. 

 

Answer-

  1. Press is free everywhere.– False
  2. There is no internal censorship on the press.– False

iii. Proprietors have their personal interests as well.– True

  1. Advertisers contribute to the revenue of the newspaper.– True

 

B.1. 2. Answer the following questions briefly

1) What do free ‘people’ take for granted?

Answer-

Free ‘people’ take for granted the fact that without a free Press, there can be no freedom.

 

2) Are there restrictions on Press in time of war?

Answer-

Yes, there are restrictions on Pess in times of war. At such times all liberties have to be restricted.

 

3) What do you mean by the term ‘free press’?

Answer-

Free Press refers to the rights of newspapers, magazines, etc., to report news without being controlled by the government

 

4) Who is the master — the state or the people?

Answer-

The State is not the master but the servant of the people.

 

5) What does the unofficial censorship seek to do ?

Answer-

Unofficial censorship by the Press exists not so much to express opinion but to manufacture it.

 

6) Name two sources of revenue newspapers usually survive on. 

Answer-

Two main sources of revenue that a newspaper usually survives on is-

  1. The advertisers
  2. The wealth of the company or the man that owns the paper

 

B.2.1. Complete the following sentences on the basis of the unit you have just studied:

  1. a) Accurate reporting has given place to reporting which is at best slipshod and at worst tendentious because it is assumed that ………………
  2. b) Sensational headlines, false emphasis and supposition of context are some of the ways to   ………………..
  3. c) ………………… is the special accomplishment of the Press interviewer. 
  4. d) The date in the newspaper report had to be changed to  …………………………………

 

Answer-

  1. a) Accurate reporting has given place to reporting which is at best slipshod and at worst tendentious because it is assumed that public does not have the wit to distinguish between the truth and falsehood, secondly the public does not care if a statement is false provided it is titillating and both of these statements mean that the public can be made to believe anything.
  2. b) Sensational headlines, false emphasis and supposition of context are some of the ways to distort both fact and opinion.
  3. c) Garbling is the special accomplishment of the Press interviewer. 
  4. d) The date in the newspaper report had to be changed to conceal the fact that the news was already ‘cold’.

 

B.2. 3. Answer the following questions briefly :

  1. What are the two basic assumptions about the public?

Answer-

There are two basic assumptions about the public-

  1. a) that they have not the wit to distinguish truth from falsehood; 
  2. b) that they do not care at all that a statement is false, provided it is titillating. 

Neither assumption is flattering

 

  1. What is supposition of context?

Answer-

Supposition of context refers to extracting a subsidiary paragraph from a whole piece of writing and reporting it everywhere, under sensational headlines, in such a manner as to convey that this passing allusion formed the whole subject matter of the address. For example, Out of the 8000 words about theology in the author’s speech, the reporters picked the only one which they presumed their readers capable of understanding —to wit, ‘fornication’. 

  1. Name two things that make the reports unreliable reading? 

Answer-

Bland perversions together with the interviewer’s playful habit of making statements himself and attributing them to his victim make reported interviews singularly unreliable reading

 

B.3.1. Read the following sentences and write ‘T’ for true and ‘F’ for false statements:

  1. The author was very fond of gardening and keeping cats.
  2. The author had delivered 20,000 words in the space of an hour and a quarter.

iii. To misrepresent a man’s attitude and opinion is no offence.

  1. To get misleading statements corrected is very easy.
  2. Any public person is subtly made to feel that if he offends the press he will suffer for it.
  3. The press can make or break reputation.

 

Answer-

  1. The author was very fond of gardening and keeping cats.-False
  2. The author had delivered 20,000 words in the space of an hour and a quarter.-False

iii. To misrepresent a man’s attitude and opinion is no offence.-True

  1. To get misleading statements corrected is very easy.-False
  2. Any public person is subtly made to feel that if he offends the press he will suffer for it.-True
  3. The press can make or break reputation.-True

 

B.3.2. Answer the following questions briefly : 

1) Why do books rarely criticise the Press?

