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by leslie on June 18th, 2014

We can learn from Benjamin Franklin how to keep integrity in newspapers. Franklin excluded all libelling and personal abuse. He said, “Whenever I was solicited to insert any thing of that kind, and the Writers pleaded as they generally did, the Liberty of the Press, and that a Newspaper was like a Stage Coach in which any one who would pay had a Right to a Place, my Answer was, that I would print the Piece separately if desired, and the Author might have as many Copies as he pleased to distribute himself, but that I would not take upon me to spread his Detraction, and that having contracted with my Subscribers to furnish them with what might be either useful or entertaining, I could not fill their Papers with private Altercation in which they had no Concern without doing them manifest Injustice.”
(“The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”, 1771, The Easton Press, 1976, p. 124)

Franklin said many other newspapers printed malice of individuals by false accusations, augmenting animosity leading to pernicious consequences. He cautioned young printers against these practices and encouraged them “not to pollute their Presses and disgrace their Profession by such infamous Practices, but refuse steadily.

Newspapers should print only the truth, the facts and that which is edifying and wholesome.

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