Chapter published in The Organic State, 233–278. New York: Cabinet of News, 1897
News answers to the demand for sensation as knowledge of order in life. The most ordinary view of this demand in the State is in the questions, instinct with everybody: “What is it? What is it for?” What a thing or a circumstance is, what it is for, involves the action of a thing in its relations in life; and ordered news, or knowledge, about anything is simply the statement of its phases of action in relation to full action. Carrying this view out, the simple conclusion results that the absolute news or sensation about anything is the absolute unity of it, as in economic relations to the wider action which we know as the State. The easiest and most concrete view of it, the easiest definition of absolute news, comes thus to be the reporting of things according to people’s interests. This is the showing of how far a thing shapes itself to what men want. In reporting a thing, giving the sensation about it, Letters tells how far it approaches usefulness, or division of labor.
In general, to report a thing as to the degree in which it approaches order, we have to indicate its qualities relative to economic demand. To report a thing as it is, it has to be measured by full usefulness, so far as the latter may be known in experience. Letters is the practical business of reporting things on this formula and cannot transcend what is known, or actual. That is, Letters can only report what it knows. But to be practical Letters must report what it knows, must report a thing in its completeness so far as experience has determined it. For Letters to falsify experience in reporting life, by adding to or by taking away, is for it to falsify itself. Letters is in so far not Letters—having in so far vitiated its place in life as action. We should be able to find the reality of the report in any incident which occurs—we need not care what.
There is a brand of mucilage containing fish glue now gaining way into more or less common use so far as it comes to people’s notice through a limited distribution and publicity. There are certain facts about this mucilage which may be given as making the main of its absolute news. They all relate to its usefulness. The first is that, once dry, it sticks better than the gum arabic mucilage. Next, it is lasting, less easily affected by weather; it does not soften in damp like other brands of mucilage upon the market which have saccharine quality and so tend to collect moisture after once being dried—it is not a water collector, as the chemist says. In so far experience shows this brand to be an advance; and in so far we have the absolute report about it. Proceeding with our news, we inquire if the mucilage is commercial in respect to the amount of labor involved in it. If it cannot be put to the consumer at a price which warrants its general consumption, then it is out of economic relation. Men cannot generally use things if the amount of labor in them, represented by the price, means exhaustion of time and effort so far as to disjoint life. If so much labor has got to be put into the procurement and manufacture of a mucilage, for instance, that men as a whole have to work excessive hours to support it, or have to deny themselves considerable in food, sleep, and clothing, then it does not have economic relation to the whole as commerce and its limitations are accordingly set down. In this the course of the report, the absolute news, would have to be that it is lacking in the essential of the unity of life—the practical statement of this being that it is too expensive for use. On the other hand, investigations into this phase of its unity, or usefulness, might show that it saved at a very small cost of service a product that had hitherto in part gone to waste. Inquiry might show that used alone or forming the basis for certain grades of mucilage it tended to cheapen the whole product in the average cost, while at the same time, if we are correct, going to help the quality. The unified report has therefore to state that it saves labor and gives corresponding advantage in life—in the practical language of trade, that it cheapens the cost of the product. A fact adverse to its usefulness is its somewhat bad odor. While this does not keep it from the writing table, it is against its use at the point of greatest ease; many sensitive nerves would be unable to use it at all. In this count the report has to state that the product is not in the last degree a useful one—simply that it lacks good odor. Looking further, Letters inquires as to the unity of the distribution, that is, whether handled at cost. Investigation here shows that, cheap as it apparently is, it is selling at more than double its cost. The bottle, with brush, costs half a cent; the mucilage itself costs less than half a cent. Transportation and an organized counter should add approximately a cent to this, making the total cost, say, two cents. In the light of this news, people who buy the mucilage and pay five to ten cents per bottle become aware of their status in life as affected by it, or the division of labor it represents. They know how far they are living under just conditions. The further development of the report is that the State does not arrest the “traders,” explaining that pillage by the so-called margin is a present condoned disorder. Touching this, the report makes clear that if thieving be put out in one direction it must tend to be put out in all directions. If the State organizes against taking money in one direction without working for it, without equal exchange of value, it must needs organize against it in other directions. Letters has to show that the attendant conditions to the unity of a bottle of mucilage at cost, two cents, is railroad fares at one cent, or at cost, telegrams at approximately a cent, houses at fifty cents a week, sugar at two cents a pound, etc. And this in one outlook measurably covers the report on the bottle of mucilage.
It must be gathered from this that News does not need at every turn to obtrude in its reports the principle, or tool, by which it interprets, or gives sensation—rather, it for the most part conveys the principle, as operative, or applied, by giving the good or bad qualities of a thing, being its action viewed from every side. Thus, the simple statement about the mucilage—that it is wearable, double price and of bad odor—conveys to man its economics. At once, the sensation is whether it fits or disagrees with their needs—the measure of unity. The sensation about the murder case, again, is that the murderer is found or that he is not. In one case it fits men's needs and in the other case it does not. Thus, the murder report carries on its face the economic fact. In general, people understand murder in its principle—that it is hurtful to society. This has been so effectively raised up in cases that it has become common knowledge, or is common instinct. To formalize the principle, or harm of it, would not be news. It is only the new detail, the new murder, that is news, the public applying the well-known principle themselves. In the case of the action which is the margin of profit, men may not at first understand its principle, its harm to society, until it is carried out in action. In which case its harm is seen as readily as in the case of the murder. Obviously, in any report, the fuller explanation is to show how a thing acts in all its effects, which is to say, its relations; and is fuller news.
The ample sensation, or unity, of the report is, evidently, its qualification of men’s wellbeing—that men see in it on the one hand the way to improve their conditions, or on the other hand, find that they have attained to well being. In other words, the realization of the report shows the way to be free, or, it tells that freedom is attained.
The full sensation, or unity, of the above report is that it carries the way to freedom for men. They see that transportation at cost will go a long way to help mucilage at cost. The most casual mind gets the inference of moving to aid government ownership of railroads—the way to freedom.
To gain the other aspect of the full realization in report, we may suppose that the development in life has gone on until investigation shows that the mucilage is the best that man thinks to produce; and that on the side of its distribution it is passing over the counter in that further quality of relation which is strictly cost. The fuller unity, or sensation, of the report is, in this view, the knowledge of the full usefulness of the mucilage, of man’s perfect relation to it—that, as affected by it, he has reached the point of greatest ease. The sensation is, in fine, to give man the consciousness that he is free.
To extend the illustration of the unified news, we may suppose that people want to know the reality of the man of leisure. The report must measure him by the absolute relation in life—division of labor. And, in the practical, we know how far he lessens or increases the bondage of men if we see him in the concrete relation which is the price of any article of commerce. We may take the man of leisure who is loafing on the accumulated margins lifted from trade by his ancestor. Measured by the absolute, the man is holding other men in bondage in so far as he does not perform his proportionate share of work. The amount in which he enslaves another man is a matter of ready figures; for, if there are two men out of five idle then the three men who work must increase their labor two-fifths and the average of bondage placed upon men is forty per cent, as over the normal claim of the State upon them. The man who need only work four or five hours a day on a normal footing is bound to work eight or ten under the conditions which do not equalize labor. The practical form which this bondage takes under present organization is the increased cost of products, necessary to support the fiction of interest or other margin in the employment of so-called capital, the device of the man of leisure for taxing a certain number of men who are from two-fifths to one-half his slaves. To pay the fiction of “profit on capital” by which this man lives in leisure we have the increased price on commodities. And the man who pays a multiple advance on his transportation or on his clothes or house or mucilage, may trace a large portion of it as the measure of his bondage to the disorganic man. Like the other, the sensation of the unified report regarding the man of leisure is that it points the way to freedom for men. It points the way how to get rid of the slave-driver who, in the guise of phrase, is the man of a fortune. We, of course, get rid of him in the ultimate and absolute by organizing the Exchange so that he is unable to tax anyone beyond his exact division of labor, raising him into the common fortunes of men. We know that an advance toward this is organization in any direction subjecting the individual to the control of the Whole.
A phase of life which under a unified report results in a reduction like that of the man of leisure, is the man who through spoliation by margins spends his money under conditions of non-production. To take extreme example, we have the man of large “income” in some cases supporting a stable of fifty racing and carriage horses and keeping in one or another capacity a score of men in their care, that is, in more immediate support of this one man’s part in the extravagant play which culminates in the race track or the fox hunt. Allowing for the developing of the higher qualities in horseflesh, which it is claimed is the product of these stables, they must in ninety per cent of the labor employed be found wholly unproductive. If we consider the large element given to the so-called sporting institution which centers in the play mentioned, we have essentially several hundreds of practically idle men involved in the conditions of one man’s prehension by margin. This feature of life is multiplied in all the discussions of the non-productive employment of money. We find it in the yacht of the millionaire, taking the labor in many instances, directly or indirectly, of a hundred men. It is said that Mr. Vanderbilt’s yacht carries fifty seamen besides his chef and retinue of servants. And there are the princely estates rising in various directions over the country. Mr. Rockefeller, a little above New York on the Hudson, has taken out of production a thousand acres, answering in so far to the baronial estates of the older feudalism. The newspapers report that Mr. Rockefeller is putting into the support of his palace and grounds something like two million days of labor at the outset, figuring it on the average price of labor, which at the present time approximates a dollar. We have another phase in the appropriation of transportation to peculiar private uses. One of the Gould family recently made up a party in a special train for a run across the continent.2 With the labor drawn upon in the non-productive employment of building a dozen private coaches and the labor of the vineyards for champagne, in amounts corresponding to several thousand days, and the use of railroad service and its army of men, we have, in a realization of the one reduction, the conditions of alarming disunity in the commonwealth, a frightful dismemberment of democracy. These conditions of non-union and disloyalty in the State carried to full computation make for practical idleness, for non-production, of from one-third to one-half its members, as sustaining no unified relation in life. The man who finds himself a slave to ten hours of labor, when five should be his limit, sees his bondage directly in these conditions of betrayal of the State. The claim that capital in its forms of non-productive use is beneficial to the laboring man has, in the unified report, to be revised to read that it is of doubtful benefit to laboring men to have disorder sack them of the product of their work in order that they may be held to the slavery of double time and all the conditions of stringency which come as the outgrowth of disunity in the social. The organic news regarding the man of leisure and the kindred reductions is, then, that they increase prices, starve our children, double our day’s work and breed disloyalty and anarchy.
As phase of demand in the State men want to know the unity of breathing—What it is?—What it is for? Letters has long worked at the drawing up of this report. It was very much helped by the chemist Priestly, who made record of his experience regarding the phenomenon of combustion. He found that there was a specific element in the air which we know as oxygen, and that combustion was the process of the chemical union of this oxygen with elements in substances like wood, that burn. It is now known that the different forms of erosion or decay, like rust and wood-rot, under exposure of substances to air and moisture, are different forms of this combustion, or oxidation. Along with this experience, or discovery, it was found that breathing is the process of conveying air to the blood for the combustion of the body. The blood, curtained from the air in the lungs by scarcely tangible membrane, gives up in carbonic acid certain burned debris of the body, and takes on oxygen for conveyance to all parts of the body in the continued life process. The heat and health of the body it was found had its dependence upon the combustion which resulted from oxygen supplied by breathing. In this first cast of the unity of the report we see man’s breathing connected widely with all process of life and change. In its further reduction, as coming up through this, we have to describe a phase of its unity as having its practical effect in the organization and liberation of man. The first effect, as so far described, of course makes for the liberty of man in his mental enlargement and order. But there is a reduction which directly shapes his material surroundings and in added effect frees him. And, while the unity of knowledge in relation to man’s experience with oxygen builds for the material organization in chemistry and other lines of trade, we may keep to that effect of it which directly touches the point of view with which we started, namely, breathing as life process of men. Through knowledge here the architect is able to organize his phase of life with relation to the number of cubic feet of air which a room must supply to a person. This question is reduced to a simple mathematical problem, so that neither the architect nor the State at large are longer hampered by conditions of ignorance respecting it. Thus, in two aspects we have gathered the reduction of breathing into its unity, or news—into its qualification of freedom, the highest sensation for man.
Demand in the State could ask to have measured the unphonetic spelling as taught in the schools. We have in the first instance of the reduction to see that the unphonetic spelling violates the whole organization of the school. Education has its basis of order in the logical process of mind. The unphonetic spelling is strictly a violation of this. It may be said that teaching the unphonetic spelling is the induction of the child into illogical method, which the attendant machinery and more advanced work of the school attempts to reverse. But there remains the lamentable condition that the illogical process is ever with the child, working indirection and discomfiture of mind. In further reduction, we have the enormous waste to child and teacher of this lesion of the system. It is probably an under-estimate to say that one-third of the time of child and teacher is wasted on the illogical method of the word—not to go beyond and into the sentence. It is hardly a contradiction of this to bring the claim that the illogical spelling has in it the logic of preserving derivation; this is preserved for those who have need of it by the very simple process of the book of reference.
There has been a demand in the State, wellnigh universal with men from the beginning of knowledge, to know the unity of mind and matter—of the “spirit and the flesh.” The unity of such report has waited upon experience in the region of psychology, as also of physics. The need has been to get the relation or dependence of mind upon matter, and vice versa. We have seen a phase of the development of this report rising through Hegel, Caird, and other students as men of Letters. And latterly we have had its reduction to stable and more practical unity through advancing the language of mind to motion. As reducing to commerce, we may gain its final aspect of unity. This is the waste it saves. It disposes of the church as a distinct institution in life, freeing a misapplied energy for whatever useful function it may find. It disposes of the church because the “spirit” and “morals” which the church essayed to treat attains rational explanation, beyond any call upon the pulpit. In so far as the preacher has adaptability for explaining the unity of life he reduces to the man of Letters. Where he has not the capacity of rational report, he is distributed into other callings.
News organizes on the divisions of labor representing the different fields of technical knowledge entering into the complete report. A while ago dispatches appeared in some of the leading Eastern newspapers, the New York Herald among others, depicting a case of partial asphyxiation of a carload of people through the accidental inhaling of ether. The circumstances according to the dispatches were that a surgeon had boarded a train at Syracuse, on the New York Central, on his way to a neighboring town to perform an operation. It was said that the can of ether which he carried was uncorked by the jolting of the train and within a few seconds all the passengers in the car were close upon suffocation, being only saved from speedy death by the fortunate appearance of the brakeman, who came to the door to cry his station. The account stated that but for this timely arrival there would have been a carload of dead passengers. The brakeman was represented as assisting resuscitation by opening car windows and fanning passengers. A multitude of people who read the report credited implicitly the statements which it contained. A newspaper editor went so far as to comment on the carelessness of the surgeon in carrying a can of ether liable to become uncorked. The lack of unity, or truthfulness, in the report as it went through the news channels is traceable to the fact that there was no division of labor in its treatment by a man having technical knowledge of medicine and the well-known conditions of anaesthetization. The facts in the case related are, in the first place, that ether is usually carried about by surgeons in close soldered cans, without corks. The further facts are that to etherize a patient a tolerably close-fitting cap has to be shut down on his face and the fluid continuously dripped upon it. In most cases two or three strong persons are required to hold the subject while he is coming under the influence of the drug. The doctor considers himself fortunate if he is not longer than ten or fifteen minutes in bringing his patient under. Had the report in its movement through News been referred to the merest novice in technical knowledge of medicine it would have been stopped.
The present post office building in Chicago, which is generally known to be going to pieces, and recently pronounced unsafe, is a witness to the lack of technical division of labor in reporting. When this structure was erecting in the middle seventies there was a great deal said by the Chicago newspapers and by dispatches over the country about the inadequacy of the foundations. But it took the form of indefinite general statements and surmise, removed from qualified evidence sustaining the charge. No sufficient and incontrovertible facts were put out. Added to this, some newspapers contradicted the charge of unsubstantial work on the building. These latter statements were likewise short of adequate particulars. In the confusion, the general public was left without any understanding of the matter. Mr. Mullett, the architect, went on with the job to meet the after deplorable facts in the case. The need of publicity was for technical knowledge of the actual conditions of the fraud going on in the foundation ditches. At the time there were in the vicinity easily some score of competent engineers and architects who could have told exactly the fault with the first stone of the foundations and of every subsequent item in the building. Organization which would have united news in employment of one or more of these men in constant watchfulness of construction to report defect in its smallest item, would have enabled the public to fix the responsibility for the offence. In the aftermath we of course have knowledge of the failure of the building and the loss of its million days’ labor, but too late for efficient placing of blame.
So far as development has carried it, News now acts on the recognition of the principle. It is the prevailing practice at newspaper offices to turn on to reports men who have a special or technical knowledge fitting the requirements. If a man is to be sent out for a report on some happening in water circles, the managing editor takes a reporter who has shown a readiness in these things. It often develops that a report of this kind requires the labor of several men, each having adaptability of knowledge for one of its several phases. Though the newspaper offices are not always organized for efficiency on this principle they work to it as much as they can. A ship one time arrived in the harbor of New York with most of its crew dead or prostrate from scurvy. A leading New York newspaper in making up its report turned in what it called its marine reporter, as man in charge of the case. This reporter was instructed to call in any other available men on the paper. Before the news was supplied there had been brought into the work a medical attache of the paper and a marine lawyer. In supplementary news on the matter, physicians and marine lawyers were interviewed, their statements being in effect a division of labor in the news. The medical reporter on the paper and the marine lawyer substantially organized this part of the report. The result was a measurably unified presentation of the news of the plagued ship. The outcome found the captain essentially convicted of man-slaughter in failure to furnish the proper ingredient of vegetable in the ship’s food.
