Syllabus on International Relations

By Parker Thomas Moon; Institute of International Education (New York, N.Y.) | Go to book overview
Inevitable ignorance regarding secret diplomacy.

Accounts of outbreak of war in 1914 as an illustration of incompleteness of information offered by press.

c. Prejudice and partisanship.

Frank partisanship of most newspapers and many magazines.

Tendency of correspondents of newspapers to introduce partisanship into news dispatches by choice of adjectives, by introductory "interpretation" of the news, by sarcasm, by omitting facts contrary to their own or editor's views.

Influence of cartoons in giving prejudiced and distorted view of news.

d. Influence of business interests

Coloring and selection of news by news agencies.

Editors' fear of printing news which will antagonize readers, diminish circulation, or alienate advertisers.

Occasional interference of financial backers, owners, or advertisers, with editorial policy.


B. OTHER AGENCIES OF INFORMATION AND MISINFORMATION.
1. Government publications.
a. Publication of treaties and of some diplomatic notes as a regular practice of most governments--value of U. S. Treaty Series; Foreign Relations; British and Foreign State Papers; British Command Papers; French Yellow Books, etc.
b. Tendency of governmental publications, especially in war, to distort the facts.
i. Sins of omission, examples:

Incompleteness of German White Book, which purported to contain the truth about the outbreak of the Great War, but omitted incriminating documents.

Publication of innocuous agreement by France and England in 1904, but non-publication of secret articles regarding Egypt and Morocco (see above, Part 3).

Non-publication of secret treaties defining war aims by Allies during Great War.

ii. Exaggerations.

Italian note to Turkey, Sept. 28, 1911, claiming that economic development of Tripoli was "a vital interest of the very first order" to Italy.

German official statements since the Peace Conference, exaggerating Germany's inability to pay reparations.

Official communiques regarding "victories."

iii. Errors.

Premier Giolitti's statement ( Dec. 5, 1914) that Austria proposed attack on Serbia in August, 1913 (really July, 1913, see Pribram, Secret Treaties, II, 176).

Error of date in French Yellow Book concerning outbreak of Great War.

iv. Deliberate misrepresentation.

German official statement in White Book of 1914 that France had attacked Germany.

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