Publication information

Plain Speaker
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Prove Your Allegations”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Hazleton, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 2 October 1901
Volume number: 20
Issue number: none
Pagination: [2]

“Prove Your Allegations.” Plain Speaker 2 Oct. 1901 v20: p. [2].
full text
McKinley assassination (public response); yellow journalism; New York Journal; McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); the press (criticism).
Named persons
William Jennings Bryan; William Randolph Hearst; William Thomas Sampson.

Prove Your Allegations

     Much of the criticism that has found vent the last three or four weeks against newspapers known as “yellow journals” has been caused by the latter’s failure, when making serious allegations involving public men, to prove them to the satisfaction of the public.
     Take the esteemed New York Journal, for instance, which is generally referred to as being the leader of the “yellow” press. The Journal has done some good since it passed into the hands of William R. Hearst, its energetic, enthusiastic proprietor but it has also done some harm. It has very often criticised men high in the councils of the Republican party without furnishing any proof of the correctness of its charges.
     But the Journal has not been alone in this respect. Republican papers not claiming to the [sic] “yellow” are guilty of the same “reprehensible conduct” as our friend Admiral Sampson would say. Where the Journal has been fierce in its criticism of the McKinley administration Republican papers have been equally as radical in opposing Democratic politics and leaders, especially W. J. Bryan.
     Readers of newspapers should be like juries in our courts. No statements should be accepted unless accompanied by facts and corroborated. If a man occupying a public position is a thief the duty of the newspaper is not merely to call him one but to show him up by furnishing the evidence. The great trouble with a considerable portion of the press is that it makes its allegations without being in possession of direct proof implicating those whom it assails.
     If all the newspapers of the country would sink the personal prejudices of their editors and be content with a mere presentation of facts there would be fewer public scoundrels and the people would have greater respect for the journalistic profession. If a newspaper of any influence is once proven wrong in that its charges remain unsubstantiated or are found to be wholly false and malicious then for long thereafter its power for good in the particular community where it exists will be nullified and even when it does say something that is true and should command respectful consideration it is scorned at.