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state's attorney for no better reason than that he was properly prosecuting
the Tribune's chief gunman and slugger, etc.
But I will just as freely comment on any citizen who attacks a free
press, or a press that may be trying to be free, whether the attack be made
on the Tribune or any other newspaper.
THE VITAL QUESTION INVOLVED IN THE ATTACK ON THE
TRIBUNE BY BENT IS" WHETHER A NEWSPAPER SHALL BE RUN IN
THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR TO PROMOTE THE SELFISH INTERESTS
OF ITS ADVERTISERS.
I SAY THAT A NEWSPAPER SHOULD BE RUN IN THE PUBLIC IN
TEREST, AND THAT ANY ATTEMPT BY ADVERTISERS TO CONTROL
THE NEWS AND EDITORIAL POLICY OF NEWSPAPERS IS AGAINST
GOOD PUBLIC POLICY, AND A MATTER OF VITAL PUBLIC CONCERN.
Geo. P. Bent recently wrote a letter to the Tribune as "The World's
Greatest Newspaper Humbug and Hypocrite," demanding that his subscrip
tion and his advertising contract with that paper be canceled. '
He enclosed an article prepared for the Chicago Association of Com
merce, and in his letter he said: "The merchants and manufacturers of
Chicago and of this country have supported you altogether too long, and I,'
for one, resent the outrageous attacks you are now making on them.
"For years you have been attacking capital, although you have mil
lions yourselves. The envy and hatred of manufacturers that you breed in
tEe minds of your readers is most insincere, deplorable and dastardly in
view of your own financial situation. Your unfair and biased acts in print-
ing news and editorials in the fashion you do, is most insincere, unjust and
despicable. I earnestly hope that many others will do as I
am doing, and not longer continue to support a paper, in any way, which
is guilty of such outrageous attacks on men and money as js yours. I do
not believe in licking the hand that smites me."
Bent, the piano man, then starts in to help make his hope come true by
sending literature to business men pointing out why, in his judgment, Big v
Business should swat the Tribune.
One inclosure that goes with his circular letter to business men is a
large four-page pamphlet addressed to "my fellow members of the Chicago
Association of Commerce and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association."
The heading is: "Think! Speak! Act! God Hates a Coward! How
Much Longer Will You Stand For It!"
The furious Bent then asks the co-operation of his fellow members In ,
the two branches of the Invisible Government, to which the thing is ad
dressed, "in an effort to stop the constant and persistent attempts made by
certain papers, preachers and politicians to discredit us manufacturers and
merchants to discredit corporations and wealth generally."
"The chief sinner in Illinois," says Bent, "is the Chicago Tribune, which
has made its $10,000,000 or $12,000,000 out of the patronage we have given
it. It is a great 'reformer' (?), seemingly 'for revenue only,' but until this
reformer reforms and 'mends Its ways,' it shall have no more money from
me for either its papers or advertising."
Then follows a series of charges against the Tribune, some of which
I believe are true. But that isn't the point. What I want the people to
see is that Big Business really means just what little Bent says. He talked
out loud what most of his kind think.
Here is the threat of Big Business, directed at all who will not bow
down and worship Mammon: