4th estate

Sound familiar?

It was not these contributions that deprived Viennese journalists of their independence; it was their ignorance that fettered them; the great age of Viennese economic journalism had long passed away. The excellent economists who had collaborated with the press — among them Carl Menger — had found no worthy successors. […] When a government regulation was passed or an important business transaction took place, the journalists would rush to the pertinent government official or to the businessman concerned. The information the journalists received from him was then presented to the public. The government did not need to corrupt journalists; it was enough to inform them. Journalists feared nothing more than their being informed a few days later than others in their profession. To avoid such a penalty they were always prepared to represent the government’s point of view. Their economic ignorance then afforded the advantage that they could plead the government case without independent mental reservations.

– Ludwig von Mises, Notes and Reflections


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