The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, June 01, 1899, Image 10

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During the past year one branch of the press has been wonder
fully developed. The demand of the American public for some
thing new,—the desire for the sensational has produced about a
score of " yellow journals " in the United States. They have
come to be a power because they have money and brains at their
command. Those who control them claim that they are the
" people's papers,"—that they expose the wickedness, selfishness
and monopolies of the rich, uphold the rights of the down-trodden;
and bring about reforms to benefit the masses. But they have
done so much evil in proportion to the little good, that they have
fallen far short of the lofty standard which may have been estab
lished for them. By swindling the people on manufactured war
news, by attacking the President and the War Department, they
have called down on themselves the condemnation of the educated
classes. The Spanish war, many wise-headed people believe, was
brought on by " yellow journalism," and when the Executive
was pondering thoughtfully over questions of vital interest,
dozens of patriotic stay-at-home editors could have piloted the
" Ship of State " into the harbor of Victory and Peace.
In Europe the American press is judged by " yellow journal
ism." Europeans believe the typical American to be a boasting,
boisterous, and vain-glorious fellow, with no respect for others
and little or none for himself. Judging from the " yellow jour
nals," they could form no other opinion.
A reform is necessary. Papers print what will sell. The press
is a thermometer by which can be measured the degree of sensa
tionalism which is prevalent. If the people want a conservative
press, they can have it; if the people want " yellow journalism,"
they can have it. It is the people who are responsible for the
abuse of the press.
Shall we continue then to be the laughing stock of the nations with
our " yellow journalism " and lack of seriousness when we, our
selves, have the power to improve the state. of affairs ? How can
we have good officials so long as we fail to give our heartiest sup
port and good-will to • those. who have been selected by sus ? 'lf
our officials .prove themselves unworthy of the trust that has been
committed to. them, we have means by which they can be re
moved. But no amount of bombast ,and ridicule will produce any
definite result other than to stir up strife and envy, and catise the
false and corrupt to cover itself with .bribery and secrecy. An