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A Wicked Editor

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A receut incident which occurred in the towii of Erie, Penn., carries with it a moral of extra siza and strength, and ought to prove a valuuble warning to wicked and humorous country editora, Several weeks ago The Tinaes contained an account of the strange mistake made by a learned Germau Professor residing in Milwaukee, who, on bis way home from a midnight discussion of philosophy and beer, accidentally buttoned bis ulster overcoat around a lamp-post, and thereupon imagined that he had been made a prisoner by the electric fluid. In tliis unhappy state the Professor remained until lie was released by a friendly policeman, who utterly rejected the" theory that electi icity had anything to do with the affuir, and brutally hintwl that the ProIV.S.SO1- had buttonetl his ulster around the lamp-post white laboring under a temporaiy absence of inind inducel by beer. The story was fcold solely wllh a view to do good, since it was supposed that it might save other Germán fessors in other cities trom a like ealamity. That it was strictlj trtie need hardly be asserted liere. The evidences of its truth, aniong which inavbe rank1 tho undoubted tact that Milwaukee exirts and contains Germán Professors, lamp-ix)sts, beer, and ulster orercoats, are accessible to erew One, and can searcely fail to earry conviction to tlie most ineredulous inind. In the town of Erie there is pnblished a newspaper ealled the Erie Dispatch, provided with editors, scissors, and all the other elementa of American journalism. One niglit it occurred to one of the editors that it would be a good idea to play a practical joke on Capt. C. F. Miller, a well-known citizen of Erie. It also occurred to the editor that he was expected to furnish a column of immediate copy. In these circumstances he bethought him of The Times and its story of the Milwaukee Germán. Seizing his scissors, he instantly rewrote the story, substituting the name of Capt. Miller forthat of the Milwaukee Gennan, and alleging that the lanijvpost incident had oceurred in Erie. Having tlms killed two birds with oe easy stone, the wieked editor went to his home wondering how Capt. Miller would enjoy the next number of the Dispatch. Capt. Miller seems to be a man wholly destitute of any seiuseof humor. When he read the Dispateh and saw himsdf represented as having been so drunk as to f asten hiinself unwittingly to a lanij)-post with lus ulster, he giew indignant. This was, of course, the result of his dullness and lack of perception of humor. The joke was one which he himelf ought to have enjoved. Itwasadapted to please fcis wife amlehildren, to fill his pastor witli hilarity, and heighten his reputation among all his friends. Xo one but an exceptionallv dull and crabbed person could hnd fault with a newspaper for representing him as i drunkaid, an) n view of Capt. Miller's reception of the joke, there can be but one opinio of the man. With a promptiiess that few meu would have shown in doing ;i good action, Capt. Millar cansed a criminal suit tor libel tobe begun against theproprietor, editor and publisher of the Dispatch, all of whom are suminarily eoniprehended in one person. When the case catue to trial, he proved, in the most conclusive way, that the story which appeared in the üispateh was without the slightest foundation in truth so far as h was concerned. It is understood that not only did ho prove au alibi on the night 'of bis alleged lrunkenness, but that lie also proved that he never drank anything; that he never had an ulster; that there were no lamp-posts in the Vown of Erie, and no policemen. The defendant relied upon the plea that the story was inteuded as a joke, and was not in the slightest degreo designed to injure Capt. Miller's chararter. Strange as it ïiny seem, this plea was not regarded jy eitlier the Judge or the jury as a jood defense, and the defendant was ;hereupon four.d gullty. The unhappy editor wlio wlth feloxioiiB scissors rewrote the Timcs's article and palnied it upon the readers of the Dispatch as his own wil] probably hereafter be lesshilurioiis in his humor aud more mindfu] of the several coinmandinents which incúlcate honestv and veracity. lie knew wlien lie rewrote the artic!e and sald that something had happened to ('apt. Miller in Erie which had really liappened to a (ïerman in Mihvaukee that he was not telling the trutli. Wlie i a newspaper man arrivés at that point of moral degradiition that he can clieerfully write things which he knows to be untrue - unless, of course, they are campaigii charges- he is in a pitiable condition. It was bad enough for the Dispatc'i writer to use tho original story without giving credit to the newspaper in whicu it first appeared, bilt for hiiu to wantonly tamper wlth historie facts, to falsify the records which the future historian of American manners and custoras will regard as his most precious materials, and to defame the character of a fellow-citizen who.wliether we regard him as a captain or a man, deserves to be troated with fairness and consideration, was an act which no charity can palliate. We mar now expoct to see a new snit brought against him by the mayor and coinmon council oí Milwaukee for felonionsly appropriating Milwaukee'a facts for the use of Eñe people. He cannot go on in tilia way and prosper, and it is to be hoped tliat before it is too late he will become convinced that truth and honesty - except just prior to au election - are or should be the brightest jewels in the crown of an American journalist.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat