Taking the daily press as a whole, let us first look at its objectionable features.
Most daily papers are more or less political, supporting one or the other political party. There is nothing to object to in this, so long as they are truthful and fair-minded in their advocacy of their own party’s policy, and their criticism of political opponents. But many papers adopt unscrupulous methods, and deliberately misrepresent the policy and action of the opposite Party, and suppress or twist facts with the object of producing in their readers’ minds an entirely false impression. Unscrupulous editors know how to do this without incurring legal penalties; but their papers none the less act like poison on public opinion. Some papers, in order to be popular and widely read, deliberately pander to the lower passions of the people. They know that the average newspaper readers are not attracted by good literature, serious and moderate political reasoning, and articles on serious subjects; what they want is something sensational and exciting.
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So these papers fill their columns with detailed accounts of divorce cases (the more indecent the better), highly coloured stories of murders and other crimes, sensational descriptions of horrible accidents, society scandal, and obscene jokes. Such papers do untold harm, and tend to sap the morality of a nation. Happily there are many papers that maintain a high standard, and that are without these objectionable features. In politics, they are serious, fair-minded, sincere and wise; and do much to form public opinion in favour of what is really best for the nation. Such papers do much to lead the people in the right direction.
Instead of filling their columns with sensational horrors, they provide interesting articles on social reforms, discoveries and explorations, literary articles, reviews of books, and high classification. Good newspapers, also, have often done noble service in drawing attention to public abuses and social wrongs, and so have brought about very useful and necessary reforms.