[Marxism] Timesman tells the truth

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 25 15:03:37 MST 2005

There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as 
an independent press. You know it and I know it.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you 
did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid 
weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. 
Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you 
who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the 
streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear 
in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, 
to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his 
country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and 
what folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the 
jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our 
possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are 
intellectual prostitutes.

--John Swinton, NY Times editorial page editor in the 1860s. (These remarks 
were made at a banquet held in his honor in 1880 after someone who knew 
neither the press nor Swinton offered a toast to the independent press.)

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