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An interesting discrepancy in the emphasis placed on a particular piece of news appeared yesterday in the disposition of the aluminum trust story by leading metropolitan dailies. The World featured the story. Its milder Democratic ally, The New York Times, not feeling so strong a proprietory ardor in the invistigation, allowed it a column in the middle of the first page and a one column head. But the front pages of three Republican papers, The New York Herald-Tribune, The Boston Herald, and The Boston Transcript, were guiltless of the news. It found one column space on page three of the Tribune and on page seventeen of the Herald. In the Transcript, it did not appear at all.
The aluminum story may or may not have been of front page importance. The fact is a matter of judgment. Nevertheless, the evident alignment of the Democratic papers on the positive side of this proposition and of the Republican on the negative, suggests that one of the constant elements in such journalistic judgment is partisanship. Either the one side was touting a triviality or the other was suppressing a significance.
Any injustice that may lurk in these practices depends on the definition of a newspaper. If its editorial and news functions are properly separate, there ought to appear no definite discrimination in portrayal of current news of a universally acceptable type. It is quite understood that a papar's policy may eliminate stories of a mirbid character or may introduce numerous feature articles without in the least affecting its impartial display of news. But the uniform suppression or exaggeration of news, along party lines, is a definite and subtle intrusion of editorial columns into the news pages.
However much it may increase the value of the paper as a party organ this policy materially impairs it in exercise of a public purpose, the dissemination of fact news among the people. The unheralded entrance of partisanship into news columns, subjects the less discerning reader to a most powerful and intangible mode of convincing namely, tabloid indication and constant veiled repetition of a doctrine, an insinuation, or an attitude.
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