Jack Swinton on the Controlled Media


History repeats itself...

John Swinton emigrated to Canada from Scotland and, later, to the United States. He began his journalistic career by contributing articles to the New York Times, whereupon he was eventually offered a position on the editorial staff. Working his way up, he became managing editor of the New York Times, and, later, managing editor of the New York Sun.

Swinton is well known for a speech that he gave one night at a dinner that was given in his honor in 1880. A colleague toasted the independence of the press and Swinton was quick to respond with the following:

"There is no such thing, at this date 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 dares to 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 opinion 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 so 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 paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

"The business of the journalists 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 tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. 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."

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)


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