Answer-

Books rarely criticize the Press because books which venture to do so are rare it is not easy to find a paper honest enough to print an article on the subject

 

2) How do the newspapers greet the slightest effort to hinder the irresponsible dissemination of nonsense?

Answer-

The slightest effort to hinder the irresponsible dissemination of nonsense is greeted by a concerted howl: ‘This is a threat to the Freedom of Press’.

 

3) Name the seven charges the author makes against the Press? 

Answer-

The seven charges the author makes against the Press are False Emphasis, Garbling, Inaccuracy, Reversal of the Fact, Random Invention, Miracle-Mongering, and Flat Suppression.

 
C. 1. Long Answer Questions
 

  1. The editorial policy of a popular daily is controlled by two chief factors. Which are they? Explain

Answer-

The editorial policy of a daily newspaper is guided by two main factors. Firstly, it needs to take care of the interest of advertisers that help provide the finances to carry the circulation of the newspaper at such a large scale. Hence, no widespread newspaper will support a public policy no matter how much it is in the benefit of the people because it may not be in sync with the interest laid down by the advertisers. Thus, any offer to control the promotion of a branded good (for example – margarine of 1939) will be violently disapproved on hygienic grounds by the dailies that promote branded advertising. Similarly, a product that disagrees to pay the extremely high advertising costs to a powerful daily, will be publicly declared as wrong and will be bashed by them on hygienic and moral grounds to the extent that it will disappear from the entire market. Hence, the public is not free to use any product that does not associate itself with the branding world. All of it can be justified by understanding that circulating on a large scale brings with it the horror of bankruptcy if the daily newspaper has to depend only on its sales as a primary source of revenue. 

The second chief factor that controls a newspaper’s revenue is how deep are the pockets of the man or the company that owns it as they control the policies based on their personal and political motives. For example, if the owner of a big newspaper fails to get an appointment with any government official, they will attain the motive to start a revengeful campaign through every domain that comes under him, against the minister or the party that has disappointed him. The public obviously knows nothing about the grudge behind these types of attacks. 

 

  1. What is garbling? How does Sayers illustrate this form of distortion?

Answer-

Garbling refers to giving a confused version of a story. Sayers illustrated this form of distortion with a personal example – a special accomplishment of the Press interviewer. At the time of production of the author’s latest play, she was asked about her plans for the future to which she replied that she never made any plans. She expressed that she liked writing plays over novels even though novels attracted more money and in spite of the financial factor, if she was faced with an opportunity to write a play like, another commission for the Canterbury Festival, she would write it without thinking twice. This reply of hers was published in a manner suggesting that she would not write anymore plays except in situations where she is being paid a commission.

Outright and deliberate distortions of this sort combined with the interviewer’s habit of being playful and drafting the statements on their own and crediting them to their victim has resulted in reported interviews being untrustworthy and irresponsible. There should always be some scope for the journalist’s creative imagination. The author recalls reading with full interest how her eyes ‘glittered behind her glasses’ while saying something but since it was a telephonic interview, the author assumed that the interviewer’s eyes must have had the power of double magnifying glass. 

 

  1. Describe in your own words the instances of deliberate miracle-mongering.

Answer-

Deliberate miracle-mongering refers to intentional spreading of stories, outstanding achievement etc. An instance of miracle-mongering that the author shared about the time when a local daily reported that she had delivered a 20,000 words’ speech during a public address in about an hour and 15 minutes. It is such impossible reporting because the reporter had the entire script in his hands and it was somewhere around 8000 words. To be accurate, it was an error of 150 percent which is significant enough to know if one’s reporting should be trusted.

 

  1. How are letters of protest treated by the newspapers? Describe in your own words.

Answer-

Letters of protest may be written to the newspapers expressing disapproval or objection but they might either be ignored completely or published in part or full, with a comment saying that the words published earlier were actually spoken and that the speaker must not take the majority of the paper’s crucial space. There is also a chance that the letter is answered privately by the editor. It can be called a very clever scheme that does absolutely nothing to make amends regarding the person’s reputation in the public. It is very rare to receive a full apology and correction from a local newspaper. The author quotes a letter of apology that is intended to her by an old-school editor. It begins by saying thank you to the author for writing the letter which is their ‘duty’ to print as they strive to attain balance in the news in order to maintain their good name. The author throws light upon three meaningful words drawn out of the letter – duty, reputation and balanced. 

