Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1943 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
HOW PUBLIC OPINION IS MOLDED BY THE
PUBLICATION OF SELECTED OPINIONS
BY N. D. COCHRAN
I will discuss today how loop newspapers influence public sentiment by
giving publicity onlyto. selected opinions.
In every city there are a few men whose opinions are sought on public
questions and policies. Each newspaper has its pets who are interviewed
when the editor thinks the time propitious for molding public opinion a
certain way. (
In Chicago, for example, there are a few financial authorities, headed
by Reynolds of the Continental & Commercial group of banks, and James
Forgan of the First National bank group. People have been taught to be
lieve that what these few men say on finance, business and government is
the law and the gospel.
Yet these individuals represent very few people in Chicago. They rep
resent money and property bondholders, stockholders, manufacturers,
jobbers, merchants, business.
By no stretch of the imagination can either Reynolds or Forgan be
said to represent the hundreds of thousands of men, women and even chfl-
dren who work for a living. The very nature of their business money )
lending makes it impossible for them to know or understand the hundreds
of thousands who have no collateral to put up for a loan.
And just as Reynolds and Forgan represent money and property and i
men with collateral so do John Fitzpatrick and Ed Nockels. president and
secretary of the Chicago Federation of Labor, represent men, women and
Do the newspapers ever interview Fitzpatrick or Nockels on any pub-'
lie problem that affects the lives of the men, women and children who ARE
Much space is given to the number of cattle, sheep and hogs killed at
the stockyards, and to the price of beef, pork, mutton, lard and sausage. '
Information on food has become so scientific that the news is printed in
fractions. Yet how much space is given to the human market, the labor
Is it more important for the people to know the wholesale price of
beef to the fraction of a cent than whether girls in a department store are .
paid a wage the'y can live on?
Is the price of a calf on the hqof more important than the price of a
man, woman or child?
Almost daily you may read in the newspapers what some automobile
salesman thinks about the car he is trying to sell, or the outlook for busi- '
ness in autos this year.
But how often do you read anything helpful about what chance a work
ing man has to sell his -labor in 1915? Or what chance his wife and chil
dren will have to keep from starvation?
The Chicago Association of Commerce is an organization of employ-"
ers of labor; and the newspapers attach much importance to what the
organization or its officers think about; proposed legislation.
Probably for each member of that organization there are in Chicago
several hundred men and several thousand people whose lives are influ- '
enced by the wages those members pay. How often do the newspapers"