Quotations about   fourth estate

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) [Majority Opinion]
    (Source)
Added on 24-Feb-17 | Last updated 24-Feb-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Black, Hugo

A democracy is badly served when newspapers and television focus so intensely on the personal joys and tragedies of famous people. This kind of “news” crowds out more serious issues, and there is an important difference — as the Constitution’s framers well knew, and as many people today appear to have forgotten — between the public interest and what interests the public.

Cass R. Sunstein (b. 1954) American legal scholar
“Reinforce the Walls of Privacy,” New York Times (6 Sep 1997)
Added on 13-Dec-16 | Last updated 13-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sunstein, Cass R.

There ain’t any news in being good. You might write the doings of all the convents of the world on the back of a postage stamp, and have room to spare.

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
(Attributed)
Added on 4-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Mar-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dunne, Finley Peter

No man ought to be hindered saying or writing what he pleases on the conduct of those who undertake the management of national affairs, in which all are concerned, and therefore have the right to inquire, and to publish their suspicions concerning them. For if you punish the slanderer, you deter the fair inquirer.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly” (1774)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

MILNE: Junk journalism is the evidence of a society that has got at least one thing right, that there should be nobody with the power to dictate where responsible journalism begins.

Tom Stoppard (b. 1937) Czech-English playwright and screenwriter
Night and Day, Act 1 (1978)
Added on 24-Oct-14 | Last updated 24-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Stoppard, Tom

MILNE: No matter how imperfect things are, if you’ve got a free press everything is correctable, and without it everything is concealable.
RUTH: I’m with you on the free press. It’s the newspapers I can’t stand.

Tom Stoppard (b. 1937) Czech-English playwright and screenwriter
Night and Day, Act 1 (1978)
Added on 17-Oct-14 | Last updated 17-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Stoppard, Tom

It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I’m readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I’ll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials — after the fact.

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) American military leader
(Attributed)

Variant: "We made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake. We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers."

Generally cited as an 1863 statement, there are a number of variants (dating to the 1870s) and no actual writing by Lee has been found. More information here.

Added on 30-Sep-14 | Last updated 30-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lee, Robert E.

A free press stands as one of the great interpreters between the government and the people. To allow it to be fettered is to fetter ourselves.

George Sutherland (1862-1942) Anglo-American jurist, Supreme Court Justice (1922-1938)
Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 250 (1936)
Added on 16-Sep-14 | Last updated 16-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Sutherland, George

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants” — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 Apr 1961)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Sep-14 | Last updated 1-Sep-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kennedy, John F.