Tag Archives: Thomas Jefferson

Don’t Read Newspapers

In 1807, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to John Norvell:

To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, “by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only.” Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it’s benefits, than is done by it’s abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables.

Did Jefferson go on to summarize his thoughts by saying, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed”? The Quote Investigator explains.

Faith of our founding fathers

Proposed Great Seal
Benjamin Franklin’s proposed Great Seal of the United States, showing the Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea.

Thoughts after reading a book on Benjamin Franklin:

It is often stated that Franklin and Jefferson were Deists. This is justified in a sense, because they thought of themselves as Deists. But they really weren’t.

They believed that prayer had value, that God could be petitioned. That is completely opposite to true, continental Deism, which believed in a God who paid no attention to His creation.

What these men actually were, was Christians without the Incarnation. They accepted Christianity as a positive social good, but denied that Christ was God.

In essence they were secular, non-kosher Jews, who would never have considered converting to Judaism for social reasons.