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Newspaper Page Text
IS THE NEWSPAPER GUNMAN DOOMED?
BY N. D. COCHRAN
Has the sun of the newspaper gunman set in Chicago?
State's Attorney Hoyne says it has; and he is in position to see that it
does. Wednesday, in a statement given to The Day Book, because he said
the other papers wouldn't print it, he said:
"The newspaper gunmen have now flourished in Chicago for thirteen
years. They have had a clear field. The police have not interfered with
them. But I am going to be poison to the newspaper gunmen so long as I
am in office."
Mr. Hoyne is the first state's attorney in thirteen years to brave the
wrath of the powerful newspapers, and to promise to use all the power of
his office to break up this criminal practice of Chicago newspapers. For
many years the newspapers have controlled the state's attorney's office in
order that they might be indictment free and use their sluggers and gunmen
to govern newsboys and push the sale of their papers.
Most of the time the people of Chicago knew little of the brutality of
newspaper sluggers and of the murders committed by desperadoes in the
employ of the millionaire publishers. That was because the publishers were
in a close combine and did not publish the news about the misdeeds of their
So the practice thrived in secrecy, and, as Mr. Hoyne says, "the police
have not interfered with them." That was because the pull of the publishers
was so powerful that the police were afraid to interfere with newspaper
sluggers and gunmen.
For fully a year and a half The Day Book has persisted in telling the
people the truth about the criminality of Chicago newspapers, and that
publicity has resulted in a public sentiment so strong that this violent and
vicious government by newspapers must now come to an end.
In steadily pursuing the newspaper gunmen, I have not had in mind
getting a few gunmen into the penitentiary; for I hold that the real culprits
are the powerful publishers who hired them and who benefitted by their
If there were any way to get justice and place the- punishment where
it belongs, the publishers who hired these gunmen would be prosecuted for
the murders they have committed.
Under our laws, however, the principal too often escapes and the
punishment for crimes committed in his interest is imposed upon his hired
agents. I found this out several years ago when I was fighting an ice trust
in Toledo. I managed to help get the managers of the companies in jail for
robbing the people, but there was no way under the law to put the rich
stockholders behind the bars.
At Lawrence, Mass., Ettor and Giovanitti, two labor leaders, were locked
up for months on a charge of being accessories before the fact to a mur
der. During strike riots there murder was committed, and these two men
were charged with it on no other ground than that they had made speeches
to the strikers, the strikers struck, then got in trouble with the police, there
was shooting and somebody was killed.
The situation in Chicago, however, is different. The men who hired
the gunmen who killed Conductor Witt and Teamster Hehr were not hum
fcle labor leaders; they were rich and influential newspaper publishers. Sot