I know that a man is often prone
to exaggerate the importance of his own particular environment.
However, I wish to distinctly declare that my residence in Los Angeles
has not made me so provincial that I have ever been unaware of the
exceeding insignificance of the editor of the Los Angeles Times.
I forget his name for the moment. It would enlighten no one anyway.
Of late years he has seemingly been running his paper for the one
and particular object of vilifying Wilshire and his views. Ordinarily
such a course might be passed over without comment. In fact it might
be regarded as a species of bastard advertising having considerable
However, the assassination of the
President has led him into such extreme language that I feel called
upon to point out the danger of allowing such unrestrained liberty
of the press. Liberty is not license.
The Times has long felt that
almost any means of suppressing my views should be adopted.
After the President was shot it could
not resist displaying, with its professional weeping and wailing,
its exultation that the foul deed would prove a means toward suppressing
Let me quote from its editorial:
“Some terrible shock was needed,
perhaps, to restore the public mind and the public conscience
to a normal appreciation and understanding of the true significance
of these crimes of society and our system of government.
“The fateful blow has been delivered,
and the whole nation is weeping and shuddering at the horror
of it. If it shall serve to stir the public conscience to normal
and wholesome action, even this supreme and pitiful sacrifice
will not have been wholly in vain.”
This is simply a parallel of the
workings of the diseased brain of Czolgosz that led to the assassination
of the President.
The anarchist looks over society and
he, like the editor of the Times, sees a dreadful state of
affairs. They both say to themselves “some terrible shock is needed
to restore the public mind and public conscience.” The only difference
between them is that the editor of the Times talks and the
The Times now says, in order
no doubt to divert attention from itself on the “stop thief” theory:
“While we have laws all too
complex and too stringent regulating the conduct of citizens
in certain directions, we have seemingly been blind to the dangers
arising from the wanton, systematic and outrageous abuse of
the privileges of free speech and a free press.”
All this is quite true, but it is
of course hard to determine exactly when such men as the editor
of the Times and his kidney should be transferred from the
editorial office to the rock pile. Possibly a safe rule would be
when a jury decides that they have not only attempted to hold a
man up to public scorn and hatred by false allegations, but did
so knowing that the allegations were false at the time of utterance.
I reproduce in this issue two cartoons
from the Times that have appeared since the assassination,
which would probably land the editor behind the bars if a law of
this nature was now in force. It will be noticed that he classifies
Socialists, with convicts, anarchists and the insane. All know the
feeling in this country, and it is perfectly well founded and justified,
against anarchists. They are a pestilential nuisance and nobody
more than the Socialist wishes them out of the way. When now the
Times classifies Socialists with such outcasts it is maliciously
and deliberately endeavoring to incite the ignorant to acts of violence
against Socialists. I say maliciously because, although the editor
of the Times is ignorant of most things, still he has been
informed repeatedly to my own personal knowledge as to the aims
of Socialists and he himself is allowed the privilege of a personal
acquaintance of a number of men of wealth and position like myself
who are avowed Socialists. It is readily admitted that the effect
of his cartoons and editorials is just opposite that intended, inasmuch
as the animus is too apparent, but the intent is there just the
 same and it is the intent
that is to be considered.
When an editor deliberately, repeatedly
and maliciously endeavors to incite his readers to acts of violence
against men whom he knows represent the intelligence and morality
of his own community, there may be a certain truth in his contention
that the liberty of the press is being abused.
No one to-day is howling more than
the Times against Mr. Hearst, alleging that the cartoons
in his paper led to the assassination of McKinley. I would like
to know what the editor of the Times would say in justification
of himself if some weak-minded person should be led by his own cartoons
to assassinate a Socialist? Of course the editor would be glad of
it, but he would no more dare to say so than do the avowed anarchist
editors dare rejoice at the assassination of McKinley.
If Hearst can be blamed for inciting
to assassination then the editor of the Times can also be
If there is one paper in this country
worthy of suppression it is the Los Angeles Times. A paper
that not only finds comfort in the assassination of McKinley for
the reason that “perhaps some terrible shock was needed,” but that
has ever since that event repeatedly approved of the tactics of
the anarchists by actions speaking far louder than words.