John Swinton, NY Sun editorialist, on the press, 1883

29 Jul

There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to villify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.



Posted by on July 29, 2020 in America, The Kulturkampf


7 responses to “John Swinton, NY Sun editorialist, on the press, 1883

  1. fuzziewuzziebear

    July 29, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    I do see some parallels. 1883 was at the beginning of the Gilded Age, famous for wealth disparity. It was also the height of power for Tammany Hall, which institutionalized corruption in the Democratic Party in New York. Why do you think that Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican?

    • Will S.

      July 29, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      Is it a matter of parallelism with our times, or is it that some things actually haven’t ever changed? 😉

      • fuzziewuzziebear

        July 29, 2020 at 9:44 pm

        It may be that things have gone full circle and come back to that. We can do without outrageous income disparity. As for corruption, we can always do without that.

      • Will S.

        July 29, 2020 at 10:43 pm

        You’re probably right… Alas, we indeed seem to be headed to a greater economic divide between haves and have-nots, not unlike that of earlier centuries, prior to the 20th…

  2. feeriker

    July 30, 2020 at 3:18 am

    The type of article NO ONE would dare publish today.


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