We see the recognition by the public of this principle of division of labor, in its demand upon the newspaper for technical news. A man recently wrote to one of the New York dailies asking if they wouldn’t find for the public the truth or falsity of the talk about beer being adulterated. He wanted to be able to buy a glass of some brand of beer with a knowledge of its purity. The correspondent asked the newspaper to have the several brands analyzed and reported upon. He asked also that experts in knowledge of beer-making be put to watch the whole process of manufacture from day to day and report the breweries making good beer. It was suggested that manufacturers who wouldn’t allow close inspection of this kind would prima facie stand before the public as adulterers of beer. It was submitted by the correspondent that the money which the paper paid to its editors for talking around the facts of life could be employed in actually reporting a few things like this. There has been the same demand for knowledge as to the adulteration of other foods. And people have recently asked the newspapers to ascertain through expert navigators and engineers the truth of the statement that ocean steamships were running at a dangerously high rate of speed. And the demand, of course, more or less universally exists to know the actual cost at the present time of a glass of beer, a loaf of bread, a pound of nails, a watch, a bicycle, a ride to Liverpool or San Francisco, a coat, a bonnet—both from the standpoint of the profit margin and of the exchange at cost. People would like to know the actual cost on these lines of everything they buy. In short, they demand the News in all fields.
The U.S. Census Report, though nominally apart from the regular organization of news, is in reality a phase of it. In making this report the government may be regarded as engaged in supplementing deficiencies of newspaper organization. The parallel is exactly as though the railroads were deficient in fuel and cars and the government voted them gratuitous supplies helping out the lack. We see marked division of labor on technical lines in this report. A Commissioner of Education standing for the Educational Report, gets out his specific part of this news. Similarly we have the Agricultural Report and the Fisheries. And there is the report of the Commissioner of Labor. The state bureaus of statistics issuing their technical reports are likewise essentially a division of News.
The consciousness of the newspapers as to the principle has some indication in the way in which they blazon their more specialized reports. They put upon the front of their paper in their bold type announcements of these reports, emphasizing technical phases of the news which their enterprise has secured. That they are partly conscious of need of organization under the principle seems also apparent in the specific praise which they take to themselves for rising to technical division of labor in such cases as may chance.
News has its organ of centralization, or head, in a Cabinet of Intelligence composed of men representing technical knowledge of the various fields of industry; this is the method of the fuller report and provides representation of the interests of each Class in the State. In looking for the working centralization of Intelligence, we sound publicity for phase of outgiving which shapes the utterance of News in its body as a whole. It is to be found in any direction yielding some principle which shapes news, whether occurring in newspapers, so-called books or upon the platform. News does not get its innate character from its mouthpiece, but from the nature of the utterance. We look at the publicity in the late political canvass.
The St. Louis Convention of 1896—the National Republican Party—was marked by the inertia of old forms of social forces which persist until the issue is clearly drawn against them as element obstructive to advance. This convention marked the cleavage in the conscious action of the nation between the radically obstructive elements and the forming order. The adduction which brought it together had nothing of the gravity of a principle striving to shape the out moving forces. It was rather that amazing chemical process of the State in which the old base, becoming weakened in its hold upon the economic life, is attacked by the element of fixation. The resulting immobility is the precipitate separating itself from the fluid of social action. The destiny of the failing thing is a new resolution of being, but through decay in its isolation from life. The weight of utterance delivered in the Convention was the moulding into doctrine of a past nodding to its fall. When the mallet rapped the Convention to order, the nation was fretting in disunion; America was a disunited commerce. The center of the nation, New York, had severed the provinces from itself by phenomenal levy of transportation and other tolls under the margin concept. Communication between all parts of the country had similarly been cut. Exchange, having its center in the New York Clearing House, was bleeding the extremities of the country into the East. There was the disunion of reciprocal flow in exchange between the center and the provinces that is marked by the hot head and cold feet. The reform looking to restoration of loyalty between the sections could hardly lie in an application of the leech of a dishonest Bourse. It could not lie in the dogmatic retention of methods which had passed their life and become irritant. The remedy lay in the removal in some degree of the levy upon commerce, and the recognition of the organizing industries. The reform was in part in so simple a thing as transportation and communication at cost through the proposition to government ownership of railroads and telegraphs. And in another direction it was so simple a thing as the proposition looking to arbitration in industrial spasms. But this was the abdication of all that the Convention was. It was the resignation of the king. The Convention was organized by the constabulary of the disloyal forces that had dismembered the nation. It was officered by the instruments of the private interest and it attended upon the king’s extremities. Advised by the mediaeval chiefs it recast into inflexible assertion measures which had come to be ruinous to the people. The Convention in the sum of its action had come to accept and enact into design the growing breach in exchange, having its effect in “making the rich richer and the poor poorer” and discarding every principle tending to resolve them into the fraternity of equal exchange and freed commerce. The body of the convention was brought from the ward tricksters in every locality—men with a reputation among their neighbors for extreme partizanship [sic] or for sale of political service. The mediaeval secrecy cloaked the proceedings. Bribes whispered in the lobbies.
In the Chicago Convention3 of the succeeding days of the summer, we have the contrast of a body gathered in openness and freedom to abjure the decadent concepts; they had met to throw over the obstructive measures. The next thing to knowing positive conditions of order is to arrive at certitude of the conditions of disorder. It may be said that the Chicago Convention had attained to a considerable measure of the latter. By whatever words it was put, it nevertheless is true that the men of the Chicago Convention had discovered the inequality and fracture of the State bred of the fiction of gold as instrument of exchange—bred of the disorder of the attempt to raise gold out of its function of common commodity. These interests had got so far as to discern the unstable equilibrium of gold in this attempt to force its function. They had rightly made out that this fictitious use had given it fictitious value. They pointed to the overweighting of the significance of gold as forcing its index up until the payment of a farm mortgage meant dispossession to the farmer. It required little presience [sic] for the men of the Convention to know this, for in one way or another they were the direct and so conscious victims of the system of an unequal exchange, a phase of which they could understand as exaggerated by the fiction of gold. But their consciousness was only as the victims. They did not grasp the fault of the evil looked at in the fuller method of its correction, they did not get through to the absolute principle of money—the simple notion of the bill of exchange as record of the transaction, based on the unit of a day’s labor. Their consciousness was the reaction from the irritation of the single gold standard, the reaction from the single commodity as measure of exchange. The proposition to inject silver into the money situation they clearly saw as lessening the fiction of the one commodity, as standard. As they caught it, they understood that they were coming to increase money. But the reality was in so far a movement toward the reduction of gold to common level of all commodity. The reality of their proposition favoring the coinage of silver was the freeing of this metal which rested in the falsity of regarding only one commodity, gold, as measurement of values, whereas all commodities should have equal place. Though they did not get the principle, they moved in its direction—the reduction of all commodity to the same equal plane of exchange. On the whole, the rationality of their action was the determination to try this much of their discernment. It would not be well, like the St. Louis Convention, to enact into phrase the conditions of their own evil; having freer agency than that body, they could try something that had not yet been tried. The magnificence of their action was their proposal to try some new thing, having to them measure of promise, to determine it by its results. The greatness of the proceeding at Chicago, in contrast with St. Louis, was the turning upon vicious conditions, and the movement out into the open of a new venture in the State. It was the rise of the people from degradation, trusting a new freedom.4
It appears not improbable that the out-movement toward the equable exchange has to be the breaking of the fiction of the gold standard by the free injection of another commodity, like silver. This fiction gone, there could be the wholesome resolution toward unification of exchange on the rational basis of the labor standard. The banker, torn by the currents, would not unlikely be found ready to move in organization on the legitimate lines. It seems certain that if silver can be injected to diversify and complicate the present fictions of exchange, that the banker will have no recourse left but to follow the one proposition having promise. He can, apparently, find no other outlet, for it will be said by the people that both gold and silver have been tried, and the remedy is not in these.
We have thus discerned the Chicago Convention in line with the gathering forces, and whatever else may be said, that the Convention marks a line which the people have crossed. While, commensurate, we have to expect that a like body of 1900, whatever name it may take, will advance the issue to transportation at cost and the referendum in government, on which we now see the flood of favoring utterance.
