from Huma Events:
That Time The Media Told Solzhenitsyn To Love It Or Leave It.
Last week, President Trump suggested that a few particularly acerbic critics of his immigration policies should pack up and leave. For that, he was branded a racist.
What’s really going on here?
“The press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?”
In 1978, the great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn was invited to give the commencement address at Harvard University.
In his speech, the exiled dissident harshly criticized Western news reporting for endorsing “fashionable trends of thought and ideas” while suppressing “independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life.”
He added, “The press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?”
The press reacted furiously, calling him a “conservative radical,” a “fierce dogmatic,” and a “fanatic.” Solzhenitsyn himself chronicled the response in his recently published memoir, Between Two Millstones:
“If you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?” (This came up in several newspapers, and more than once.) “Why if life in the United States is so deplorable and venal, should he have chosen to live here?…. Mr. Solzhenitsyn, don’t let the doorknob hit you in the rear on the way out…. As you don’t like anything else here, it’s not unkind of us to point out that you don’t have to stay here… Love it or leave it…. Would somebody please send [him] an airline schedule for overseas flights, east-bound.”
Never mind that Solzhenitsyn had been expelled from the Soviet Union and stripped of his citizenship. He failed to bend the knee to the Washington Post – send him back!
Was this treatment xenophobic? Nativist? Much depends, apparently, on whose ox is being gored. The media’s duplicity in this respect proves Solzhenitsyn’s point: the press uses its outsized power to endorse fashionable ideas and to suppress others.