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The Past | The Previous

'within this political and social order transformed during the mercantilist phase of capitalism (and whose new structure found its expression precisely in the differentiation of its political and social aspects) the second element of the early capitalist commercial system, the press, in turn developed a unique explosive power.'

page 20.

'for the traffic in news developed not only in connection with the needs of commerce; the news itself became a commodity. commercial news reporting was therefore subject to the laws of the same market to whose rise it owed its existence in the first place. it is no accident that the printed journals often developed out of the same bureaus of correspondence that already handled handwritten newsletters. each item of information contained in a letter had its price; it was therefore natural to increase the profits by selling to more people. this in itself was already sufficient reason periodically to print a portion of the available news material and to sell it anonymously, thus giving it publicity.

the interest of the new (state) authorities (which before long began to use the press for the purposes of the state administration), however, was of far greater import. inasmuch as they made use of this instrument to promulgate instructions and ordinances, the addressees of the authorities' announcements genuinely became "the public" in the proper sense. from the very beginning, the political journals had reported on the journeys and returns of the princes, on the arrival of foreign dignitaries, on balls, "special events" at court, appointments, ect.; in the context of this news from the court, which can be thought of as a kind of transportation of the publicity of representation into the new form of public sphere, there also appeared "sovereign ordinances in the subjects' best interest." very soon the press was systematically made to serve the interests of the state administration.'

pages 21 and 22, habermas.