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Newspaper Page Text
THE PEOPLE FOR THEIR OWN PROTECTION
SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE NEWSPAPERS
BY N. D. COCHRAN
I have given much space to both the Tribune and Examiner, but it isn't
because I am interested in either of them one way or another. I have a
distinct purpose in hammering away at both of them, not a private purpose,
but a- public purpose.
I don't know Hearst, Lawrence or any of the owners of the Tribune,
but I imagine they are human like the rest of us; and I have no personal
feeling about any of them.
I am trying to make the people of Chicago understand newspapers, so
that all newspapers will become better newspapers better for their readers
and the public generally; and I know they will become better newspapers
only when the public insists on them being better newspapers.
I know something about newspapers. I know that in a news-gathering
sense the Tribune is a great newspaper. Morally, however, I think it's rot
ten. In circulation and influence it is a giant, but too often it uses that giant
strength like a bully.
When it used its great political influence to rob the school children of
Chicago, by securing through political puppets special privileges in the way
of low rentals for school lands, it showed its moral degeneracy.
When it uses its influence to ruin politicians whom it cannot rule, it
uses its giant strength like a coarse and brutal bully.
I have ho use for gamblers, whether they are shooting craps, rolling
the little ball on a roulette wheel, making a hand-book, gambling in the
necessities of life on the board of trade, or gambling in stocks on the stock
If I had any preference it would be for the crap-shooter.
But I can't sympathize with the hypocrisy that prompts an editor to
wage fierce warfare against the little gambler, when he hasn't got the
courage to fight the big gambler.
I have seen so much of the vice crusading by hypocrites of both press
and-pulpit that I don't try very hard to resist the temptation to show them
up. And I know that many of them crusade against the saloonkeeper, the
gambler and the unfortunate sister of the underworld for no better purpose
than to make people believe they are moral when they, are not.
The Tribune could secure for the thousands of clerks in the depart
ment stores, mail order houses and other mercantile establishments, and in
the factories as well, a wage well above the bread line, if it would only do it.
But it won't. It has more regard for department store advertising than
it has for the health, happiness and general welfare of the thousands of
men, women and children who are slaves in the employ of money-mad em
ployers. Last year the Tribune used its influence to get votes for Roosevelt and
the Progressive platform. That platform had in it a plank favoring a mini
mum wage, for women; and the Tribune stood for the whole platform, as
Teddy made it.
When the O'Hara welfare committee of the Illinois senate probed the
department stores in Chicago, however, and showed the necessity for a
living wage, the Tribune forgot all about the Progressive minimum wage
plank, and at the very time its influence might have helped get a minimum
wage law for women through the Illinois legislature.
I say that sucb, newspaper policy as that is immoraL And however