The morning after the action at Chicago, upon silver and what the baron names the as allied heresies of the proletariat, the New York Sun, in the most trenchant of leaders sprang instantly to the defence of the feudal system. Thirty years before like writers had called upon patriotic men, in newspapers the counterpart of the Sun, to come to the defense of property vested in the African slaves. In the dread days of the upheaval preceeding [sic] and throughout the Civil War, such writers were all that Mr. Lincoln was not. It is the brutality which stands guard by old issues when the ideas of men are on the rack of birth. In 1860 these mediaeval warders gave the instant cue to a part of the press of the country, which followed them in the spleen of decadence. So in 1896 they gave the instant cue of the meaning of the Chicago Convention to the sectional press. The Sun leader was the next morning copied entire by the New York Herald, with the announcement that it was their guide for the canvass. Throughout the country the sectional papers lined up on the issue made by the Sun editorial—the short of which was that the Democratic party had passed into socialism beyond recall and was already inviting the abrogation of private property. With the exception of the Journal, the whole New York press took this cue to the situation and denounced everything as unpatriotic that was not mediaeval. Men turned anxiously to the Journal for some utterance at the center that should be nearer the commonalty. With measure that was dramatic in its lonesomeness, the Journal accepted the full cause, taking up the battle against the monied intrenchment. In contrast with the venom of a shoaling decay, the Journal in much had the pleasantry of sight and kindness of sentence that marks resource of principle. The extremity of the opposing press was detected in its lack of any humor in discussing their cause. They had reached the tension in the hatred of the Idea that gave them place among the enemies of men. The New York Journal, previously little known, rapidly passed the half million mark in its circulation. A list of papers throughout the country, more especially the provincial weeklies—less under the blight of Lombard Street—followed the Journal in its leading utterances, throwing themselves with the struggling cause.
Underneath the drama of this we discern a centralized weighing of conditions in the Nation, more or less in unity with advance. The action of the New York Journal may stand for this qualification of the machine of Letters. Seen as direction of the publicity of the country it virtually rises into the head, or centralization, of News. Before the Journal wrote its leader in support of the Chicago Convention—the new consciousness in democracy—it weighed the opinions of the leading writers and other publicists of the time. The result was the outgiving of what it considered the weight of principle after various views had been canvassed. The reality of this is that the Journal essentially gave utterance to a majority vote of a Cabinet meeting of leading publicists in democracy. We know that the Journal consulted the views of men competent to speak of the interests of various lines of business. The consulting of these interests, in a conference of men in which they were widely canvassed, furnishes the make-up of the Cabinet of News in divisions of labor standing for the various industries, or Classes. The action affords in effect a Cabinet composed of men having technical knowledge of the different lines of industry in the State.
The outgiving under the lead of the New York Sun gets its reality as schism in the Cabinet. This conflict in publicity must be seen as the expression of disorganization in the News Class as a body and in the Cabinet as directing head. Organization of the News Cabinet presupposes that it is organized for singleness of action. This means action on a majority vote of the Cabinet. It has its model in the organization of the United States Supreme Court. The latter body is the head of the Judiciary Class in America and its majority vote makes the rule of action on questions of principle for the whole judiciary body of the country, otherwise there is no organization and no action in the Judiciary Class and the administration of justice falls into chaos. Similarly, under degree of efficient organization, the majority vote of the Cabinet of News would have to determine the paramount utterance of the News body, going to control the whole machinery of publicity. The minority report of the Cabinet could only be considered in the light of distracting utterance, not to be regarded as the action of News. The utterance of the whole press of the country, as controlled by the head, would be a unit with the majority report of the Cabinet. The minority report would not be considered a matter of general news and would only be held in pamphlet at the service of some demand should it appear. In the outlook it is thus apparent that the wrangling of Newsmen, if existent at all, would be as confined to themselves in the working out of utterance, in the formal discussion by a body under rules of stable proceeding. The Nation would not be disturbed by partial and immature utterance.
We thus get the unified movement of publicity through determination of its line of utterance by the News Cabinet, as at once the centre of News and the cerebrum of democracy.
The working head of the Cabinet and of News. If the parallel with the higher judiciary be carried further, we see the necessity of an organizing head for the News Cabinet and for News in general, corresponding to the Chief Justice of the National Supreme Court. As regards this Court the Chief Justice may be said virtually to direct, or organize, its action. He may be considered as making its rules of proceeding, formulating its outgivings, etc., but by advice and consent of the majority of the court. In essentials the members of the court can overrule him by a majority vote. The Chief Justice may be regarded as going forward of his own motion in all matters, making the responsible head of the Judicial business in America, though he acts with regard to the will of the Judicial Cabinet, and, further, with regard to criticism by the entire judicial body. It is on the same plan that the News Cabinet organizes. It has its president who is virtually directing head of News for both the Cabinet and the whole News body. The president of the Cabinet is president of News, or News General. He makes the general rules of his Class, formulates principles, indorses [sic] important outgivings, directs the Cabinet. But he does this with regard to the will of the latter and of the News body, who may each overrule him. Any action of his permitted by the Cabinet is in effect the action of the Cabinet. In new and important matters he calls his meeting of Cabinet or otherwise sounds it; but moves independently in all matters, making the responsible head of News.
It is proposable that there are a limited number of ex-officio members of the Cabinet drawn from the News body by the different Cabinet members, who may need to have advisers near them, forming altogether the philosophic body of democracy.
The organization of the Newspaper makes for action in the State. As a result of not carrying to the full the principle of organized action upon which they themselves partly work, as a result of the partial relation of ideas through failure to attain a common head and set all phases of life into proportion, the Newspapers put out incomplete reports leading to confusion and conflict of the people. And in turn the newspaper body has slow test in the action of the State as to the truth of its utterance. The illustration of this we have seen in the political canvass. Part of the papers speak for one action and another part speak for conflicting action. Whereas if the papers through a central body or head would agree upon one line of utterance the people could get together in their action and try the result of a given idea. The probable desirability of the extension of the mail service to include the telegraph is in the air and half sought by the people. If the newspapers could harmonize their utterance and say it is thought best to try this action the people would get together and issue their warrant, and then it would be known certainly whether it is a good thing. Or a central newspaper Cabinet might determine that the newspaper body should speak in favor of trying the Government ownership of railroads so that the people could get together on this point and try it. The Cabinet would not be omniscient any more than are men, but it would be efficient in the sense that a body of men represents more experience than a single person. Knowledge is the result of action. And it cannot be known beforehand exactly what the result of new action will be. But there is the reasonable view when things are not right that certain remedial action should be tried. If the Cabinet and the people try one considerate view and find it wrong they will then say another way should be right, and they will try that way. The great trouble now is that the people are stopped in their action through the disorganized publicity and can only through great turmoil and suffering get their slow direction. A poll of the people now may mean little more than that a majority are confused. With the clarified news, they could as a body more certainly get action in some direction where they now stand still in tedious struggle. It could have been the utterance of the press in 1896 to let the people get together and try some way out of their trouble. They could come to determine whether silver is the corrective or not by the newspapers saying “We may try it, since a gold standard has been tried and a large body of the people are not satisfied.” The Cabinet might not be ready to say that silver is the absolute remedy but it should be prepared with a single voice to say, getting nearest to the popular discontent, that we may try silver and then we will know whether it is a good thing; and if it does not work we can try something else. It could say this, or with singleness propose any seemingly determinative course, throwing itself upon the test of action. But with the principles of State once worked out in action, a Cabinet of the Organized Intelligence may as often go right in public polity as a body of United States Engineers in determining the foundation of a bridge, or the structure of a lighthouse.
The integrity or faithfulness of the Cabinet of Intelligence. The element which creates an integrity in men is responsibility in action. The direct result of organization is the fixing of responsibility. A man has to be responsible for his part. The force of it as to the action of men is seen in some railroad accident where the aim of investigation is to get at the responsible party, with men endeavoring to shift the blame upon their fellows. So it is everywhere. In the recent investigation into abuses in the government of the city of New York, the effort was to locate the man responsible for it. He was not found owing to the slack organization of the municipal government. The well-known integrity of the United States engineers is laid in the fact that if a man puts a channel wrong or builds a lighthouse insecure, he has to stand the consequences. A United States engineer is put in charge of a division or a piece of work and is absolutely answerable for the conduct of it. And a general probity goes along with the trueness of mind acquired in the exactions of responsible art. There have been few cases of financial corruption in the United States engineering service for the last fifty years, extending over the disorder and looseness of the Civil War. Able men of every calling as a rule possess the general probity of mind. It is the requirement of the action of mind that it cannot be half false and half true as a practice; it must work to trueness as a whole, or fail of its corruption. The News Cabinet would have the undivided responsibility for action-making utterance and upon it error would return. It would be made to feel the same weight that the train dispatcher has in bringing his trains through. And in the case of the Statesman-philosopher, central to life in the Cabinet of Intelligence, a more profound responsibility might be thought to accrue. After all is said, the simplest view of the principle is that organization makes a man responsible for his own disorder. Men commonly recognize this as the method of compelling integrity. The everyday illustration of this is the practice of some men of paying a doctor by the year to keep them well, or paying a mechanic by the year to keep a given machine in repair. This is simply so much organization of the doctor or mechanic against results, as responsibility.
