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Source: Knoxville Sentinel
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Attempt to Rob the Grave”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Knoxville, Tennessee
Date of publication: 24 September 1901
Volume number: 15
Issue number: 229
Pagination: 4

“Attempt to Rob the Grave.” Knoxville Sentinel 24 Sept. 1901 v15n229: p. 4.
full text
New York Journal; The Sun [New York, NY]; McKinley assassination (news coverage: criticism); Hearst newspapers (role in the assassination); McKinley assassination (personal response).
Named persons
William Jennings Bryan; Grover Cleveland; Leon Czolgosz; Ulysses S. Grant; Marcus Hanna; Rutherford B. Hayes; William Randolph Hearst; Thomas Jefferson; William McKinley.


Attempt to Rob the Grave

     We have no particular admiration for the New York Journal, although we recognize in that newspaper one of the few great organs in which the lower crust of society, as well as the upper, is allowed to utter its voice. All of Mr. Hearst’s methods may not be admirable, but he is certainly animated by good intentions and his newspaper, barring the features that do not please the more aesthetic tastes, and a carelessness as to accuracy which, while largely due to the immense amount of matter printed, is inexcusable, nevertheless contains much that is valuable.
     As far as the editorial policy of the Journal is concerned, we don’t know any paper that has given more aid and comfort to the federal administration, through its advocacy of expansion, nor has it ever supported Mr. Bryan in his silver views.
     The chief offense of the Journal, in the opinion of its envious New York contemporaries, is its phenomenal success and the fact that it is not under the domination of the trusts, and is thus free to expose capitalistic steals, such as were proposed in the ship subsidy bill and attempted in the Seventh National bank failure.
     The bitter attack of the New York Sun upon the Journal, in view of the Sun’s records in politics, seems to be an effort of the glass-house order. Anyone who has kept up with the Sun, will remember that that paper vilified General Grant even beyond the grave, and never recognized Rutherford B. Hayes as president of the United States. It printed a portrait of him with the word “Fraud” stamped on his brow. It habitually classed Grover Cleveland as a “stuffed prophet,” and spoke of both Cleveland and McKinley as “charlatans,” and the latter as “Hanna’s stuff.” When McKinley was nominated the Sun called him “the smooth-faced and dumb-faced candidate,” and his nomination “the triumph of time and cash.” It said: “A prudent man wouldn’t buy a yellow dog on as vague information and as blindly as a great political party is asked to take Mr. McKinley and nominate him for president.” The Sun is now the leading anti-labor and pro-trust republican organ in the United States. However sedate in typographical style, as contrasted with the “yellows,” it is more dangerous as regards its utterances.
     The effort of the Sun and its satellites to pursue the principal democratic paper in New York is about as contemptible and despicable a piece of journalism as has ever occurred in this country. With the president yet unburied these harpies have been trying to make “business” out of the occurrence by seeking to prejudice an incensed public against some object on which they could visit their wrath.
     While the Journal has committed plenty of sins, we do not believe it is in the slightest degree responsible for Mr. McKinley’s assassination. Such a charge against that, or any other paper is the vilest calumny. We do not think that the criticism of the McKinley administration in the democratic press has ever been as severe or as personal as the criticism of the Cleveland administrations in the republican press, and we are quite sure that as for the depths of depravity as regards the representations of the opposing candidates in cartoons during the presidential campaigns, and even afterward, there has been nothing to equal the malice, misrepresentation and slander to which Mr. Bryan was subject in 1900. The use of the term “anarchist” in connection with him was very frequent. But one may turn back the pages of history to the time of Jefferson and find the same term applied to the second president. As for Mr. McKinley, he was really treated with the greatest respect. The representations of Hanna were of a sordid character, and we are not at all convinced that they were undeserved.
     The efforts of the republican press throughout the country are directed not alone at the New York Journal, but by inference at all democrats. Coming at the time they did, when the democratic papers and democratic leaders were showing their intense patriotism and love for Mr. McKinley, as a man, respect and confidence as a president, their horror at his assassination and their fear of the injury to our institutions, this attempt of partisan papers to get advantage out of this deed of an anarchist is about as low, depraved and contemptible as can be conceived. It will not affect the democratic papers in their support of the government or the new president; nor will it prevent these papers or, indeed, swerve them, in the slightest degree, from their opposition to imperialism, to the trusts and to other vicious republican policies. It ought to be an object lesson to patriotic citizens, however, of the willingness of radical organs to gain partisan advantage even out of the grave of the president.
     The Scranton (Pa.) Republican, a republican newspaper, prints this rebuke to its fellow organs:
     “It is regrettable that any newspaper or any party organ in the United States would use the suffering of the president and the sorrow of the nation to appeal to prejudice for the purpose of making business capital or gaining partisan advantage. At this time the true patriot realizes that the stricken chief belongs to the nation. The attack was made on William McKinley, not because he was elected as a republican, not because he stood for the gold standard nor advocated national expansion. To Czolgosz and his fellow anarchists all these things are but so much chaff—mere names that mean nothing except to keep popular attention away from the glorious principles of anarchy. Had Mr. McKinley been the candidate of the democrats, or the populists—or the socialists, for that matter—he would have been no more acceptable to the anarchists as president than he is now. They hate all government and all agents of social order. Mr. McKinley was shot because he was president of the United States, and he was the president to his democratic fellow-citizens who didn’t vote for him, as well as to the republicans who did. And the horror and grief among his political opponents, we venture to say, is quite as strong as it is in the ranks of his own political party. There is—in fact, there can be—no distinction between democrats and republicans in this common sorrow. And if there are a few republicans indecent enough to try to use this awful national calamity for partisan purposes we are ashamed of them, though they do not in any way represent the sentiment of their party.”



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