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A blunder worse than a crime, Editorial for September 25, 1909

Saturday, September 25, 1909

A blunder worse than a crime

IN SUCH category, we very much fear, must be included the action of the Chief Executive in cutting off the government’s advertising appropriation from El Renacimiento.

By the Chief Executive’s action the government is placed in the humiliating position of confessing that it has suffered from the periodical’s criticism. If there is any justification for the saying that “it is the truth that hurts”, the government is further placed in the position of admitting that the criticism has been true, and that the truth has rankled. The action of the government will be interpreted as a confession of weakness. And, far from crippling El Renacimiento, it will simply tend to strengthen it.

It is a common remark among Americans that El Renacimiento is the organ of the “demagogues” and “politicos”, but those best acquainted with that newspaper and its clientele know that it is much more than that—that it is the chief organ of the Filipino people, that it comes closer to them than any other, that it more truly voices their aspirations—that it is THE PEOPLE. The government is thus placed in the position of striking not only at El Renacimiento, but striking at the Filipino people, and using the money of the people to do it.

Further, the government is placed in the position of admitting that the money of the people spent in the form of advertising appropriations is nothing more than a bribe to the newspapers here to keep hands off the government. It is confessedly an effort to corrupt and stifle a free press. The presumption is that the government has its notices published for the benefit of the people, and, as there is no Filipino paper with one half the circulation of El Renacimiento, the government stultifies itself and by its action confirms the belief that the money is not spent for publicity purposes or as a business proposition but solely as a bribe to silence criticism and promote sycophantic adulation. Truly a most edifying picture!