With a Cabinet conscious of exact relations of men and measuring in its make-up the phases of the life of the nation, utterance must be more removed from the factional prejudice. The Civil War in America was the result of the divided ideas of democracy; and these ideas might be counted as nearer whole in the years verging upon 1860 if the responsibility for the utterance of the newspapers of the time on the question of the mending of the broken Nation could have been put upon a central body of men with integrate leaning. In the present crisis one section of the press speaks for the bankers as against the farmer, applying sophistries in its presentation; and another section of the press speaks for the farmers against the bankers finding no logical common ground of interest. The members of the News Cabinet could but be driven to surmount such schism in their body, striving for the resultant view until they got a majority utterance of the common ground of interest for all factions. This must tend to the organic.
The Cabinet of News gets its practice in dissecting or organizing the General News movement, revealing the organization at the Center. The General News is news that is not restricted in its interest to any particular Class, persons, or locality, but, on the contrary, is of interest to everybody in every place. This news coming through the regional heads to the center is determined as to its character and make-up. The offices at the center are organized for handling General News of every kind. Each specialization or department of General News, as chemistry or farming, is in charge of a member of the Cabinet answering to such particular side of knowledge. This man organizes his department in its various phases for handling his specialty in news. General farming news, for instance, coming in, is put upon the hooks of this department, or dissection, of news. But at the same time it is hung upon the hooks of all the other departments for any suggestions or modifications they may offer. These modifications are considered and incorporated into the report, or on the other hand excluded, by the desk having charge of Farm news. The suggestion of this central organization is in the present action of the newspaper offices at the large centers which refer given news to an editor best competent to handle it, who in turn asks other editors or reporters to work it over for suggestions.
This movement illustrates the working organization of the News Class through a head. As indicated, the organization of the Cabinet in this working movement is in charge of a president as managing head, who is necessarily responsible for the organization at the center and in turn of the news movement of the entire country—much as the Postmaster-General is responsible for the immediate organization of the Mails center at Washington and in turn the whole postal movement of the country.
The Regional head, or center of the territorial division, of the News Class is provided in the dissecting newsman and his organized office at the commercial center of each Region. The news of Michigan, for instance, as one of forty or more Regions, comes to a point like Detroit, or wherever the wires of commerce center for such a division. The part of this news which the Michigan head would see had interest beyond Michigan is sent on, reflected, to the National center and the part of the news having a purely Michigan interest is made up in its bearings and sent back, reflected, to the local papers of the state. We have in this the reflex movement of the intelligence of the locality back upon the entire area of the Region and the reflex on to the cerebral center, the Cabinet of Intelligence at New York, or wherever it is located.
The lesser area, as unit of the organized intelligence subordinate to the Region, is the news movement of the County, or precinct, to its center. A News agent as this subordinate center, with his organized office, dissects the purely County, or precinct, news from the larger movement, which latter he passes on to the Regional head at a point like Detroit. The purely County news goes no further than the County head, being reflected back in the classified local paper, or County bulletin. This comprehends the lesser reflex movement of intelligence.
The organ of intelligence which furnishes the immediate contact with life on the side of news gathering is the reporter, or news-man, who is intimate with the movement of things in the restricted sense of the village, the country township, or the city ward. He gives expression to the contact, or movement, of his circumscribed locality. He stands for the peripheral nerve-ending of democracy. In news extraordinary, as requiring exhaustive and technical reporting, this man is helped by reporters sent down from the County head; and for some of these, in extra instance, the County head may draw upon the Regional head, as at Detroit. The peripheral man is helped out, supplemented, by the Regional head, as the external nerve-ending in the animal body is helped out by the next higher sense organs. The peripheral man is a single element in a unit news movement of which the higher centers are the fuller divisions of labor.
Within the general movement of news there is a dissection, or editing, which is of interest in its larger detail to a given Class, being the Class News. For instance, there may be special detail news relating to the railroads of Michigan which is sent out by a department of the Regional head at Detroit as Regional railroad news and goes into the Transportation Class paper or railroad man’s journal; and there is a movement of railroad news of wider interest through Detroit and the other Regional heads to the general, or National, center and back again to the railroad papers or bulletins of the entire country. This Class News in its detail intimately relates to the interests and working of the Class to which it belongs. This is the reflex from the external sense-organs in every community to the special functions, or organs, of the social body.
The Individual News is the dissection, or classification, of news that is not of interest to the general public or to any body of Class workers, as a whole. This final dissection and distribution of the news, as of the restricted interest, is held at the News-Office for anybody who may apply for it. This provides the Bureau of Inquiry in the organized News. A man who wants some fact which is his own interest purely will get it at this Inquiry Bureau, or counter, of the News-Office, by asking for it and paying the price. It is something that arises in personal contact, or interest, on which there is insufficient information in the General and Class movement of News. It may be some matter that is not of immediate history and has passed into accumulated or compiled news. A farmer might want the exact contribution by Watt to the steam engine, or a railroad man might want something in a popular way about the oyster or the plow. Naturally these cannot be daily loaded upon the wires of the General or Class. The News Office would sell the inquirer a book or leaflet covering the question, or it might be dealt with in ten or a hundred words, as in answer to some one who should ask for the conditions under which crucibles explode. The buyer would apply to the nearest News-Office, situated in every town; and if this office did not know, it would call up the News-Office of its Regional head. This, the Inquiry Bureau in life, from the standpoint of the purely personal need, has its physiological analogy in the consideration that any point of contact, any village, any person, however remote, may get ordered information through nerves to and from the intelligence center.
The News is in degree now organized and moving from its external nerve-endings upon its Regional heads and central Cabinet, coming back in sensation to the general public, to the Class, and to the Individual. The newspaper now has its local correspondent, though in a hapless and irresponsible way. It has essentially its Regional, or divisional, heads in the several newspaper editors in centers like Detroit. Here the organization is deficient in that the several newspaper editors or managers do not form one News-Board, under a single managing head. The result of this disorganization in the Regional head is the conflicting Regional, or state, news distributed to an area like Michigan. But certain essential movement of General and Local news nevertheless exists. News coming into Detroit that is reckoned of general interest is passed on to New York or to other large center of news movement, being dissected and transmitted by the Associated Press agents, who stand for the general movement of news to the Cabinet center and back to the Regional heads. The Regional center is deficient again in that the Michigan head at Detroit, for instance, has no adequate organization for dissecting the General News coming from its territory to be sent on to New York, being instead the inadequate and hap-hazard notion of some person representing the above Press agency as to what is of wider interest beyond the local demand. At New York or other center, like Chicago, where the General News is made up and sent to the country we have more or less faithful transmission of what comes, but with no organization for making it up into its bearings. Such news as comes to New York over the Associated Press wires goes back to the several newspapers of the country essentially a reflex current, though, as indicated, more in the mechanical sense, having had little skilled treatment. And through deficient organization at all points for the handling of news it generally gets out to the people touched with the prejudice of a local editor representing the factional views of a locality. And the movement of news through the centers is frequently colored by the investment interests. The Newsmen here, as elsewhere, often deliberately mislead the public in prop of the money interest and the existing slavery. There is no correcting head to enforce integrity of the general interest against the narrow.
Regarding the reflex, or movement, of Class News through the Regional and National heads and back to the several Classes through the several Class journals, there is very little direct classification. But the movement exists. The Class news is mixed in with the general movement and printed in the general news columns of the papers, or it is discarded altogether if it is seemingly not of interest to the larger public. In the one case it is usually so much clipped of its detail that it does not fill the wants of the Class, and in the other case it is often lost to the Class. The Class journals, which have everywhere sprung up, partly fill the deficiency in the movement. For instance, the Railway Engineer’s journal takes what it thinks is of interest out of the general newspapers and also publishes news from its own correspondents, who write with knowledge of the happenings of the Class. But it should be said that the Class flow of news has as yet hardly come above the horizon of the newspaper men as a part and dissection of the movement.
The Inquiry Bureau is found to have quasi-existence in the inquiry columns of the papers. But it has small compass, with practically no organization, and is compelled to turn away questions which it characterizes as not of enough general moment to interest more persons than the applicant. The Ladies’ Home Journal, of Philadelphia, has largely been built up on this limited inquiry side. Newspaper men complain that people flood them with questions over the telephone and by letter that are beyond the scope of their organization. This is a phase of the strangulation of the State by the disordered news.