 

  1. Have you ever written a letter of protest to any newspaper? What was the fate of this letter?

Answer-

No, I have never written a letter of protest to any newspaper. However, if anyone was to write one, it may be (a) ignored; (b) printed in full or in part, accompanied by an editorial comment to the effect that the words reported were actually said, and that the speaker must not expect to monopolise the whole of the paper’s valuable space; (c) answered privately by the editor — a manoeuvre that does nothing to correct the false impression left in the public mind. Only occasionally, and usually from a provincial paper, does one receive full apology and correction

 

  1. ‘He that is unfaithful in little is unfaithful also in much.’ How does Dorothy L. Sayers cite trivial personal examples to prove that the newspapers misrepresent in various ways? Do you agree with her?

Answer-

‘He that is unfaithful in little is unfaithful also in much’ Dorothy L. Sayers cite trivial personal examples in support of this statement. According to her, if a common court case cannot be correctly reported, how are we to believe the reports of world events? If an interviewer misinterprets the novelist whom we have all seen, what does he do with the foreign statesman whom we have never seen? If the papers can be convicted of False Emphasis, Garbling, Inaccuracy, Reversal of the Fact, Random Invention, Miracle-Mongering, and Flat Suppression in cases where such distortions are of advantage to nobody, what are we to suppose about those cases in which vested interests are closely connected? And, above all, what are we to make of the assumptions on which all this is based — that the reader is too stupid to detect falsehood and too frivolous to even resent it?

Yes, I agree with her entirely. Decent journalists and responsible editors are not pleased with this current scenario but this pressure of today is reducing the number of editors and reporters who have been able to maintain a decent amount of ‘duty, balance and reputation’. 

 

  1. What is the author’s attitude to the freedom of Press? Do you agree with her?

Answer-

Without a free Press there can be no free people is a thing that all free people take for granted. The author explains how we limit the meaning of ‘the freedom of press’ in a sense that only highlights independence from government’s control and direction. In this particular aspect, the British Press is supposedly free because it can openly bring to light the immoral behavior and injustice of the servants of the state, with total freedom. However, every newspaper is chained up by its absolute rulers and like every cruel Servant, it possesses the power to fully control the minds and views of its readers and the general public. Hence, we may conclude that the freedom of public opinion is not largely limited by the government, but by the ‘unofficial censorship’ by the Press itself that does not simply share the opinion, but declares it. Even the smallest attempt to interfere in the irresponsible spreading of nonsense is welcomed by a loud cry and is alarmingly considered as a threat to the Freedom of Press. Even the ministers or famous personalities know that they can not interfere or control the Press.

Yes, I agree with her because she has explained with multiple instances that the Press can make or break someone’s reputation.

 

  1. ‘Indeed, we may say that the heaviest restriction upon the freedom of public opinion is not the official censorship of the Press, but the unofficial censorship by a Press which exists not so much to express opinion as to manufacture it.’ How does the writer view the relationship between the press and the public opinion? Explain. 

Answer-

 ‘Indeed, we may say that the heaviest restriction upon the freedom of public opinion is not the official censorship of the Press, but the unofficial censorship by a Press which exists not so much to express opinion as to manufacture it.’

Every newspaper is chained up by its absolute rulers and like every cruel Servant, it possesses the power to fully control the minds and views of its readers and the general public. The editorial policy of a daily newspaper is guided by two main factors. Firstly, it needs to take care of the interest of advertisers that help provide the finances to carry the circulation of the newspaper at such a large scale. Hence, no widespread newspaper will support a public policy no matter how much it is in the benefit of the people because it may not be in sync with the interest laid down by the advertisers. 

The second chief factor that controls a newspaper’s revenue is how deep are the pockets of the man or the company that owns it as they control the policies based on their personal and political motives. For example, if the owner of a big newspaper fails to get an appointment with any government official, they will attain the motive to start a revengeful campaign through every domain that comes under him, against the minister or the party that has disappointed him. The public obviously knows nothing about the grudge behind these types of attacks. 

