Saturday, September 5, 2009

A qualified endorsement of the press

George Chandler-Powell is a character, a surgeon, in P.D. James’s most recent novel, The Private Patient. At one point Mr. Chandler-Powell (British surgeons do not call themselves “doctor”) expresses views about the press:

“[F]rankly, I wouldn’t lift a finger to muzzle the popular press. When you consider the machinations and deviousness of governments, we need some organisation strong enough to shout occasionally. I used to believe that I lived in a free country. Now I have to accept that I don’t. But at least we have a free press, and I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of vulgarity, popularisation, sentimentality and even misrepresentation to ensure it remains free.”