The influence of newspapers…

August 16, 2010 by  
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I’m sure we would all agree with Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1839) that “the pen is mightier than the sword”.  What about the pen as wielded via the text of a newspaper?  Napoleon’s view was that “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets”.  Interesting comment from one of history’s infamous (famous?) sword bearers.  The following editorial note found on the front page of the June 17, 1867 issue of the Bethlehem Daily Times (PA) provides affirmation of this view:

However, lest we become overly fearful of the devastation such influence  has upon our thinking, Erasmus (1571) provides us with a word of encouragement to the contrary:   “There is no sword to be feared more than the Learned pen”.  Perhaps we are safe.  🙂

Did you notice the 1867 price for the issue shown at the top of the image?  Apparently, if the average person was inclined to be paid “a penny for their thoughts”, newspaper editors believed their thoughts were worth double.

With the ever-decreasing circulations of newspapers, I wonder what the equivalent form of influence is today… and will be 10 years from now???

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2 Responses to “The influence of newspapers…”

  1. Morris on August 16th, 2010 9:00 pm

    No matter how news or editorial opinion is conveyed ten years from now, if no one really believes what is written, then what will be the meaning of it all.

    When the printed word of truth is converted to “newspeak” or the words becomes so politically correct that they lose all meaning, then the printed word will no longer be mightier than the sword.

    When text or video is edited to the point that we cannot tell truth from lies or fiction, as was recently demonstrated with the case of Shirley Sherrod, then truth is laid to rest and liberty and justice are entombed .

    So hold onto those historic newspapers so you can show your grandchildren what it was like when truth was king and justice prevailed.


  2. GuyHeilenman on August 17th, 2010 9:53 am

    Thanks Morris. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated, and unfortunately, right on target.

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