I believe the true value of any publication is determined...


I believe the true value of any publication is determined by the extent to which it cooperates in bringing out the high ideals of our three greatest institutions, which are Christianity, our homes where purity, culture, and refinement prevail, and our well-conducted schools. I regard newspapers as important factors in this great educational system, and the dispensing of news as consequential only in so far as serving to advantage there. It seems to me that any agency, whether it be a newspaper, a government, or aught else, cannot hope to endure in our enlightened land in disagreement with the high ideals of the three great institutions on which we rely for upbuilding our morals and sound character.

I have been much interested in the views of Prof. Grant M. Hyde, of the University of Wisconsin, who recommends that newspaper reading be studied in every high school and college. He said, "If we are to have better newspapers, a better community, a better government, we must train a generation of young people to demand better newspapers, and if it is right to encourage systematic home study of current, clean literature, including newspapers, it is also right to foster the same idea, at the proper time, in our schools. And while we are considering that which is good for the children, let us be fully aware that whatever is right for them is also right for adults. That which is good and right in the home and school must be so everywhere, and we ought not to encourage, away from home, a standard we would not freely recommend for our families." Some claim the publishing of crime news has a beneficial effect in that it tends to check evil. As a student of mental cause and effect, I decline this theory. From a metaphysical viewpoint, it is known that the continued persual of crime news by the weak-minded does not appeal to the moral sensibilities they may possess. Desiring to know of the experiences of police officials, I have made inquiry of some of them. They have told me they regard the publication of crime news as a means of encouraging crime, and say they believe this to be the general view of police officials. They tell me they have many times observed, soon after the widespread publication of details of a shocking act, a noticeable tendency to commit similar infractions of the law. Furthermore, they tell me the publication of crime news, year after year, serves to create disrespect for the law, and to make even the better class of citizens more or less indifferent to the evils besetting us. I have myself heard those convicted of crime attribute their downfall partly to the vivid mental pictures gleaned from sensational reports in newspapers.

October 10, 1925

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