A REFORMER IN NEED OF REFORM
A weekly organ of the Prohibition party published in its latest issues a characteristically violent article charging "certain of the daily papers," including THE TRIBUNE, with an "apparent disposition" to check "the so-called white slave crusade," and "discredit the reports which have been made by investigators concerning the prevalence of the evil."
The case against THE TRIBUNE, INTEROCEAN, and Record-Herald is based on the interpretation placed on the headlines over reports of the findings of the Rockefeller grand jury. THE TRIBUNE is charged in "an editor’s note" with "garbling" the report, but nothing is said of the fact that the most damaging findings of the report were given by THE TRIBUNE or that an editorial called attention to these findings and criticized the judge for his comment on them.
As itself a striking example of "garbling" and dishonest suppression of the essential truth, the article referred to is commended to the conscientious consideration of local Prohibitionists. The "editor’s note" also contains the following: "It will be noted that the ‘nasty old TRIBUNE,’ in the columns of which Chicago’s white slaves recently ran advertisements, fittingly gives larger headlines to its falsehoods than either of the other papers."
The reference is to two ambiguous "want ads" which through the innocence or carelessness of a TRIBUNE clerk crept into print. As soon as they were discovered an investigation was made, the authorities were invoked, and the offenders were punished and suppressed. But this "journal of good government" and lofty moral protestation intended its readers to believe THE TRIBUNE is willing to receive disreputable advertising. Nothing is said of the censorship which keeps THE TRIBUNE’s advertising columns clean day after day. Nothing is said of the work done in the news columns and editorially against the white slave trade.
THE TRIBUNE need not remind its readers of these things — for they know. But its readers do not know that the investigation and prosecutions carried on for months by former Assistant State’s Attorney Roe against the white slave evil in Chicago were financed by THE TRIBUNE. This public service has cost $12,000 and has obtained results not only in the punishment of the guilty, and the reduction by 75 per cent of this horrible traffic, but in the collection of data which will be used effectually by the vice commission or any other organization interested in practical social reform.
THE TRIBUNE has done this work without the blowing of trumpets, because it sought results, not sanctimonious self-satisfaction. This is the first publication or public reference to a costly service in the crusade we are now charged with trying to "discourage."
The worst enemies of the prohibition cause or any other cause are to be found invariably in the ranks of its "supporters." Put a great thought in a little brain and it destroys every other consideration that ought to thrive, and does thrive in larger minds, by its side. The prohibition movement illustrates this truth in such cases as the editor of this intemperate organ of "temperance," which charges garbling and supports the charge by suppression of truth, which as a self-styled "journal of good citizenship" indulges in injustice, slanderous innuendo, venom and moral intemperance.
The readers of this periodical are being deceived and their cause is being hurt by these methods and this spirit, which are more to be condemned in men who make moral protestations than in men who make none.