As a matter of fact, I was strongly opposed to the censorship bill, and delayed acceptance of office until the President had considered approvingly the written statement of my views on the subject. It was not that I denied the need of some sort of censorship, but deep in my heart was the feeling that the desired results could be obtained without paying the price that a formal law would have demanded. Aside from the physical difficulties of enforcement, the enormous cost, and the overwhelming irritation involved, I had the conviction that our hope must lie in the aroused patriotism of the newspaper men of America.
With the nation in arms, the need was not so much to keep the press from doing the hurtful things as to get it to do the helpful things. It was not servants we wanted, but associates. Better far to have the desired compulsions proceed from within than to apply them from without.
As I read this, the first thing that came to mind was the journolist. But this is much more insidious. The journolist was just a bunch of conniving leftists posing as journalists getting together in a proverbial 'smoke filled room' to influence an election. What Creel and the boys did was apply pressure from the government. But they're not in favor of nationalization! Not censorship! No. What they want to do is make progress. Abuse the regulatory state perhaps, apply a little pressure where they can. You know, nudge. Nudge them into making "the right decisions" about what they'll report on. Creel continued:
Aside from these considerations, there was the freedom of the press to bear in mind. No other right guaranteed by democracy has been more abused, but even these abuses are preferable to the deadening evil of autocratic control.
Yet if they're going to make "associates" out of the press, then there is no freedom of the press to speak of. It's a lie. It only looks free on the surface. Having the press turn itself into a willing branch of autocracy, now wouldn't that be perfect? And worth note is how this was originally geared just to be strictly about protecting military prospects, actions and so forth. But that's the thing about statists and authoritarians. They can't help themselves but go further. The only way people can be free is if the government is limited. More from Creel: (Page 18)
My proposition, in lieu of the proposed law, was a voluntary agreement that would make every paper in the land its own censor, putting it up to the patriotism and common sense of the individual editor to protect purely military information of tangible value to the enemy. The plan was approved and, without further thought of the pending bill, we proceeded to prepare a statement to the press of America that would make clear the necessities of the war-machine even while removing doubts and distrusts.
And with that, the shadow press was born. They ceased to be a free press(while still looking like one on the surface) and became associates of the state. Wilson and Creel didn't nationalize the press, they just made progress. In what year did you think journalism died? This book is dated 1920, but the CPI was born in 1917.