Jefferson on the Press

The notorious publisher James Callendar lived by a different standard: he printed whatever spin he was paid to spin. As long as he was being subsidized by Vice President Thomas Jefferson, he blasted President John Adams and Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton as traitors. But later, when President Jefferson refused to nominate his former co-conspirator as postmaster of Richmond, Callendar turned his wrath on the Sage of Monticello: “It is well known that the man, whom it delighteth the people to honor, keeps and for many years, has kept as his concubine, one of his own slaves. Her name is Sally.”

A royally pissed-off Jefferson got even with Callendar by denouncing newspaper publishers for eternity: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

Spin This!: All the Ways We Don’t Tell the Truth, Bill Press, 2001

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