‘In the beginning was the press, and then the world appeared’ Karl Kraus, 1923
A full historical survey of radical mass media criticism has yet to be published. When it is, its early sections covering the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries will surely be dominated by the seminal work of Karl Kraus. Despite being ‘shamelessly ignored’ (Jameson 1990, p. 63), Kraus stands out as a major figure, many of whose ideas have been, often unknowingly, rediscovered by present-day writers on the media. His work is still a mine of challenging thought, taking its ethical—satirical critique of media discourse and practice ...