John Swinton, the foremost journalist of his day, was asked to toast an independent press at a New York banquet given in his honor by other journalists. His response was clear and forthright:
"There is no such thing, at this stage of the world's history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that they would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would we foolish enough to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify. to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what is this folly in toasting an independent press?