**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


by [?]

Moreover, in a country in which the press is free and newspapers abound, a party which contains a majority of the people cannot fail to have the support of a large and influential portion of the press. Its conductors, though prophets, do not wear camel’s hair, nor is their diet locusts and wild honey. They form part of the community, live among the voters, and share, to a greater or less extent, their prejudices and expectations and sympathies. Every party, therefore, is sure, as long as it has a strong hold on the public, of having a strong hold on the press, and of having a considerable number of the most influential editors among its defenders. One of the sure signs that it is losing its hold on the public is the defection of the press or its growing lukewarmness. Newspapers cannot, perhaps, build a party up or pull one down, but when you see the newspapers deserting a party it is all but proof that the agencies which dissolve a political organization are at work. The successful editors may have no originating power or no organizing power, and no capacity for legislation, and may even want the prophetic instinct; but a certain intuitive sense of the direction in which the tide of popular feeling is running is the principal condition of their success, and an anxious politician may therefore always safely credit them with possessing it. If they had not had it, their papers would not have succeeded.

If the incident or its lessons should result in establishing better relations between political men and the press, the sacrifice of the unfortunate projector of the Republic will, however, be a small price to pay for a great gain. We do not, as our readers know, set up to be champions of the press, and have certainly never shown any disposition to underrate its defects or shortcomings. But there is one thing which no candid and careful observer can avoid seeing, and that is that the press of the country, as an instrument of discussion and popular education, has undergone within twenty years an improvement nothing analogous to which is to be found in the class of politicians. The newspapers are now, in the vast majority of cases in all our leading cities, conducted by men who are familiar with the leading ideas of our time and with the latest advances in science and the art, including the art of government, and who write under the influence of these ideas and these advances, and who have consequently got a standard of efficiency in legislative administration which has not yet made its way into the political class. The result is that, after making all possible allowance for the carelessness and recklessness and dishonesty of reporters, and the personal biases and enmities of editors, the men who carry on the Government, excepting a few experts, have become objects of criticism on the part of the daily press, the depreciatory tone of which is not wholly unjustifiable or unnatural, and politicians repay this contempt with a hatred which is none the less fierce for having no adequate means of expression.