Pravda portrays falsification in the contemporary Western news media. The title invites a comparison between the falsehoods of Fleet Street (the center of English journalism) and those of Moscow. The authors do not suggest that English news media are actually as deceitful and propagandistic as the state-owned Press of the former Soviet Union, but their satire shows that, given contemporary trends, an English newspaper can hardly communicate more truth than Pravda.
The play accounts for this falsification in several ways. Although Le Roux does more than any other character to undermine the integrity of the free press in Pravda, falsification by no means begins with him. In a scene before he buys his first newspaper, a woman seeks a correction from a newspaper that has falsely identified her as the mother of a drug dealer; the editor is too concerned with other matters to listen, and Andrew gives her a frank but reprehensible refusal: “I’ll be honest. They don’t look good on the page . . . if we apologize and correct, how can the readers know what is true and what is not? To print corrections is a kind of betrayal. Of a trust. It’s a matter—finally—of journalistic ethics.” The ironic point is that newspapers accept very little ethical responsibility and seek merely to maintain their own authority. Significantly, this scene occurs before Le Roux is introduced.
With the introduction of Le Roux, the audience...
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