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Newspaper Page Text
THE POWER OF SUGGESTION
By Harold D. Stroud.
The Bell telephone companies that
form the great monopoly of the tele
phone business of this country, es
pecially in thejong-distance field,
have for years maintained a press
bureau that is as pernicious as it is
complete. It will be worth while for
any one interested in the subject of
telephone service, as a telephone
user, to secure a copy of Paul
Latzke's "Fight With the Octopus,"
which can be purchased from the
Telephone Users' Association, price
25 cents. This book deals with the
history of the telephone monopoly in
the United States, and shows the
fighting methods of the Bell Tele
phone company. It shows how this
company has subsidized the press in
various cities, and spread false re
ports to intimidate those who might
desire to invest their money in inde
pendent telephone securities.
It is a peculiar fact that by far the
larger majority of people who are not
conversant with a subject readily ac
cept the suggestions that carry the
mark of plausibility. For instance, a J
tew years ago the officials of the Fell
Telephone Company coined two
phrases that have been put into the
mouths of millions of people, who
speak them as a phonograph repro
duces sound from the records.
One of these was, "The telephone
is a natural monopoly." The other,
"Two telephones are a nuisance."
The power of suggestion carried in
these two phrases is tremendous.
People hear them and repeat them
without giving the matter" the slight
est thought. In other words, they
let the Bell Telephone Company,
through the newspapers whose space
they buy, do the thinking for them
until it has become just as easy to
say the telephone is a natural mo
nopoly as it is to say that George
Washington could not tell a lie. How
many people who have repeated the
latter phrase know upon what
grounds it is based? If you will an- j
swer this question, you will have the
answer to the other.
There is one consolation, however,
and that is that in the case of George
Washington we are not repeating a
phrase that will do any harm. In re
peating the others we are helping to
tighten about ourselves the tentacles
of an octupus that lives not upon the
service that it may render to the peo
ple, but exists with the sole object of
extracting as much and giving as lit
tle as the law allows, and oftentimes
more than the law permits.
o o .
SEE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN
THESE TWO NEWS ITEMS?
Two interesting news items have
been furnished by the McGuire &
White Detective Agency.
Tom McGuire may be recalled as
the man who is paid to protect the
property of the State street depart
ment store owners. From the num
ber of women dragged into the po
lice courts each morning on a charge
of shoplifting one gets the impres
sion that McGuire is paid so much
McGuire is also the gent who ren
dered such valuable assistance in aid
ing Max Annenberg to square himself
of the charge of shooting down Alex
The first bit of news tells us the
County Board in going over its old
bills yesterday found 'one from Mc
Guire calling for $1,135.50 for the
service of his nimble operators. The
men were used to spy on county em
ployes who had gotten themselves in
bad with the powers that be. AM as
they were civil service men the pow
ers that be had to get something on
them before they could be fired. So
McGuire's, a private agency, was call
ed upon to produce the goods.
The other news" item will show the
kind of aid McGuire offered: "Pri
vate Detective Harry Olson of the
McGuire & White Detective Agency '
was arrested for stealing an overcoat '
from The Fair and sentenced to six
months in the House of Correction."