Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1886)
THE WEST SHORE.
THE DUTY OF A TRUE JOURNALIST.
RECENTLY, the Oregonian has attracted to itself a
good deal of very unfavorable coramont aud crit
ioism, by publishing in its columns the filthy de
tails of the latest English soandal-the Colin
Campbell affair the accounts of which aro so uuely that
the Queen of England has forbidden the admissou of
papers containing them to the royal palace. The mat
ter is not referred to here from any desire to add to the
weight of this just censure, but with the hope that such
a presentation of it may be made as will be the moans
of impelling a careful contemplation of this subject,
which, if seen in all its relations and felt in all its force,
will certainly have, or ought to have, a reformatory ef
fect on the mind of the editor of that journal. And it
will go without saying, that our criticism is not inspired
by any partisan feeling or jealousy. The West Shoiib
has always entertained and expressed unbounded good
will for the Oregonian, which is not lessoned even by
this necessity of entering a protest against what we
deem a thoughtless wrong on the part of that great jour
nal It is the chief newspaper in the Pacific Northwest,
and is, in a large measure, the guiding star of the great
er portion of the press of this region. It claims to be
the exponent of the best publio sentiment, the best
thought of the day, in its field, npon all questions of
a political or social nature, and it must be admitted that
the use by its editor of the plural " we," in the singular,
is not, by any means, an empty assumption. Whilo all
this is true, and while it is also true that in the treat
ment of the great bulk of publio local question, the
Oregonian has applied the higher standard of journalis
tic thought and temper, and, in this way, brought about
wholesome reforms, there are yet certain things in the
conduct of the paper which are wrong, the more so that
the lesser lights find in them both excuse and encourage
mont for pursuing a oourse differing only in dogroe from
that of the great journal itsolf.
The publication of the details of such affairs as this
London scandal is a grevious wrong. It is a wrong
acainst the youth of this journal's oonstiluoncy. The
very faot that the Oregonian is read by mont of our peo
ple, old and young, enforces and gives pungency to the
charge. It is an unexpected thing in such a pajHir.
The common forms of criminality are expected aud looked
fnr. 1mm men educated only to pander to their baaor in-
stincts; and the law meets their brutiehneas with brute
force. But society has a right to expect moral con
ciousness from one whose general character and schol
arly attainments fit him for the editorial eontrol of a
great newspaper. When society is disappointed in this,
nlf- f.r 1wAvi widespread and disastrous. The
influence and the doings of the hoodlum are confined to
environment of that character, but the work of the
other penetrate, to the innermost circle, of our home.
lif. pither for eood or evil V bat but evil
to the minds of the young who are readers of the Ore.
aonxan will follow the publication of this noxious stuff
from Loudon? What will come of it but an apjiotite
for that character of reading matter, and where will the
appotito thus created be fed? Not iu the Oregomun col-
umns, surely, for they do not contain enough to satisfy
the appetite which grows the greater a it foaat. the
more, but in the papers denominated, and none km bit.
terly denounced, by that journal, as "tho mosquito
press. During the last half year, in it. attack, upon
certain papers making journaliatia merchandise of this
same sort of "stench" and "smut," tho Oregonian wa.
applauded to tho echo by tho best aoutiiuont of the com
munity, and yet to-day we find thi. mine groat nowHa.
per making space iu it columns for this abominable
nastinoss from so-called high life in London; a filthy re.
cital that parallels anything tho " monquito " prom ha.
ever published. It i. no more jiihI;M in publishing
this filth bocauHO it is telegraphed from London than it
would be in " making the moat of " any local .caudal
that might be brought to the surface here in Fortlaiul
What are tlieao " niottquito " papers saying about all
this? Just what they wild almut the i'oi'ee Oasellet
when certaiu gentlemen in this city began the movement
which resulted in tho enactment of a law forbidding It.
salo in Oregon. Said them fellows, in siilwlance: Tho
moro foul the minds of these young xxplo become
through reading the i'oiVxi Qateltt', the greater will be
the demand for our paper. And they fought against
tho paaaage of that bill. Tho Oregonian threw its
great weight on the .ido of morality and right in that
contest Those samo oponnnui aro saying of the Ore.
gonian precisely what they Mid about tho l'olie(hueUn
the more it publishes of that sort of impurity, tho
more will their paper. lo in demand. Thi. i. logical
enough. Not becauso they aay so, but liecauao it I. true,
tho Oregtmian, in allowing il. column, to be pro,
titutcd to tho spreading of such demoralising uaatiiim.,
i. virtually contributing to tho support of thi. "inm.
quito " prem It i. creating a thirst for just such vilo
and peruiciou. reading matter a. those per supply.
And for the reason that it i. a flret-elaa. ucwpaper,
going into tho hand, of thouiuind. of young xplo, who
have so far Wen kept free from the contaminating touch
of tho "nioMquito" preM, it become their advertising
agent. What father, who ha. watched over hi. children
with parcnWl solicitude, and carefully preserved them
from oontact with journal, of that unwbolownne olawi,
can oontemplate, without alarm, tho publication of such
vilo stuff in a journal which enter., unchallenged, hi.
family circle? Tho vory faot that the Oregonian oocu
pi a higher plana than iUooiitmnporarii, gip weight
to iU .cU, aud call, for the exclusion front it. column,
of uch matter a will sow tho seed, of ruin in th f.m
Hie. of it. constituent Tho old defense that " The
public demand, it" will not answer. If that wero true,
it would bo tho duty of -tho Oregonian to cre.U a differ,
ent publio opinion; but it i. not true of that portion of
the publio to which such a journal ha. to look for It.
support Will it pander iu the depraved last of tha
"mosquito" pr, or will it !av. consideration for tha