Christopher Hitchens on the Media

Prior to his enchanting lectures reaching YouTube and turning Christopher Hitchens into a mainstream icon, he was a darling of the alternative press. As such, he spent over forty years involved in the debates over media bias, print media vs digital media, and the responsibility of journalists in the field. We’ll go in chronological order with quotes in print, with references, and then show a 2003 interview in which he was interviewed by Charlie Rose about the role of the media. 

This first quote comes from an article in the Nation titled “Blunt Instruments” in which he took to task the media for their meager attempts at so called “balance.” This was back when Christopher Hitchens was still a Socialist but was increasingly moving away from the ideology of his youth.   

We live in a period when a chat show that includes Morton Kondracke considers that it has filled the liberal slot.

Christopher Hitchens

Nation, 11/16/85

And there’s the Cable News Network’s Crossfire, which awakes the adrenaline of millions of citizens each weekday evening-and is yet another phony homage to the notion of unfettered exchange. The conservative or the administration case is put by people who believe in or are paid by it, respectively. ‘Balance’ is satisfied by inviting an obscure radical onto the set when there has been a hijacking, say, or a Russian atrocity. ‘Now, Mr. Lefty, you’re an apologist for the Soviets. What do you have to say about that?’”

Christopher Hitchens

Harper’s, March 1987

It’s amazing to see how hesitantly most TV and radio and print people approach the very idea that there could be another is to a question.

Christopher Hitchens

Vanity Fair, December 1997

The overall bias of the American press is towards consensus, and the overwhelming bias of its proprietors is towards profit and entertainment, but the stuff still has to be written by somebody, and thus a man like Seymour Hersh can be a hero to a young New York Times reporter in a way that William F. Buckley, for example, was never likely to become.

Christopher Hitchens

Vanity Fair, December 1997

Now we get to the video interview mentioned before, where Hitchens is interviewed about the media’s role in portraying the Iraq war which began the same year. In his book, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens claims to have been part of group of journalists and D.C. insiders that were committed to provoking the U.S. into war. A claim that he only went public with many years after the war had begun and ended.  

Note that even though the subject of this article is deceased, we still reserve the right to make modifications and changes to the content if we discover that, in his vast appearances on various media outlets, we have ommitted more relevant quotes from the journalist and author about the subject. 

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