Sobran's -- The Real News of the Month
Joe Sobran
Fran Griffin
Griffin Communications
Managing Editor /

Ronald N. Neff


From SOBRANS, September 1994
Volume 1, Number 1

to the award-winning web page of SOBRANS, a running argument with the modern state and its courtier media. I thank all our subscribers and benefactors for your generous support in our modest experiment (shall we say) in counter-journalism.

A word about my philosophy of journalism: I don’t like it. Journalism, that is.

To explain ...

This is a time of political crisis. The crisis is due in large part to prevalent misconceptions. The modern state has failed. Millions of people feel it acutely, even angrily, but their discontent, though loud, is only half articulate. The Republican Party is a phony opposition; the conservative movement has stalled. The news media — which have been called our national nervous system — only aggravate the problem.

Journalists, as witness the weekend talk shows, have become ambitious courtiers. Trafficking in insider trivia, they want to be players and even celebrities. They aspire to remake the country, politically and even culturally; they assume a quasi-official tone and a style of third-person omniscience. The New York Times has actually demanded editorially that the Episcopal Church ordain women and the Catholic Church update its reactionary moral teachings. Self-importance, anyone?

Gone are the days of the cheerfully humble reporter sticking to the facts and keeping his opinions to himself. Today’s media forget how much they don’t know. And as Richard Whately put it: “He who is unaware of his ignorance will be only misled by his knowledge.”

You may have noticed, for example, how thoroughly the media omit any religious perspective on the news — which means that they miss the actual significance of the news for countless Americans. They utter self-assured pronouncements about the Constitution from depths of confusion. You don't have to be a Christian to feel that the media are partners of the leviathan state, gnawing away at our freedom and the virtues that sustain it.

Some things that urgently need saying aren’t being said, or just can’t be said, in “mainstream” journalism. Old taboos have fallen. But new taboos have been built in their place, militating against straight talk and straight thinking. Hence my monthly letter.

Now and then I’m asked whether the Clintons ever make me miss George Bush. Miss George Bush? Sometimes I miss George III. Our democracy, we are told, is the fruit of struggles in which the progressive side always (fortunately) conquered the forces of reaction, from the American Revolution to the feminist movement. But what if our history has gone awry? What if the progressive story line falsifies everything? We may need to retrace our steps and deal frankly with sensitive topics. You might not think there would be sensitive topics in an age when seven-year-olds talk about condoms. Oh, brother!

My syndicated column gets spiked in many newspapers, even some conservative papers, whenever I poke those topics. Many readers ask where they can find my work. So, in addition to new material, each issue of SOBRAN’S reprints several columns you may have missed. Not that we should break taboos for the sake of breaking taboos; but the full truth can’t be told if some subjects have to be danced around like Uncle Harry’s drinking problem. The topic that is nervously avoided may be just the one that needs our candor most.

So again, welcome. I hope I can repay your support with a little clarification and even some amusement.

Joe Sobran