“It is not news that sells papers, but papers that sell news.”
Will Bonner in Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics:
But, if you think about it, the word newspaper is itself a conceit. It pretends that the news industry is a clean pane of glass through which we look out at the spectacle of public events. But it is not a pane of glass at all; it is a microscope in which particular events are magnified and distorted. News that neither encourages journalistic prejudices nor inflates the journal’s profits is invisible.
… In the United States, France, and Spain, journalists take themselves more seriously. They believe themselves to be heirs to Jonathan Swift—informing people on the crucial matters that affect their lives. Never mind that they are also inflating and protecting their own status. Self-awareness is not a trait taught in journalism school. And, to give them their due, people these days do feel the need—indeed the right—to be informed. They read the paper as if it were a kind of daily hygiene—like brushing their teeth or dumping out the ashtray.
… It is not news that sells papers, but papers that sell news.