WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 39, 1915. THE PRESS AND THE WAR.
Ohb of ihe most remarkable featured of the present war ha-i been tbe attitude taken up by certain news papers in England notably the "Times" •'Daily Mail", and the "Globe". There is no doubt about tbe freedom of the Press in Britain, because in no other country would a paper dare to criticise the conduct of tbe war in floch a drastic manner It is a good thing to see tbat our Imperial Govern ment oan leave tbe Press «o free as to allow such comment; but it is re grettable that the Press should take auoh an advantage of their liberty of action. It is well known tbat tbe South African war wae prolonged through our war Isadora allowing tbe newspapers too free a hand. Plans of •ttaeb were revealed practically before tbey were made, with tbe inevitable rewalt that our enemies were ready to defeat them. When tbe war wib Germany broke oat the first news tost gresttd everybody wsb tbe etata>
ment tbat tbe Imperial Government was not going to be so foolish as to reveal all oar plans tb tbe enemy by newspaper comments. This announcement seemed to unsettle tbe general publio in tbe most extraordinary fashion. Knowing tbe newspapers were not posted np in all matters people became nervous and imagined all sorts of dire calamities bad befallen our soldiers and sailors. The story of a great natal disaster in the English Channel had to be denied officially by Mr Winston Churobill in tbe House of Commons and then rumour changed the fictitious disaster into a victory. Not for many years did "Dame Rumour" bave such a busy time as in the first six months of the war. It appears to us tbat the papers have not been hampered in tbe way of giving news. All they have been asked to do is to delay the publi oation of same till its appearence is of no benefit to our enemies. In tbe face of tbis the attitude taken up by several of the large English news* papers is a puzzle. Criticism is often good and without it many abuses may crop up However, the NorthcSiffe Press has been most unfair to the point of disloyalty. It is easy to see the objiOt of tbe promoters of tbe papers—they want to get a gaod advertisement— and tbey do not oare at what expense tbey obtain the same. "Tbe Times" employs a military critic, Colonel Bepingtori, who writes most appar ently to catch the publio mind One week he strongly advised tbe Imperial Government not to trouble about the Balkans, to allow the Germans to get to Constantinople, but to keep a watch on the French and Russian frontiers where the struggle would oome. A fortnight later, when he supposed bis former advice was for* gotten, be rates the war leaders for not having poured hundreds of tbous ands of troops into Servia. Such bouleversements rob the military critic's reviews of any worth, but most of tbe public do not trouble to remember tbe opinion of a fortnight ago, and these little discrepances are not noticed. In Germany, tbe position is very different. The military authorities dominate the "Press, and freedom of speech is not allowed In a way it is better to bave the outlet tbat the f'Times," "Globe," etc., give to malcontents wbo consider tbey could conduct tbe war more success fully. In Germany, where tbe Press «9 gagged, there is no vent at all, and when tbe public realises the true position tbe deluge will oome. At the same time, the attitude taken by tbe proprietors of these English papers is bard to understand, and the lists of patriots cannot include men who vilify the war leaders to sell tbeir papers. The publio may buy these newspapers to read tbeir, latest diatribes, but underneath tbeir apparent indifference the English people have a strong feeling of disgust for men wbo are assisting our enemies by Btirring up strife as much as possible.