Sunday, August 26, 2018

Timothy Spearman writes

The lure of intellectual prostitution has become so alluring that the mere offer of money or prestige is enough to encourage an undergraduate student or a cub reporter to dissemble and obfuscate, while lying through clenched teeth, because they think it pays, which of course it does, since they pay the price with the loss of their immortal souls, which the prostituted scientist convinces them doesn't exist.


  1. At 13 Scottish immigrant John Swinton became a printer's apprentice in Illinois in 1841, then became a journeyman printer in Montreal in 1843. In 1856 he became manager of the antislavery "Lawrence Republican" in Kansas. In South Carolina he worked as a compositor at the stae printing office (while illegally teaching African Americans how to read). Then he became an editorial writer for the "New York Times" in 1860 and rose to the position of chief editorial writer. In the 1870s he became a free lance journalist, particularly as a contributor to the "New York Tribune," then became an editorial writer for the "New York Sun" from 1875 to 1883. He left to found "John Swinton's Paper," which he published for almost 4 years, refusing to accept financial gifts. Its masthead listed the paper's goals:

    1. Boldly upholding the rights of Man in the American Way.
    2. Battling against the Accumulating Wrongs of Society and Industry.
    3. Striving for the Organization and Interests of Working men and giving the news of the Trades and Unions.
    4. Uniting the Political Forces, searching for a common platform, and giving the new of all the Young Bodies in the field.
    5. Warning the American people against the treasonable and crushing schemes of Millionaires, Monopolists, and Plutocrats...
    6. Looking toward better times of fair play and Public Welfare.

    After his paper went bankrupt he resumed his free lance career before returning to the "New York Sun" editorial staff (1892-1897).

    In 1880, while still with the "Sun," at a press dinner he was asked to make a toast to the independent press:

    “There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same -- his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an 'Independent Press'! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string, and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

  2. Benjamin Day started "The Sun" in 1833, beginning the "penny press" phenomenon that provided affordable newspapers to the masses. It was the 1st paper to hire reporters rather than relying on readers to send in news items or to reprint stories from other papers, and the 1st to report on crimes and personal events such as suicides, deaths, and divorces instead of dealing exclusively with politics and reviews of books and plays. In 1841 Horace Greeley merged his weekly "The New Yorker" with his "Log Cabin" (the Whig party's political organ) to establish the "New-York Daily Tribune." From 1852 to 1862 he retained Karl Marx as the paper's London-based European correspondent. Henry Jarvis Raymond founded the "New-York Daily Times" in 1851 with the public declaration that "We shall be Conservative, in all cases where we think Conservatism essential to the public good;—and we shall be Radical in everything which may seem to us to require radical treatment and radical reform. We do not believe that everything in Society is either exactly right or exactly wrong;—what is good we desire to preserve and improve;—what is evil, to exterminate, or reform."


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