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Operation Mockingbird in the 19th Century


John Simkin
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John Swinton was a journalist who worked for the New York Times. Just before he died in 1901 he said: "There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy 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. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

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John Swinton was a journalist who worked for the New York Times. Just before he died in 1901 he said: "There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy 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. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

"... There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. ...".

John" Would you say the 'gate keepers' of the media, create the history we record and report in our research to the generation of today?

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Guest Tom Scully

John,

John Swinton, that socialist? Why post about him? He took up the cause of labor, over capitalism. We are conditioned in America to frown upon such ideas.

According to his obituary in the NY Times, "...held a position as chief editorial writer.....He remained with this newspaper from 1860 to 1870."

Swinton made the speech you've quoted from, in 1883, as he was launching a plan to pubilsh his own newspaper, it lasted four years.

http://books.google.com/books?q=%22Labor%2...nG=Search+Books

Labor's untold story‎ - Page 82

Richard Owen Boyer, Herbert Montfort Morais - Business & Economics - 1975 - 402 pages

... Suppose the ideas of these hapless people were the sort

which editors and policemen call 'communistic,' does anybody suppose that

the thing can be scribbled out of their hearts or clubbed out of their heads ?

Shortly after his response to the toast to the Independent Press Swinton

resigned his editorship and started his own newspaper, a weekly called John

Swinton ...

http://books.google.com/books?cd=2&q=%...nG=Search+Books

Forerunners of revolution: muckrakers and the American social conscience‎ - Page 24

Walter M. Brasch - Social Science - 1990 - 197 pages

... attended by leaders of New York journalism to honor him, he turned his

attack not to the injustices of American society, but to the abuse of authority.

...

Limited preview

http://books.google.com/books?id=ybszAAAAM...;q=&f=false

A momentous question: the respective attitudes of labor and capital

John Swinton - Pullman Strike, 1894

http://books.google.com/books?id=t9gpAAAAY...mon&f=false

Career and conversation of John Swinton, journalist, orator, economist‎ - Page 24

Robert Waters - Biography & Autobiography - 1902 - 84 pages

This may give the reader some idea of something Swinton was very fond of —

winding ... Mammon has more worshippers to-day than all the other gods together.

John Swinton's December 16, 1901, NY Times Obituary.:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html...9649D946097D6CF

Edited by Tom Scully
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John,

John Swinton, that socialist? Why post about him? He took up the cause of labor, over capitalism. We are conditioned in America to frown upon such ideas.

According to his obituary in the NY Times, "...held a position as chief editorial writer.....He remained with this newspaper from 1860 to 1870."

Swinton made the speech you've quoted from, in 1883, as he was launching a plan to pubilsh his own newspaper, it lasted four years.

According to this source the speech took place in 1880:

http://www.constitution.org/pub/swinton_press.htm

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John" Would you say the 'gate keepers' of the media, create the history we record and report in our research to the generation of today?

I think the internet has undermined the power of the mass media. Therefore I do not think it has as much power as it did in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Despite what he said about the freedom of the press, it was claimed: "It was his boast that he never, no matter what the ideas of his employers were, wrote a line contrary to his honest convictions as uttered on the stump."

I have created a web page for John Swinton:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAswintonJ.htm

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Very interesting. I think today that Psychological Warfare plays a very important and powerful role in controlling and misleading the masses in general. It has also been said that "history is written by the winners". I agree also that the internet has undermined the mass media and/or ruling establishment. Their inability to fully fully maintain and control it will certainly be their undoing.

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