- Newspapers are widely read, even by the people who do not read anything else.
- Education is expanding and more people read the news.
- Many regard what they find in newspapers as infallible.
- The Press can exercise great power for good, but it is some-time for ill.
Our grandfathers were often illiterate, but, nowadays most people learn to read and write. The poor laborer may lose this power soon after leaving his elementary school, but many continue to read at least the newspapers written in their own language. In Britain, great newspapers like the “Daily Mail” and the “Express” have a very wide circulation and are read by many hundreds of thousands.
The simple-minded working man has a man of anything he finds printed in a book or a newspaper, it is something with a stamp of authority, something that sight. This tendancy is made full use of people who want to influence public opinion. The big circulation papers in Britain have usually a definite political bias. The “Mail” and the “Express” are frankly for the Conservative Party, and it is very difficult to find a news paper which takes a natural view in politicals. The papers are limited companies which are conducted to make propaganda for political cr big business interests. The “leaders” or important articles written by the editor on topics of national interest are thus inspired by pa ty or sectional interest in many cases. They are written in a tone of moderation, and with an air of weighing up the pros and cons, but as a rule the editor has his employers to please.
In newspapers, the government of the day is usually held up as brilliant and efficient, or as dishonest and incompetent. Seldom do we get a reasoned and unprejudiced estimate, since an editor will either praise or condemn, according to the political colour of his paper? Their views on great national issues, such as peace and war, trade policy taxation and so on, are all the same. They are there to express the views of their party, whether it be in power or in opposition. As the working classes like their news and their information to be “hot”, so articles are usually expressed in strong language.
The press, provided it be well-informed and reasonable, can play a useful part in educating public opinion and giving a true picture of events and movements. But too often the writers are content to appeal to racial and class hatred, to political or national jealousy, and to stir up feelings of excitement and bitterness. A well-informed and honest press can be a great asset to a country, but the little, violent, sectional papers are a threat to peace.