previous next

The Northern newspapers.

The agency so blatantly claimed by the New York Herald in moulding and shaping the Newspaper press of the North after its own model, is not altogether without foundation. Before the establishment of that Journal, newspapers were grave and dignified chroniclers of important events, personalities and gossip being dismissed with very brief notice, or none at all. Great public interests, social, industrial, and political and important public events, formed the staple of their publications. Bennett, an uneducated and mercenary foreign adventurer, inaugurated a new era. He made the newspapers a vehicle of tattle and personalities. He made it a mere gossip, going from door to door and circulating all the scandal of the neighborhood. He established in imitation of the foreign journals, a system of correspondence in the principal cities and towns, and these emissaries of his only wrote such things as would please their employer and tickle a shallow and depraved public taste; truth being entirely a secondary consideration. Most of the Northern papers have followed in the wake of the Herald, the only difference being an affectation of gentility and refinement, which Bennett never sets up. It must be admitted that he is free from one vice — hypocrisy. With brazen effrontery he flaunts his prostitution in the midday sun, and glories in his shame. His imitators are more demure and decorous, but quite as corrupt and unprincipled.

If our readers are often startled and amazed by the shocking mendacity of the Northern press in relation to this war, their wonder would all cease could they lift the veil and look upon the secret springs of the machinery and the persons by whom they are worked. A very instructive book was written on this subject a few years ago by a gentleman who had been connected with the Northern press for thirty years, and was thoroughly conversant with its principles and practices. No one can read this book without being satisfied that the press, at the North, instead of being a ‘"palladium of liberty,"’ and a reformer and instructor of the people is an engine of political despotism, a debaucher of public and private virtue, a blind leader of the blind. There would be more solid knowledge in the North, and infinitely more personal honor, patriotism, and purity, if a newspaper had never been published within its limits. The volume which shows up this Yankee newspaper world gives a history of its conductors, which proves that they are often incompetent, both by education and character for the positions which they occupy. In many cases, foreigner adventurers, who had been compelled to leave Europe on account of their had habits, and even of acts which might have brought them within the clutches of the law, compose the editorial staff of leading journals in the principal Northern cities, and are the recognized teachers and guides of the Northern people.

No wonder that the public mind of that section has become depraved under such influencer. If it had been originally pure as driven snow, it would be turned into a sewer of abominations by the constant, daily attrition for twenty-five years with the turbid, polluting streams sent forth by its press. It is not the least of the blessings of disunion to be delivered from a fountain of corruption which was beginning to scatter its baleful influences through our own community. Union with such a people was death in every shape and form — morally, socially, and politically. The sad sights of the dead and dying in this war are not as melancholy subjects of contemplation as the blight which might have come over the honor of man and the modesty of woman if we had been bound in an indissoluble union with the corruption and crime of Northern society.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Bennett (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: