and the men on the commission
would be human beings. Imagine a
Democratic commission passing upon
the qualifications of men to run Re
publican or Progressive or Socialist
newspapers. They might not like the
color of the hair of the applicants.
And very likely they wouldn't like the
color of their politics.
I don't think the question strikes at
the root of the evil. It is merely a
manifestation of our mental habit
which makes us say, every time there
is some evil we think ought to be cor
rected that "there ought to be a law"
to do So and so. The Fair Play Com
mission means another law oper
ated by delegated representatives of
the people, who nine times out of
ten, don't represent.
I don't think anybody can regulate
the press but the people themselves.
And all the people need is to know the
truth. The truth is that newspapers
are not run in the interest of the pub
lic, but are influenced in their edi
torial and news policy by the selfish
interests of the advertisers.
Take the Daily News of Chicago. I
figured it out not long ago, and my
figures are conservative. The white
paper for one day's issue of the News
cost at the very least $700 more
than the News got for it at wholesale
rates to newsboys, stands, etc. To
this' should be addeti the enormous
cost of distribution autos, wagons,
horses, division bosses, drivers,
chauffeurs and many others.
Yet the News makes a profit of
somewhere near a million a year.
The advertisers have to pay enough
to cover all that expense and the
profit besides. So the News is depend
ent upon its advertisers and not upon
its readers. Whose side will it be,on
when private and public interests
The Record-Herald has a daily cir
culation of 140,000 and a Sunday cir
culation of 200,000, yet it has been
losing about $300,000 a year for
years. The owner of the stock, Victor
F. Lawson, got tired of carrying that
loss and recently turned the prop
erty over to the bondholders and gave
them his $3,000,000 of stock.
The readers of the Record-Herald
were not supporting it by paying only
one cent a copy; and the advertisers
wouldn't support it.
If newspapers were free from all in
fluence except that of their readers
you wouldn't need any Fair Play bu
reau. Newspapers would compete for
public approval instead of for forced
circulation to get advertising patron
age, and the public would protect it
self. The people now have the right of
instantaneous recall on a newspaper.
All they need do is to know all about
their newspapers. A state commission
that would find out and make public
every owner of a newspaper and ev
ery influence back of it might help
But in the last analysis the remedy
is in the hands of the people them
selves. The well-being of society should
not rest in the hands of newspaper
publishers. Society should never let
go of it themselves.
Instead of having a state commis
sion to pass upon the qualifications of
men who want to enter the newspa
per field, it would be better to bring
about a condition that makes it easier
than it is now for more men to break
into the field.
Even if a state commission found
a man letter perfect and gave him a
license to become a journalist in Chi
cago, what good would his license be
if the State street store combine gave
him the advertising chill and decreed
that his newspaper should die of ad
Wouldn't it be far better to-make it
possible for any man with a message
to start a newspaper?
If I succeed in making The Day
Book a success without advertising
and by success I mean financial suc
cess as a business proposition
won't it then be possible fqr anybody ,
who has-a better message to the peo-
xml | txt