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The heroic image of journalist selflessly gathering "all the news that's fit to print" and publishing it "without fear or favour" is itself a heavy idealisation.

I know it is a newspaper motto, and there are a lot about it on the internet, but nowhere I could find a simple meaning for it.

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    I always considered "fit" to mean "suitable", that is, verifiable, but I discover now that, over the years, even the New York Times, whose motto it is, has hesitated to explain the meaning. On its 150th anniversary, in 2001, it said: ""What, exactly, does it mean? You decide. The phrase has been debated, and endlessly parodied, both inside and outside the Times for more than a century." Apr 17, 2019 at 21:42

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Fit to print simply means suitable or appropriate for printing. News might not be fit to print because it is pointlessly scurrilous, or unsubstantiated, or not of interest to anyone, or puerile. It implies being selective as to what is published, but selective in a very principled way.

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  • This definition is interestingly ambigous on whether gratuitously harmful news would be fit or unfit to print. Jan 10, 2020 at 20:06

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