Friday, July 19, 2013

Quote of the Day: Hunter Thompson on Journalistic Truth

'I still insist "objective journalism" is a contradiction in terms. But I want to draw a very hard line between the inevitable reality of "subjective journalism" and the idea that any honestly subjective journalist might feel free to estimate a crowd at a rally for some candidate the journalist happens to like personally at 2000 instead of 612...or to imply that a candidate the journalist views with gross contempt, personally, is a less effective campaigner than he actually is.

Hubert Humphrey, for instance: I don't mind admitting that I think sheep-dip is the only cure for everything Humphrey stands for. I consider him not only a living, babbling insult to the presumed intelligence of the electorate, but also a personally painful mockery of the idea that Americans can learn from history.

But if Hubert meets a crowd in Tampa and 77 ranking business leaders offer him $1000 each for his campaign, I will write that scene exactly as it happenedregardless of the immense depression it would plunge me into.

No doubt I would look around for any valid word or odd touches that might match the scene to my bias. If any of those 77 contributors were wearing spats or monocles I would take care to mention it. I would probably follow some of them outside to see if they had "AmericaLove it or Leave it" bumper stickers on their cars. And if they did I would definitely make note of it. If one of them grabbed a hummingbird out of the air and bit its head off, I think it's safe to say I would probably use that...'

— Hunter S. Thompson in a 1972 memo to the staff of Rolling Stone (page 107 of the 2011 collection Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone)

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