Henry Raymond, the origin of the New York Times and what it has become today.
We cover a lot of topics and a lot of time line in my Journalism class. In the last class I attended we talked about several editors of major “penny-press” newspapers from the mid to late 19th century. One of these editors was a man named Henry Raymond, his newspaper…The New York Times.
Raymond ran a different sort of paper than many of the other Penny Presses at that time, many of the other papers were very partisan…not to any particular political group, but to the views of the individual editors. Horace Greeley for instance, a man whose paper was so popular that, in the mid-west, it was “next to the Bible” in importance, refused to cover criminal cases or the theater…because he believed such things were immoral and would corrupt the morals of his readers.
Raymond wrote about everything. He favored, as my teacher’s power-point said, “fair, careful, accurate reporting, especially foreign news.” He was non-partisan and dispassionate about politics and news in general. In his own politics he was sometimes conservative, sometimes radical, but always a champion of the public good and a supporter of the constitution.
Editorially, Raymond sought a niche between Greeley’s open partisanship and Bennett’s party-neutrality. In the first issue of the Times Raymond announced his purpose to write in temperate and measured language and to get into a passion as rarely as possible. “There are few things in this world which it is worthwhile to get angry about; and they are just the things anger will not improve.” In controversy he meant to avoid abusive language. His editorials were generally cautious, impersonal, and finished in form.
Raymond’s moderation was evident during the period after President Lincoln’s election and before his nomination. He wrote Alabama secessionist William L. Yancey: “We shall stand on the Constitution which our fathers made. We shall not make a new one, nor shall we permit any human power to destroy the one….We seek no war — we shall wage no war except in defense of the constitution and against its foes. But we have a country and a constitutional government. We know its worth to us and to mankind, and in case of necessity we are ready to test its strength.”
- From wikipedia (Yeah, yeah, I know…)
What would Henry Raymond think of the modern version of his penny-press newspaper today?
I’m a big fan of partisan blogs and editorials, I read S.E.Cupp, Michelle Malkin, Dirty Sex and Politics, and The Conservative New Ager. I watch O’Reilly and Red Eye and listen to Glenn Beck.
But I know they are partisan, I realize that and I do my best to hear the other side of the issue as well. I also realize that, while what they may report on may be rooted in factual events, it is heavily colored by their personal opinions and it is not journalism.
What you expect to get from The New York Times is Journalism, objective, fact based, rooted in reality, terms defined, and biases removed. Henry Raymond strove for that, even while he strove to support his country…or his country’s constitution (which these days can be two different things sadly).
Henry Raymond is likely spinning in his grave these days with ever partisan article that rolls of the presses at that his, once bi-partisan and factual, newspaper. What a shame…
Posted on 09/14/2011, in blogging, conservatives, Dirty Sex and Politics, Glenn Beck, journalism, liberals, Michelle Malkin, O'Reilly, politics, Red Eye, S.E. Cupp, The Conservative New Ager and tagged college, conservative, education, Journalism, Liberal, New York Times, Politics, the conservative new ager. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.