Monday, December 19, 2011

President Woodrow Wilson comments on censoring the press

On March 22, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson wrote the following letter:

I have been very much surprised to find several of the public prints stating that the administration had abandoned the position which it so distinctly took, and still holds, that authority to exercise censorship over the Press to the extent that that censorship is embodied in the recent action of the House of Representatives is absolutely necessary to the public safety. It, of course, has not been abandoned, because the reasons still exist why such authority is necessary for the protection of the nation.

I have every confidence that the great majority of the newspapers of the country will observe a patriotic reticence about everything whose publication could be of injury, but in every country there are some persons in a position to do mischief in this field who can not be relied upon and whose interests or desires will lead to actions on their part highly dangerous to the nation in the midst of a war. I want to say again that it seems to me imperative that powers of this sort should be granted.

You think that's bad reading it? Here, listen to it:

The power of the spoken word, and I'm even not a professional speaker. But that doesn't really matter. This is how arrogant these people are, the words are what they are. People need to see this, they need to hear it. A lot of very dark things happened in America during the "progressive" era. And it's a shame that so much was said, written, taught, and actions taken while much was either never recorded in the first place, or said video/audio clips have been lost to time. It's long past time to correct this by recording it ourselves.


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