 

But still more serious, because more subtle, than the control applied to individual papers by various kinds of interest is the control and censorship exercised by the Press upon the news and opinions which it spreads. The control rests upon and exploits two basic assumptions about the public: (a) that they have not the wit to distinguish truth from falsehood; (b) that they do not care at all that a statement is false, provided it is titillating. 

 
C. 3. COMPOSITION
 

  1. Write a letter to the Editor of an English daily highlighting the poor sanitation in your locality.

Answer-

 

XYZ Street

 

September 27, 2022

 

The Editor

Bihar Times

Patna

 

Subject- Complaining about poor sanitation in my locality

 

Sir/Madam,

Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper, I would like to bring the attention of the concerned authorities towards the grave issue of poor sanitation in my locality.

 

It brings me immense pain to tell you that despite multiple complaints, the sewers in our area still remain uncovered inviting heaps of mosquitoes over them, exposing the residents to a lot of health issues. I can not even begin to talk about the foul smell it causes. Just like every other locality, children go outdoors to play and they are at a high risk of falling in them. It was only last week that the vegetable vendor’s cart tyre got stuck in one such open sewer. 

Sir, we can not wait for any other disaster to happen before the authorities take any action. Because one thing is clear, this poor sanitation is sure to cause epidemics if sufficient measures are not taken in time to curb it.

 

Yours faithfully,

Poonam

 

  1. Write the summary of the lesson in about 150 words

Answer-

The essay begins by bringing to light how freedom of press is taken lightly by everyone despite the fact that freedom of people can not exist without it. We often think of ‘the freedom of press’ in a sense that only highlights independence from government’s control. But the editorial policy of a daily newspaper is guided by two main factors- advertisers and the man or the company that owns it. The information is controlled more by the Press itself as compared to the outside factors. It is based on two assumptions about the public – first, that the public is not smart enough to figure out the truth from the lies and second, that the public does not care if a statement is false, if it arouses excitement. 

If the newspapers are actually accused of False Emphasis, Garbling, Inaccuracy, Reversal of the Fact, Random Invention, Miracle-Mongering, and Flat Suppression especially in situations where the misstatements do not benefit anyone, how can they be trusted with cases where personal interests of owners are involved. The newspapers are the first to make noise with their slogans in times of crisis – ‘Let the people know the facts!’ but what is actually a fact is a divine that is called by the people only at times of emergency when the easy life of peace is distorted.

 
D. WORD STUDY

D.1. Dictionary Use 

 

Ex. 1. Correct the spelling of the following words:

 

srewdpropriter precarius
restricsiondisastrusbankrupcy
insitecensorsip titilating

 

Answer-

 

Srewd- shrewdPropriter- proprietor  Precarius- precarious
Restricsion- restrictionDisastrus- disastrousBankrupcy- bankruptcy
Insite- insightCensorsip- censorship Titilating- titillating

 

Ex. 2. Look up a dictionary and write two meanings of the following words — the one in which it is used in the lesson and the other which is more common

   

denouncedresoluteprecarious gratuitous
disseminationcynical withheld 

 

Answer-

Denounced 

As per lesson- publicly declare to be wrong or evil

Other meaning- accused

 

Resolute

As per lesson- admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering

Other meaning- determined

 

Precarious

As per lesson- dangerous

Other meaning- liable to failure

 

Gratuitous

As per lesson- intentional

Other meaning- unjustified

 

Dissemination

As per lesson- spreading

Other meaning- distribution

 

Cynical 

As per lesson- skeptical

Other meaning- sarcastic

 

Withheld- 

As per lesson- keep back

Other meaning- restrain

 

D.2. Word-formation

Read the following sentences carefully:

  1. a) A common case cannot be correctly reported.
  2. b) It must increase its sale to justify its advertising rates.
  3. c) When we speak of ‘the freedom of the press, we usually mean freedom in a very technical and restricted sense – namely, freedom from direction or censorship by the government.