The outlook on the organized intelligence reduces and gathers together under one movement the various phases of the publishing business. The outlook is first on that phase of the Triangle of Intelligence which classifies as the General News, this, as seen, being news of general interest—something that everybody is supposed to want. The first form of the publication of this, answering to the general newspaper of to-day, is The Newsbook. This central dissection out of the stream of news has equal interest for a man in California, a man in New York or a man in Texas. In character it simply answers to what is the general news now published simultaneously each morning and afternoon in all the great dailies of the country. It is in the main such news as is furnished by the Associated Press, except, as we have seen, it has more systematic and unified handling. And since this General News has to come to the center, or Cabinet, for its treatment and for its distribution we see that The Newsbook, the great political daily, is made up in its entirety at the commercial center of democracy. This paper as fast as it is made up at the office at the center is put upon the general telegraphic circuit and taken off and printed in its entirety by each Regional center. It would thus occur that the general publication, The Newsbook, at San Francisco or Galveston would be an exact copy of The Newsbook at New York or Chicago. The publication would practically fall upon the country as a whole in the same moment of time and in the same make-up. The first projection of this distribution of the General News from the center would naturally be put upon the wires in the form of condensations, or bulletins. The Regional centers would take these bulletins off the larger circuit and put them upon the circuit of the Region. Each County head would in turn transfer them to the local wire, or circuit, of its division, corresponding to the news ticker circuit now become common in the cities. It would result that the whole country would simultaneously get the condensations of important General News —the fuller detail coming to them in the publications from their nearest centers.
The next phase of the publication is the general news of each Region strictly, corresponding to the present state news. This could issue from the Regional head in company with The Newsbook, but as a distinct print or classification, called The Region. It is general news corresponding to circumscribed territorial interest. Everybody in the Region wants it. Its condensations, or bulletins, preceeding [sic] its more detail publication, would be put upon the Regional circuit to be taken off by the lesser, or County, circuit, interspersed with the General News bulletins proper.
There is a third form of news, still more restricted in its interest, but general to its locality. This is the local news of the town and its adjacent territory. As transportation becomes cheaper and multiplies its facilities, a given territory like a county, embracing a town or city, comes to have more marked community of interest. A man in town through familiarity with the embracing section of suburb or country wants its happenings; and the man in the country adjacent to the town and familiar with it looks to be furnished its news. This classification entirely local, embracing the county, is the publication called The Town. Aside from the printed paper, the Local movement has its bulletins, put upon the wire interspersed with the General News bulletins and the Regional bulletins. The Town has its further character in treating at considerable length the details of life, for readers who like all the story. Nor does it strictly confine itself to the local happenings of its own borough, but copies freely, by wire or clipping, from similar publications over the country, wherever a good story is found.
In the organic view advertising reduces to a form of local news. The reality of this is easily apparent in scanning the advertising columns of the newspapers. The Post Class publishes the arrival and departure of its mails. The Judiciary Class announces its proceedings. The various stores tell of their attractive things and novelties. The meaning of this is that each line of industry puts into the papers the news about its business. Many a housewife who takes up the morning paper turns first to the advertising column to get the news about dress-goods or groceries. Announcements of new things in food and clothing, theaters, changes in arrival and departure of trains and mails, must be seen as a permanent feature of the news columns of all local publications. Not the least interesting news in The Town of any time must be the announcement of the arrival of some carloads of bananas or peaches at attractive prices. This form of news will be classified under the heads of the various industries, Food, Clothing, Mails, Transportation, etc.
The second phase of the Triangle of Intelligence is the Class News. As we have seen, it gets its publication in the different Class bulletins and Class journals, being the unified technical intelligence.
The third phase of the Intelligence Triangle, self-evident, is the Individual News, or Inquiry Bureau.
It must be seen that all publication, or news, of whatever kind passes through one of these forms. The writings of the students of economics at the Universities or outside of them, through books, pamphlets, periodicals, or newspaper publication must be regarded as ultimately coming within the one organization of news. Such a man finds his place in the News Cabinet or in some subordinate position. Writers on technical subjects place in the several phases of Letters which look after the treatment and handling of news belonging to the various lines of industry, the Class publications. A man, for instance, writing technically on chemistry gets his publication in the Class paper, Chemistry. All other writers of whatever kind become incorporate in the one field of Letters and have their assignments of work according to their particular qualifications. Matter of permanent interest passing through any of the several publications is preserved in pamphlet or book form.
The delivery side of news in its active movement, we have elsewhere seen, finds its place in the supply store, or distributive station. This counter carries The Newsbook, The Town and the various Class papers which have demand in the locality, like The Weaver, The Farm, Food, Textile, The Fireman, Mines, etc. It will carry all that is preserved of literature as supplying the active demand—corresponding to the book counter of the department store at the present time. The Inquiry Bureau is to be regarded as a phase of the one News counter, supposed to carry all lines of the business. This gathers at the News-Office in the department store the several phases of the news business on the side of its active distribution.
Literature that has become dead to the general interest will, if it have any economy or interest whatever, be found on the shelves in the libraries at the public gathering place, the library being another counter of the news business, where books are rented.
Much reduction in the permanent store of writings may be expected in the development. We have already entered upon this. The writings in the Blackwood Classics and similar series, and the reports and condensations of Mr. Morley and others, have put into a few books many hundred volumes. This should go on until the line is clearly drawn between the living literature and the great dead and cumbersome mass. The novel in the unreal sense comes to be displaced as now by the new, or novel, truth that is stranger than fiction, and the unreal poetry comes as now to be displaced by the poetry of action in the report of the daily event. New advances tend to put into small compass the writings in the region of mind, morals, ethic, etc. Writings in an apart ethic and speculation in sociology fall away with the real thing, which we have seen as one with the advancing organism in democracy.
The state of consciousness of News touching the principle of its own business as sensation. The newspapers strive for sensation but do not uniformly act up to the principle underlying it. Its realization with them is little removed from the accidental. We know that sensation is the taking of the report through to unified relation in the social. The sensation in a divorce, for instance, is its relation to the well-being of the State. Can men and women have more liberty in their home relation without disrupting life? The sensation about the “ever” Magdalene is the knowledge of whether the phenomenon is not the outcome of too great stringency in divorce, or whether it is not one of the prevalent monstrosities traceable to the disordered exchange. How many have to do it to get food? The reality involved in a man going with a woman of the street may be that the conditions inherent in the disorganization of the State are such that he cannot go with a wife. This principle, of the part related to the whole, put against the details will determine their meaning. Thus it is seen that the full account of a man’s participation with this offence of the social is not told in his having been found in a brothel; the fuller fact may be that Society was found in a brothel, entirely disregarding the particular man or woman. The sensation is to put fornication upon all men instead of upon one—that is, to make the offence bigger. The news is manifestly short in consistently bringing through to the final situation. The papers are not alone deficient in their discernment of last relation, but they are deficient in the details which carry it. People want the straight detail as much as they want the straight principle involved; the former embodies the latter; the two are one. In the rush of disorganization the papers print such fragmentary matter as may come to them, regardless.
A report often mistakes irritation for sensation. The reader is irritated by the partial thing, wanting the fuller detail; and he is irritated in the absence of the principle. The reader is much fretted through the exaggerating or making prominent of certain parts which in the absence of the full matter of the report is thought to make up for the deficiency. The reporter writes in red at the juncture where he lacks the simple facts which go to complete the unity of the news.
As reinforcing the principle, we ask ourselves whether “United States Trunk Lines, Division New York Central,” is not more sensational than “New York Central.” And we put to ourselves whether the reporting of a strike on the New York Central would not have more sensation if it were related to the social body by showing that it is the friction incident to the evolution of the organization of a Class in Democracy. The reality of a railroad president resisting a strike, properly related, is that he is a laborer with others of his Class but has viciously usurped authority and voice, fortifying himself in certain illegal tenets to resist the advance of the life of the State. Would not the great sensation be the turning of the tables and declaring the railroad president on strike against the advancing order of his Class and the State? The management would be depicted as embodying anarchistic elements obstructive to the whole. Further, as properly relating a railroad accident we may see that the sensation is to locate it in the organizing head, as far as he is to blame. The one mainly responsible for a railroad accident is the man who has so lamely organized the system that it is possible to have a railroad accident at all. On a well organized road it could not occur in the sense of a collision, an open switch or a defective bridge. The papers themselves incline to fix the responsibility but have divided notions about it and do not carry it through to the reality, the agency responsible for full order. In the end, the short-handed organization of the Class is responsible for the railroad accident.
