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The Fourth Estate

August 5, 2013

Given the angst currently suffered by so many NZ ‘journalists’ it is perhaps appropriate to remember what Oscar Wilde once noted in regard to the Fourth Estate, so called:-

In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism

It is appropriate to recall this when ‘journalists’ such as Patrick Gower make self regarding statements about their role and position. Adam was particularly incensed the other day when Gower claimed he spoke for all New Zealanders. Well he does not. His role is to draw people’s attention to issues, not to claim he represents everyone in the country.

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