Newspaper Conscience--A Study in Half-Truths

Alfred H. Lloyd
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 27, No. 2 (Sep., 1921), pp. 197-210
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Newspaper Conscience--A Study in Half-Truths


The newspaper conscience. Like life generally, the newspaper has been abnormal and hardly suggestive of conscience and control. Yet it may belied appearances. Its obvious faults, too, may be potential with virtue. Like the late medieval chuch, as necessary as outwardly offensive, it has at least set offense and opportunity intimately vis-à-vis and so its awakening and reform are assured. Such an attack as Sinclair's is not to be taken whole, but it may not be denied or neglected. Six counts against the press. The real case of the people against the press. The real case of the people against the press has at least six counts-commercialism, a general salesmanship mentality not confined to the advertising, a merely standpat and falsely motivated conservatism, a boasted but biased, often pruriently selective publicity control by the crowd mind with accompanying "automatism" and occult "communicaiton," and finally a ready but really udermocratic contempt for positive individuality and leadership. While of course only half-truths, these charges are too generally warreanted to be overlooke. Indications of an improvement in the press. The newspaper will show conscience, as it wakens generally to its faults, and its ideal expression. Consience is simply intelligence about self and the life in which one finds oneself with an accompanying sense of obligation to realize the recognized desirable possibilities, and the newspaper, today more or less of a prodigal, is boud thus to come to itself. There are already certain signs of its awakening and a vigorous newspaper conscience may be counted on to become general instead of exceptional.

Notes and References

This item contains 2 references.

  • 1
    This paper was written in the winter of 1920-2I and was read before the Uni- versity Press Club of Michigan at a conference held in Ann Arbor.
  • 1
    This reference contains 2 citations:
    • The Brass Check from The New Statesman (London, October 23, 1920)
    • The Living Age (Boston, November 4, 1920)