It is certain that the newspapers cannot be unmindful that so far as they are now successful they act on the principle of sensation—full truth. They can but recognize that men buy the newspapers for such truth as they contain.
The Editorial results from incompleteness in the News report. Sometimes the “editorial” is such only in name, its reality being that it is a news report on the “editorial” page. But strictly speaking, the editorial stands for some deficiency in the news column; it supplies some portion of the fact which is absent in the latter. So truly is this the logic of newspaper practice that reporters are ridiculed or discharged for making their reports so complete as to leave no room for so-called editorial comment. Good reporters who bring in the full facts have been discharged on the ground that they were trying to write editorials. Mr. Brisbane of the New York World in the first half of 1894 was writing a column in that paper, being a summary view of the day to the hour of going to press. He had access to the telegraphic and other reports up to the closing of the forms, and he gave some measure of unified tone to the news in a happy presentation in the light of his somewhat wide knowledge of affairs. It was found that there was little left for the editorial, or essay, page. Mr. Brisbane would put an ordinary half-column editorial into a sentence. The editors took the alarm and the column was stopped.
The “editorial” and the “news” report now conflict in practice and make the lesion in publicity. A newspaper will be found saying that its policy, meaning its editorial, has a certain tenor, no matter what the news columns may contain. It will say that its reporters are told to get the news regardless of the policy of the paper. This is equivalent to saying that it does not matter whether the facts conflict with the editorial column or not. In practice this means that the editor is frequently compelled to restate, or interpret, the facts to make them fit the partial interests which his “policy,” or view, represents. It is the partial interpretation, or deficiency in news. The editorial is a factor in the divided action of the people who get their notions from the paper, since the editor writing independently, and indifferent to the full report, is more prone to make assertions inclining to partial interests.
Again, the editorial is seen as a part retention of the old notion that the “ought” needs to be asserted alongside the fact. It is the pulpit reiteration of the precept brought over to find its small preserve in the types. The editorial is the little church within the newspaper. So far as such attains, it is the preaching of the “ought” in the absence of the fact—the authoritative pronouncement. The “ought” is in the is—is in the full fact. For instance, we do not have to tell a man he ought not to fall off a ten-story building; the ought is in the fact of the action fully stated in results, namely, a fall from a ten-story building is nine times out of ten, the equivalent of a coffin. If the fact is sufficiently stated, the ought, or direction to action, is in it. In general, it is to be said that news has only to state the fact in its full bearings, leaving men to gather their own line of interest and action. Neither pulpit-priest nor editor-priest can strictly know the ought for any man, as that has personal and private bearings with which they are not conversant. It might be supposed that a man ought to vote for government ownership of railroads, for instance. But no editor is justified in saying so. He can only report the fact that shows it to be the way to a general five-cent fare. The rest may be safely credited to men’s intelligence. In view of the organic ethic, or freedom, based upon the analysis of will as unity in a consciousness determined by contact with life, it becomes apparent that the ought cannot be superimposed upon a man outside of his own convictions of action, as self-determined on the fact. All such is the mental degradation, or restriction. The editorial lesion exhibits in general the present brutality of news which forces personal opinion, or comment, upon the reader in his desire for truth.
The organism reveals that the movement is away from the arbitrary censorship in Letters and the other fields of industry. At the present time there is nothing in the absolute to compel the newspaper to print up to the demand. The tendency is to work out of this. A man belonging or not belonging to the regular organization of Letters who has something written may offer it to the News-Office, just as it is now offered to the less organic print, in some newspaper or other publisher. If News refuses to accept it as Letters that will be but the technical rejection of it, just as Music might reject a score or an opera presented to them, or as Transportation might reject some supposed invention in their business. But this need not end the matter should the author be dissatisfied with the position of the News-Office. It remains his privilege to expose the writing, together with the criticism of News, in the public market place of the locality, that is, at the nearest News counter. The author may of course add any remarks he likes in answer to the criticism which News has put upon his writings. Thus the public of the locality may have access to the entire proceeding. The people may themselves determine the validity of its rejection by the Organized Letters. Anybody may read it, copy it, and propagate it, at will, short of using the regular machine of News. If it have merit adapted to the time it will appeal to men. And should the sentiment favoring it grow in the locality so that a majority of the people should come to want it in print, they can compel Letters to print it, by use of the local ballot, the machinery for which is a consideration of the “Negative,” farther on. By the ballot a majority can negative, or forbid, the action of News in rejecting the manuscript, and News has left to bring its action in accord with the demand. The force of this is that nothing is news in the sense of the life demand, in the sense of publication, unless the people want it. If only the writer wants it, he has it in the copy which he holds. Supposing that the writing comes finally to be commercially printed, it will be sold at any point where a demand springs up and a request is made for it. In the same way, a person whose composition has been rejected by the organized Music would have the privilege of convincing people that the Class was wrong in its rejection of his composition. Whereupon, they could demand its rendering by the local orchestra. In a similar way an inventor, painter, or other, may expose in public his work when rejected by any Class. If he can get enough people to endorse him, the Class will be negatived in its action and compelled to put the work into use sufficiently to demonstrate its quality. The point is, in every phase of the State, that we are working out of the arbitrary censorship and over to the censorship of fact; the censorship of the actual test in life, the test of action. At the present time the demand is for certain unity of utterance by News in its active machine, the newspaper, but the people cannot get it; the private interest too much controls.
The advance of the State is pushing the newspaper toward recognition of its own law—its own principle of being lying bare before it. The real Letters, as standing for the organic concept, is not in control of the newspaper. This has not alone divided the people, through the resulting multiplicity of view, but it has denied them as a body the quicker forethought of the Nation as to the development in democracy. Observation must show that the orderly thought is mainly outside the newspapers trying to get expression. Old and used-up concepts become disorder when a nation is struggling to pass them. The growth towards organization has in all the Classes been hindered by deficient and short-handed publicity. The newspaper under the domination of the counting-room has the attitude of keeping the new out; it has the attitude of restricting the quality of publicity: as though medicine or chemistry were organized to resist new formulas; as if in practice men ignorant of chemistry should be found interfering and overturning the formulas for refining oil or for making quinine. Ideas arising in the newspaper offices that conflict with the notions of the counting-room are more often summarily turned down and the authors dismissed. Reporters and editors are specifically told that they must not in essentials antagonize the investment notion. It is the private interest obstructing the organization of the news. Such is the paucity of consciousness by the newspaper as to order in the State that it is divided in its thought regarding the underlying method of its own business, as one with all business. On the surface, it assaults the Standard Oil Company, the railroad combines, the sugar trust, etc., as so-called monopolies menacing the State, when the newspaper itself is working under a similar union in the Associated Press Company. There is no closer monopoly than this Association. To start a paper in New York with the benefits of the Associated Press requires the consent of every newspaper belonging to the service in the City. It would be supposed that thrown against the conditions of its own growth the newspaper would in time have to recognize the principle of the organism in the State. And there is the most startling fact pressing for recognition, that the Associated Press, belonging in its function to all the newspapers that take from it, is in effect the abrogation of private property. All this is the nearness of the newspaper to an estimate of its own nakedness.
There is discoverable a high degree of integrity touching news on the side of the mechanical distribution—on the side of the types, the printing press, etc. Well-nigh perfect organization has developed here, and it is possible by multiplying type-setting machines and presses to throw off an unlimited number of newspapers per hour, and through the capability of the mail and its adjuncts send them out. Standing and looking upon the marvelous precision and efficiency of the web press in the cellars of the newspaper offices one must reflect that this feature of the news business is doing its work.
The question of whether the mechanical side of the newspaper is a part of the News Class proper may be left open. A sign pointing to the inclusion of the typesetter and the pressman in the one Class with the reporter is the fact that all such are employed exclusively by the news industry. Unlike the telegraph or railroad, which may be employed by other Classes as well as by news, printing places exclusively in the service of the latter. But, again, it is a business having its own technique apparently distinct from the technique of reporting, or News proper. The printers could be a distinct Class, simply employed and paid by News, or they could be a distinct branch of News, having in either case their own rules, or autonomy, answering to the demand of News upon them.