 

You see that in the first example the adverb ‘correctly’ is derived from the adjective ‘correct’. In the second example ‘advertising’ which is a present participle, is derived from the verb ‘advertise’. In the last example, ‘censorship’ has been derived from the noun ‘censor’. In fact. a number of words can be derived from a root word as illustrated below:

 

accept (v):accepted (adj),acceptance (n),
acceptable (adj), acceptably (adv)  acceptability (n)

 

Make as many words as possible from the words given below :

 

resolveallude  invoke restrict  renew

 

Answer-

Resolve- resolved, resolving, resolvable, resolvability

Allude- alluding, alluded, allusion, allusive

Invoke- invoked, invoking, invocable, invocation

Restrict- restricted, restriction, restricting, restrictive, restrictable 

Renew- renewed, renewable, renewing

 

D.3. Word-meaning

Ex 1. Find from the lesson words the meanings of which have been given in Column A. The last part of each word is given in Column B:

 

Column A Column B
the policy of suppressing publication of any item ……………………….ship
causing great loss…………………………ous
the state of being without money……….. …………….ptcy
cause the downfall ………………………..ert
pleasantly stimulating…………………………ting
stir to action……………………….. ite
the proprietor of anything….. ………………….. ner 

 

Answer-

 

Column A Column B
the policy of suppressing publication of any itemcensorship
causing great lossdisastrous
the state of being without moneybankruptcy
cause the downfall subvert
pleasantly stimulatingtitillating
stir to actionincite
the proprietor of anythingowner

 

Ex. 2. Fill in the blanks with suitable options given in the brackets:

  1. a) We all become very …………..  by the news reporting. (excited, exciting)
  2. b) I do not …………… the incidents. (recollect, recollects)
  3. c) You may ……………. between the two English dailies. (chose, choose)
  4. d) Unfavourable season …………………  crop.(effect, affects)
  5. e) Press should not be ………………..  (monopolised, monopolise)
  6. f) The report was …………….  (distorting, distorted) 

 

Answer-

  1. a) We all become very excited by the news reporting.
  2. b) I do not recollect the incidents. 
  3. c) You may choose between the two English dailies.
  4. d) Unfavourable season affects
  5. e) Press should not be monopolised.
  6. f) The report was distorted

 
D. 4. Phrases
Ex.1. Read the lesson carefully and find out the sentences in which the following phrases have been used. Then use these phrases in sentences of your own: 

 

at such timeso faron occasion
placed uponkeep up  driven off  
to bear uponcreeping intomake of

 

Answer-

At such time- Why are you out at such an odd time?

So far- I have only met half of the staff so far

On occasion- Only on occasion, are we allowed to wear casuals to the office. 

Placed upon- For a stranger, you have placed too much stress upon him.

Keep up- In order to keep up with the pace, one must always be on their toes.

Driven off- They drove off the invaders

To bear upon- That ruling bears upon our application

Creeping into- Suspicion crept into her voice

Make of- How much you make out of a situation, depends upon your capability.

 
E. GRAMMAR
Ex.1. Read the following sentences, taken from the lesson, carefully: 

If the opportunity to write a play were to present itself— for example, another commission for the Canterbury Festival – I should undoubtedly write it. 

 

The sentence given above sets a condition and so it is called a conditional sentence. Mark that the singular subject ‘the opportunity to write a play’ is followed by a plural verb ‘were’. Such structure is used when we have to express an unreal condition. Consider some more examples:

If I were a bird I would fly to you.

If I were young I would do it.

If she were a singer she would sing a song. 

 

Write ten more sentences on this sentences, based on this structure: 

If+ (S+ were) + S+ would/should + V1 

Answer-

  1. If I were in Canada, I would go to Niagara falls.
  2. If I were retired, I would settle in the mountains.
  3. If she were a cook, she would prepare us a meal.
  4. If I were the editor, I would issue a public apology.
  5. If I were in your place, I would have done it differently.
  6. If I were a fish, I would swim to you.
  7. If you were cautious, you would have never risked it.
  8. If she were wise, she would have made peace with you.
  9. If I were in your place, I would wait for another offer.
  10. If he were honest, he would have returned what he borrowed.

 
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