A Sampler of McLuhan Quotes Related to “Fake News,” From Bill Kuhns’ Forthcoming McLuhan Marshalling Machine: A Dictionary of Quotations


In anticipation of Bill Kuhns’ to-be-published huge compendium of McLuhan quotes in his McLuhan Marshalling Machine: A Dictionary of Quotations, where they will be categorized by the artifact or phenomenon they refer to, I have Bill’s permission to publish samples of original McLuhan quotes from his writings, lectures, and interviews, some of which will have never before been seen in a secondary publication context. Some of the following quotes on “Fake News” come from the hard-to-find DEW-Line Newsletters that few are familiar with because of their relative inaccessibility.

“This is the age of reprography. There are more means of emulating, reflecting, reproducing, duplicating, and making or faking extant in present technologies than ever existed in the world before”.
– “The Genuine Original Imitation Fake,” DEWLine Newsletter, No 6, May-June 1970, p 4.

The word ‘fake,’ of course, is from the Latin ‘facio, facere, feci, factum.’ Making is literally faking. The artist as “maker” is always in quest of a colossal fiction.”
“The Genuine Original Imitation Fake,” DEWLine Newsletter, No 6, May-June 1970, p 4.

“The bias of each medium of communication is far more distorting than the deliberate lie.”
Counterblast (1969), p 119.

“The difference between factitious and fictitious tends to dissolve.”
Information Hunt Looms Big, 1967, p 5.

A half-truth is an awful lot of truth! Most people never get that much.”
– Quote in B.W. Powe. “Marshall McLuhan: The Put-On,” In A Climate Charged (1984).

“The proud motto: ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ advertises the fact that news is actually fiction… [that] there is a large factor of choice in looking at the world itself as something to fit print.”
– “Sharing the News—Friendly Teamness: Teeming Friendness”. Commissioned by the ABC Owned Television Stations for their private distribution. Copyright shared by ABC and McLuhan Associates, Ltd. N.p., 44 pp.. Rpt., as “Television Views the News: Hot Events on a Cool Medium, Where The Audience Is The Actor.” Television / Radio Age, Vol. 19, No. 3, September 6, 1971, p 4.

“News is an artifact where media are concerned. Any kind of good or bad news can be turned on or off at will for varying periods.”
– Culture Is Our Business (1970), p 268.

The reader of the newspaper accepts the newspaper not so much as a highly artificial image having some correspondence to reality as he tends to accept it as reality itself.”
– “Educational Effects of—,” 1956, p. 401.

 “As in the case of the newspaper, most trivial matters are given considerable additional intensity by being translated into prose at all. That is why no account of anything can be “truthful” in a newspaper’.
– From
Cliché to Archetype (1970), Marshall McLuhan with Wilfred Watson, p 198.

“Goldsmith observed of the famous actor David Garrick: ‘On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting. It was only when he was off the stage that he was acting.'”
– “The Genuine Original Imitation Fake,” DEWLine Newsletter, No 6, May-June, 1970, p 5.

“In furs, the genuine fake costs more than real fur. It wears better”.
– Culture Is Our Business (1970), p 46.

“When a visitor stepped into an antique store, he asked: ‘What’s new?’ His jocular query draws attention to the fact that we live in the age of the fake antique, which is itself a form of the replay. Is not ‘news’ itself a replay of the newspaper medium of events that have occurred in some other medium, and does not this replay quality in reporting urge us to narrow the margin between the event and the replay? Does this not make us define news as ‘the latest'”?
“At the Moment of Sputnik—” (1974). Typescript, p. 1.

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