Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, Sept 1862 (1-7B War news: Other war news)
From the Baltimore American.
Our Nation Afflicted with Lying-The Pictorial Newspapers.
I suppose you are becoming as disgusted as I am at lying in general throughout the country, but especially lying in regard to the war. Today’s paper exposes the latest falsehood in relation to the battle at Cedar Mountain, and tomorrow's paper may expose others, and so it has been for months. Our whole country seems given up to lying, and I believe Almighty God is going to punish the entire people justly and severely for this as well as other vices. We deserve a wholesome chastisement—for such unscrupulous lying and slander as I have seen the past year has never been surpassed in the history of the world;
Bad, however, as the press is, the illustrated portion endeavor to make it worse. Take, for instance Harper's Weekly. Nearly every week that sheet issues flaming illustrations of the war. Some are undoubtedly correct, and so far are useful and valuable; but many of them are utterly imaginary and false in every particular. Occasionally their artists draw pictures that have no foundation whatever in fact, and generally the facts are overdrawn to suit a vindictive and wicked taste. For example, I take one out of dozens: this week's issue holds a full-page plate called "Morgan's Highwaymen Sacking a Peaceful Village in the West." Now, we all know Morgan has captured Western towns and committed the usual atrocities of warfare, but we all know that Harper's picture is a lie. It is wholly imaginary— drawn by Thomas Nast, an artist who never witnessed anything like the scene, and who possibly never was within five hundred miles of the "highwayman's presence." The scene represents one man being shot in a window; another hanging to a lamppost, and one ruffian holding up a decapitated head, a la French Revolution. This is put in quite gratuitously; to help the horror, and for what purpose? In God's holy name, I ask, is not the public mind sufficiently inflamed but that these pictorials must add horror to the dread reality? Harper’s Weekly abounds with such wicked misrepresentations. I am surprised that such reputed Christian men as the proprietors have acted so evil a character as that of panderers to falsehood, malignity and crime. The New York Illustrated News is equally as bad ; "Frank Leslie" also is guilty," but Harper’s Weekly I specialize because it professes a higher rank than all other pictorials, and is consequently read more generally in respectable and religious society.
All this kind of embellishment has but one permanent effect—as all lying does—it is injurious to everybody, and it is as damning to our own Union cause as the worst efforts of our enemies.— God help the Union if it needs the aid of these liars! Lies—lies—lies stare us in the face and are dinned in our ears at every point, and are doing us more harm before Europe, before God, than the swords of all the Stonewall Jacksons in the South. May God help our cause! It needs no lying to save it. He will rather punish us first for the vice. Let us, therefore, stem the tide of falsehood and cling to the truth only, with all the ability we possess.
A Union Man Who Loves TRUTH.
Herald of Freedom and Torch Light
Maryland Historical Society
Sept 10-24, 1862
Maryland Historical Society
Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862; Maryland Campaign, 1862; Hagerstown (Md.)--Newspapers.
Washington County, MD. September 1862