The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878

By Mark Wahlgren Summers | Go to book overview
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EPILOGUE Final Edition

For the postwar generation of journalists, no lachrymose obituary need be written, and encomiums on their own behalf they had written quite enough of already. Too long have studies of newspaper history centered their attention on the publishers and editors-in-chief rather than on the men and women who worked for them, on the importance of gathering news rather than the quality of that news once gathered, and on the energy of the press rather than its malice; with honorable exceptions, scholars have overlooked the relationship between nineteenth-century reporters and the politicians with whom they dealt.

To describe that relationship, bias is too gentle and general a term. When "Mack" published interviews with President Andrew Johnson, he served as the knowing propaganda outlet for a beleaguered official; but when he worked behind the scenes to keep one of the president's Senate supporters sober for the impeachment vote, he became an active agent in making the news he was employed to report. 1 It was behavior no different from that of Horace Greeley and Charles A. Dana soliciting patronage posts for themselves, or Manton Marble writing Democratic platforms. But in each case, it affected

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