Saturday, May 3, 2008

Of publishing, New York and censorship

I am particularly interested in what Rebecca and Nicotine Queen, two of my Big Apple blogfriends, have to say about this quote I read the other day:

"In America, through the concentration in New York City of the publishing industry, the book-reviewing journals, the great national newspapers, and the headquarters of radio networks -- a process of consolidation at work for many years -- a curious kind of censorship of ideas and imagination has become possible. This private censorship does not seem ordinarily to have been deliberate or conspiritorial; rather, it has been a kind of contagion of opinion within a comparatively small set of people living a highly artificial life in a city with few roots in the past -- persons sometimes with small faith in traditional values, and therefore the more anxious for the approval of other people in their coterie of publicists, writers and entertainers." -- Russell Kirk, circa 1972. (Kirk was a professor of political science at Long Island University and author of "The Conservative Mind; Beyond the Dreams of Avarice.")

Kirk wrote these lines more than 30 years ago, before the Internet, before satellite radio. I wonder how true such a statement might still be today.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I don't think it true that because publishing has centered itself in New York City it has created an air of censorship at all. Here in NY, there are all kinds of views to be heard and read from the far left to the far right. The venerable New York times, liberal, the Wall Street Journal conservative. Even among the tabloid papers and news weekly a wide spectrum of leanings is available for consumption. Fox News has its HQ here, and Murdoch now owns the Journal, as well as TV and radio holdings. I am more concerned about single owners of multiple media causing a form of censorship than geography.

New York City is also home to quite a few highly regarded academic institutions: Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University to name a few. I would think that would cement the Big Apple's liberal reputation more than anything else.