Friday, May 23, 2014

Quote of the Day (Evelyn Waugh, on the Media's ‘Well-Informed Circles’)

“In the vocabulary of the daily press ‘well-informed circles’ have by now been relegated to a place of secondary importance.  On those very frequent days when foreign and diplomatic correspondents find themselves without any credible information to report, it is their custom to appease their editors with modest forecasts of their own.  On these occasions, it is usual to evoke as authority some anonymous source.  If, for instance, they have heard something from the postman, they attribute it to ‘a semi-official statement’; if they have fallen into conversation with a stranger at a bar, they can conscientiously describe him as ‘a source that has hitherto proved unimpeachable.’  It is only when the journalist is reporting a whim of his own, and one to which he attaches minor importance, that he defines it as the opinion of ‘well-informed circles.’”— Evelyn Waugh, “Well-Informed Circles...and How to Move in Them," in The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh, edited by Donat Gallagher (1983)

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