This could have been written by William Blake had he lived in our time:

“What chiefly distinguishes the daily press of the United States from
the press of all other countries pretending to culture is not its lack
of truthfulness or even its lack of dignity and honor, for these
deficiencies are common to the newspapers everywhere, but its
incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion
of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears,
its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion.

*** It is never courageously honest. *** In the more conservative papers one
finds only a timid and petulant animosity to all questioning of the
existing order, however urbane and sincere — a pervasive and
ill-concealed dread that the mob now heated up against the orthodox
hobgoblins may suddenly begin to unearth hobgoblins of its own, and so
run amok. For it is upon the emotions of the mob, of course, that the
whole comedy is played. Theoretically the mob is the repository of all
political wisdom and virtue; actually it is the ultimate source of all
political power. *** The business of keeping it in order must be done
discreetly, warily, with delicate technique. In the main that
business consists of keeping alive its deep-seated fears — of strange
faces, of unfamiliar ideas, of unhackneyed gestures, of untested
liberties and responsibilities. The one permanent emotion of the
inferior man, as of all the simpler mammals, is fear — fear of the
unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond
everything else is safety. His instincts incline him toward a
society so organized that it will protect him at all hazards, and not
only against perils to his hide but also against assaults upon his
mind — against the need to grapple with unaccustomed problems, to
weigh ideas, to think things out for himself, to scrutinize the
platitudes upon which his everyday thinking is based. *** In America
it is the newspaper that is his boss. From it he gets support for his
elemental illusions. In it he sees a visible embodiment of his own
wisdom and consequence. Out of it he draws fuel for his simple moral
passion, his congenital suspicion of heresy, his dread of the
unknown. *** But where is intelligence? Where are ease and surety of
manner? Where are enterprise and curiosity? Where, above all, is
courage, and in particular, moral courage — the capacity for
independent thinking, for difficult problems, for what Nietzsche
called the joys of the labyrinth? As well look for these things in a
society of half-wits. *** The culture of the individual has been
reduced to the most rigid and absurd regimentation. It is precisely
here, of all civilized countries, that eccentricity in demeanor and
opinion has come to bear the heaviest penalties. The whole drift of
our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge
in the slightest from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift
of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under
that custom there is a national philosophy which erects conformity
into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality
into a capital crime against society.”

These gorgeous thoughts seem so modern and old at the same time, can’t
you see a muttering Blake in black pegged trousers
engraving it all on a silver plate through a robotic arm he
controls with a joystick?

Well, don’t. This lens of pure thought which we may hold up to our current
media like a loupe to inspect the giant diamond of our civilization
for flaws was not written by anybody who lives in our time. It is not
of our day. It was written almost a hundred years ago by H.L. Mencken.

He who imagines the behavior our press has fined much in these past
hundred years should earnestly re-read the above and then check up on
the antics of men who owned baseball teams in Mencken’s day.