"Politicians who complain about the press/media are like sailors complaining about the sea” is a modern political proverb meaning that press criticism of politicians comes with the job and is to be expected. The British politician Enoch Powell (1912-1998) was quoted in The Guardian on December 3, 1984:
“For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.”
Although Powell’s political saying is very well known throughout the world, it is almost unknown in the United States.
Wikipedia: Enoch Poewll
John Enoch Powell, MBE (16 June 1912 – 8 February 1998) was a British politician, classical scholar, poet, writer, linguist and soldier. He served as a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) (1950–74), Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP (1974–1987), and Minister of Health (1960–63). He attained most prominence in 1968, when he made the controversial Rivers of Blood speech against immigration. He was then controversially sacked from his position as Shadow Defence Secretary (1965–68) in the Shadow Cabinet of Edward Heath. He had few friends in the establishment. Michael Heseltine condemned the River’s of Blood speech as having a “racist tone” and of being an “explosion of bigotry”.
Before entering politics, he had been a classical scholar, becoming a full Professor of Ancient Greek at the age of 25. During the Second World War, he served in both staff and intelligence positions, reaching the rank of brigadier in his early thirties. He also wrote poetry, his first works being published in 1937, as well as many books on classical and political subjects.
Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations
Edited by Elizabeth Knowles
Oxford: Oxford University Press
Pg. ? (Enoch Powell):
For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.
in Guardian 3 December 1984 (Pg. 12—ed.)
Los Gusanos: a novel
By John Sayles
New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers
Complaining about politics because they were bad was like complaining about the sea because it was wet.
Keyguide to Information Sources in Media Ethics
By Barrie MacDonald and Michel Petheram
Enoch Powell commented that politicians who complain about the press are like sailors who complain about the sea. One might also quote U.S. President Harry S. Truman: ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
The Daily Star (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Wed. July 23, 2003
Freedom of press: Is it under siege?
Harun ur Rashid
The present tension between politicians and press in Bangladesh is unfortunate because ideally it should not occur in democratic polity. Press or broadly media is a link between people and politicians. Politicians and media need each other and there should exist personal, political and professional relationships between them. As late Enoch Powell, the British political leader once said: “For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.”
New York (NY) Times
Tony Blair, Three-Time Loser
By A. A. GILL
Published: June 24, 2007
Blaming journalists for the mood of nations is a futile venture. Enoch Powell, an especially reviled statesman, dryly pointed out that for a politician to complain about the press was like sailors complaining about the sea. Newspapers may like to imagine they have power, but none of them can afford to travel far from the prejudices of their readers. Politicians blame the messenger because the alternative is to blame the public. And the annoying corollary of democracy is that the public is always right.
The Jordan Times
The responsibility of the press
by Peter Millett | Feb 13,2012 | 22:35
Those in the public eye should not fear or be defensive about the press. If a politician dislikes criticism from the press, then he is definitely in the wrong job. As a British politician said many years ago: “For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.”
Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald
PM gets more than a cuppa and a catch-up as mummy bloggers spread the goss
June 18, 2012.
IT IS an old saying in politics that complaining about the media is like a sailor complaining about the sea.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics • (0) Comments • Wednesday, June 20, 2012 • Permalink