It is from the mechanical or integrating mind that advance in News is expected. It is the mechanical order of mind that thinks with the precision which is action in relation to the economy of life. The mechanical method is the principle underlying efficient thought. This is simply to see the part as in active relation or division of labor within an organ and the action of the whole organ trained upon some particular office in the environment. The mechanical mind is the philosophical mind, the philosopher being only a mechanic who has to do with the larger machine—the State. Throughout the phases of life the mechanical, or philosophical, order of mind has been trained upon the building of the many machines which go to make for the liberty and action of the larger one. The locomotive, the telegraph, the typograph, the web press, the sewing machine, the reaper, we discern as underlying parts of an integrate democracy. The primary work being much along and a surplus of the mechanical mind freed for larger action, we approach the juncture where we are likely to find invention, or advance, in methods for the closer organization of the State. And it is from this freeing of mind for action in the more culminating regions that we look for invention to organization in that phase of the State which is Letters. A good reporter has simply the mechanical notion of relationship; and the philosopher, or chief-reporter, as of the Cabinet and the Regional news boards, must be expected to arise from this character of thought. The newspaper management is waiting upon the carpenter-and-joiner of fact. We have as much difficulty in conceiving the mechanical mind failing when freed in newspaper direction as we have of the Hoe press lacking the joining of its wheels and the revolution of its types.
An avenue which makes for an outmoving in the organization of the newspaper is the growing necessity for integrity in its business. The great daily at the present time has reduced the price of its issue to a point that does not pay the cost of news-service. The half-cent for which the morning paper now sells to news-dealers does not well cover the mechanical production. The newspaper on its revenue side is in the position of unstable equilibrium which has no base of support in its own legitimate business—the sale of news. The reality of advertising we have seen as a phase of news. The newspaper has fallen upon taxing this intelligence to an extent which goes to offset the deficiency of revenue in the general news movement. The store of O’Neill and Company, New York, not the largest advertiser, pays $100,000 a year to the newspapers. The result is that the advertiser, the distributive trade, is carrying excessive burdens in helping to support from one to a dozen daily newspapers in a single town. Furthermore, the great newspaper concerns to keep going have of late been resorting to blackmail on the most stupendous scale. A New York paper recently took from the Standard Oil Company $100,000 on the general proposition that this corporation might some day need to have the right word said for it. The big combines of capital in every direction are, on the plea of mutual interest, understood or expressed, making a divide on profits with certain of the newspapers. Some of the big corporations own controlling stock in newspapers which are situated to forward their projects. When the Standard Oil Company some years ago was pushing its pipe line into Toledo from the Ohio gas fields it purchased outright the Toledo Commercial, putting its own newspaper man in charge to manipulate news in the Company’s interests. Similarly, the management of the Great Northern Railroad controlled a prominent daily in Minneapolis at the time of the strike on its lines in 1894. All such are phases of the subsistence of the newspaper on means outside of the legitimate sale of news, giving force to the fact that the newspaper is without basis in normal revenue. Should anything therefore arise in the movement of things that would tend in any direction to disturb some portion of their illegitimate revenue, the newspapers would of a certainty be compelled to get together to save themselves, by organizing for cutting off the present waste of several newspaper plants all doing the same thing in one town. And in the long run, owing to the growing insecurity of the newspapers, the tendency of things must be to compel them to the economics of one management, more than now.
The conditions that drive any line of trade to the economy of organization under one management must be the tendency of the newspapers. The conditions preceeding [sic] the organization of the Standard Oil Company were of a score of different refineries located at various points and warring against each other for advantage, the public paying the bills. The saving idea of a pipe-line to the sea came to one of the refiners and he started to put it into execution, finding that he could make it pay its way section by section to tide water. He had his first section down, eight miles. Alarm seized the other oil men who saw that the trade would not support twenty pipe lines to the Atlantic. Mr. Flagler, Mr. Rockefeller and others of the refiners got together and made the compact known as the Standard Oil Company, each of the manufacturers taking stock in the general Company in proportion to the value of their plants. Out of this combination the Standard Oil Company has improved the quality of oil and reduced the price 50 per cent. One reality of their princely revenues is that in cheapening the cost of oil they have divided the profits with the consumers, making large consumption.
A single economic idea may likewise overturn the newspaper and compel its organization. It lies, in one direction, in the driving of a wedge between the newspaper and the current advertising business. The present great flux of advertising has its source in the disordered exchange. Under the private notions of property, advertising is constricted in its character as news. It is virtually the individual inquiry at the News counter, made necessary by the existing state of trade which drives individuals to search for knowledge of where to buy or sell. Advertising thus tentatively classifies as the private, or personal, intelligence. It should for convenience and economy issue in a single publication, properly called The Want, to contain essentially only classified advertising. The idea is in successful operation in Paris and Berlin, and virtually draws to itself all the advertising of the city. Some newspaper, or good business man moving independently, might combine in an advertising pool the retail merchants of a city, whose interests are all in the direction of concentrated advertising, so that they may have to pay for only one advertisement instead of half a dozen. Such an alliance of merchants could, after a time, hand their advertisements only to The Want. This would carry the publication in its revenue until the lesser advertisers could be brought to it from sheer interest. This daily Want would be sold for one cent, or more, either independently, or along with any newspaper that should manipulate the move. Ordinary wants would of likelihood be published in it for five cents, and possibly one cent. This would be the business acumen which gets its revenue from the large grist and small toll, at the same time crushing out opposition because it is so near the interests of the public. No one can compete against a thing that approaches perfection in both price and quality. Such a newspaper, liable to get on its feet, would spread the alarm among the big city newspapers and they would find it necessary to combine for their existence.
Again, any State control or regulation of the great trusts which would reduce their revenue to a minimum of margin, would tend to cut off the blackmail money which the newspapers are drawing from them. So that on both sides, through advance in democracy, the trend would be to bring the newspapers together under one management.
Acting together the newspapers can, of course, fix a revenue supporting their business aside from channels compromising the news. The saving through concentrated action should alone effect this. And the very gravitation of the large organization, cutting clear of the outside private interest, would be to improve the quality of the news, so far as it freed the mechanical, or artistic, mind.
In this we face the Intelligence Trust. Made amenable to the needful general laws regulating all trusts, or centralization of industry, it becomes the Trust of the people. It matters not what it is called, whether Government control, or, popularly, “Government ownership,” of the newspaper. With “Government ownership,” or control, of Carriage and Exchange, effecting these functions at cost, the power of the king for harm in other directions is no longer to be feared. With the day growing, the Intelligence Industry settling toward centralization, as of the sure end in democracy, labor may take stock of an advocate at court—the FACT.
The state of ethic, or freedom, of the newspaper. News is to-day under the domination of its own disorganic ideas and of all the disorderly features of the State. The disorganic elements, which in the growth of things would be attending to their business in other Classes, are obstructing the newspaper. If the bankers, railroad presidents, and all the components of the private interest were not curtailing the movement of the News Class and creating schism in its utterances, publicity would doubtless be found at this juncture speaking rationally and standing for advance in the organization of the Classes. The rank and file of the newspaper men chafe for freer utterance on these lines. They ask to stand more for the equalization of the returns of labor. They would find arbitration, for instance, if they were not governed by the counting-room; many papers are abreast of this now, but there is conflict of publicity on this and kindred points. Many newspapers now would doubtless throw overboard the private interest entirely if they could see the one step further into the greater order beyond it. We may speak of the New York Journal, as at present occupying advanced position here. When News has more attained its organization and is freed from the friction of the unorganized element, the forces will drive it up to its integrity through its own self-interest and artistic momentum. The newspaper, ruled by the advertiser and others, cannot yet speak for the interests of the Whole as against the private concern. Publicity does not report its advertisers, does not persistently label spurious wares in every field, from the exaggerations of the real estate man to the fraudulent medical advertiser—does not report them save in general terms. It dare not specifically report certain of its advertisers, though in some respects it goes far, as in its playhouse news. And we have seen that in all directions of the private interest it does not unify publicity. Last, the newspaper does not move to the surpassing sensation, the uncommon freedom, of reporting itself. There is a mysterious balance-sheet and certain unknown transactions. The newspaper cannot yet act up to the part of full fact-giving wherever it touches life. It waits on fuller organization for its free action, its ethic.
That aspect of the American newspaper which has brought upon it the charge of a “rawness” of utterance and lack of respect for privacy has to be sounded in its ethic, or essential right, from the side of the dynamic forces. If we compare it with the more reserved utterance of the English press, we may attribute much of it to the greater lengths to which inquiry is carried in this country. It may be thought to mark the impetus of the news over to full fact. The movement is in the direction of breaking down the barriers to full inquiry. There is likely to come uppermost out of the crush the status of real respectability. It is likely to result that nothing can lay claim to respect except the fact itself, established after the most searching inquiry in the fullest publicity. There is likely to result the status that nothing is respectable that cannot stand the day. As to why the movement should apparently have its front in America, we can but attribute it to the reach of this country. The Organic Letters quickens in the womb of distance.
Property in the News Class is function of publicity in terms of its prints, bulletins, and personal inquiry counter. It is borne by all Classes in their several divisions of labor. The News-Office may only tax for its direct support, its particular division of labor. It may put a cost price upon its goods.