As far back as 1919, in philosophy’s most generous tribute to the “responsibility” of journalism, Max Weber ignored the reporter’s role entirely; for him it was the political journalist, the promoter of causes, who deserved our admiration and was so ungratefully rewarded. If getting the story right is the reporter’s aim, the editorial staff have their own priorities; the “comment” column or staged interview is better suited to the purposes of routinising, while even the headlines, those sacred pillars of “shock,” may be confected of press-officers’ and PR hand-outs, plans, reports, draft speeches circulated in advance, notices of engagements, statistical projections, contested scientific claims, the insipid flavour of the whole drowned out with the pungent spices of speculation. What we look to the media for is the construction of the world of the moment, and reporting on realities may have only tangential relevance to that.
If “new every morning” is the tempo of divine grace and the tempo of our personal responsibilities, it is because the morning is a time when one can look back intelligently and look forward hopefully. It is the tempo of practical reason. The media’s “new every morning” (quickly becoming “new every moment”) is, one may dare to say, in flat contradiction to that daily offer of grace. It serves rather to fix our perception upon the momentary now, preventing retrospection, discouraging deliberation, holding us spellbound in a suppositious world of the present which, like hell itself, has lost its future and its past.