Innu protester and baby trying to defend their land against militarisation by the Canadian government
© Mark Webster/Survival


"Sound-bytes illustrating the lunacy that political systems can manifest"

Excerpts from an article by J.F. Ryan. Originally published in 'The Painters' Journal' - June 1963.

"Give me the Press of this country for one week and I will make the people believe
that black is white and white is black." Thus a newspaper proprietor expressed his
faith in the efficacy of the Press as a brain-washing medium.

Such a claim cannot be dismissed as a sudden spasm of high-sounding rhetoric, but
must be considered as being profoundly symptomatic of a dangerous deep-seated
reactionary mentality, presupposing, as it does, the ability of the Press to make the
people disbelieve the evidence of their senses. Compelling the people to accept the
view that things are not what they appear to be may be regarded as a great journalistic
achievement, but those responsible for it must, first of all, prostitute their own
intelligence; only by so doing is it possible for them to become actively engaged in
a business having as its avowed aim the deliberate falsification of the truth, for
stripped of its metaphorical embroidery, this is what is meant by making the people
believe that black is white and vice versa.

To all who are accustomed to taking the newspapers at their face value it may seem a
high-handed assumption to accuse them of holding a distorting mirror up to life. What
ulterior motive would they have for wanting to distort or garble the truth? Why
should they wish to deceive the people? The short and simple answer is the newspapers
have a very definite role to play. As the organs of big business they have a vested
interest in the preservation of the existing order which we call capitalism, and how
better can this be done than by continously brain-washing the people by subtle and
dishonest propaganda to accept the present order as the best of all possible worlds.

Day after day we are mentally swamped with a veritable flood of mush, slush, and gush,
about people who are, for the most part, parasites and non-producers; film stars,
big-game hunters, society dames, racing motorists, dirt-track riders, crooners,
strip-teasers, fight promoters, bookmakers, hot gospellers - the list is almost
endless. And though not one of them contribute anything worthwhile to the welfare of
the community, they are publicised, romanticised and glamourised to such an extent by
the Press the people are kidded into believing that without such a shower life would
be extremely dull. There is no limit to the contempt in which the Press holds its
brain-washed readers...

...The Press is a very powerful instrument and enjoys an unrivalled position for
influencing public opinion. Its aim should be to enrich the minds of its readers
instead of brain-washing them in order to preserve a system which has nothing much to
offer apart from the possibility of nuclear extinction."

© J. F. Ryan (Clapham, London)

amalgamated society of painters and decorators
© The Painters' Journal

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