Media Manipulators–Lying Since the 1850s

By Al Benson Jr.

Those who manipulate the news, the spin masters, and those who shape news events to fit their own political agendas have been alive and well in this country at least since the 1850s, and probably before. These are the people who take news events and reshape them so that they say what they want them to say. For them truth is a by-word, to be pushed aside whenever it happens to get in the way of their pet agendas. They are journalistic Marxists—using the “news” they have created to justify the ends they promote.

One of the most famous (or infamous) of these was James Redpath. Early in his career he wrote anti-slavery articles under the pseudonym of “Berwick” and later worked as a reporter for Utopian Socialist Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. According to Wikipedia: “An early assignment at the Tribune involved compiling ‘Facts of Slavery,’ a regular series of articles gathered from Southern newspaper exchanges. Beginning in March 1854, he traveled in the South to examine slavery for himself, interviewing slaves and collecting material published in 1859 as The Roving Editor: or, Talks with Slaves in the Southern States. The book’s production costs were covered by prominent antislavery philanthropist Gerrit Smith.” That was the Gerrit Smith of “Secret Six” fame, who got himself admitted to a sanitarium after the John Brown affair at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

According to dlib.nyu.edu “Redpath inaugurated a ‘Facts of Slavery’ column for the New York Tribune, curating slave trade information from the Southern press, and later went South to interview slaves so they could have a forum for relating their experiences in their own words. He later took jobs at Southern newspapers and surreptitiously sent reports back north in the guise of letters to relatives in Minnesota. They, in turn, under prior arrangement, forwarded the reports to editors.” He was later a war correspondent with Sherman’s army. If he was in Georgia with them I’ll bet he had a ball whitewashing what “Sherman’s bummers” did there.

By 1855 Redpath had showed up on the Kansas-Missouri border and was writing for a Free Soil newspaper, the Missouri Democrat, on the problems in “Bleeding Kansas.” For yet another three years he continued to stick his “news media” nose into the situation in Kansas. He had involvement in politics and he continued to write “dispatches” in which he tried to gain support in New England for Free State settlers in Kansas. In 1856 he interviewed terrorist  John Brown, supposedly just days after he and his gang had murdered five pro-slavery men at Pottawatomie Creek by hacking them to death with broadswords while their families were forced to stand by and watch the gruesome scene. Folks, I submit, this was 19th century terrorism in living color! After that event Redpath became John Brown’s “most fervent publicist.”

Otto Scott, in his informative book The Secret Six: The Fool As Martyr said of Redpath “One of the magicians of confusion, expert at misdirecting attention, was the journalist James Redpath, who appeared in John Brown’s camp on the afternoon of May 29, 1856. How he found the camp remains a mystery. What he and John Brown discussed remains essentially unknown, except for a fable that Redpath wrote three years later, in a mendacious book about the scene. Here he described Brown as both a Cromwellian figure, all Biblical quotes and stern rules for clean living and high thinking and as chief of noble outlaws sequestered in the forest.” And so we see the “news media” of the 1850s hard at work, turning the terrorist into a saint for the dubious benefit of his Eastern readers.

You do have to wonder, along with Otto Scott, how Redpath located the terrorist camp, and Redpath never really tells. That would be giving out too much news that the public is not supposed to be aware of. However, Otto Scott made an interesting connection here, another one the “historians” don’t really want you to know about. He noted: “At the time Redpath met Brown in his camp, however, there could well have been more than journalistic curiosity involved. Redpath was a friend of the unscrupulous Jim Lane—the Free Soil leader who had escaped the treason dragnet cast out by the territorial government–…Brown, who Redpath and everyone else in the territory by now knew to be responsible for the Pottawatomie murders, was a man who seemed worth contacting, and Lane—according to Charles Robinson later—was in favor of using terror as a means of gaining power and property.” Anyone who has ever read any of the history of the Kansas-Missouri border problems and the “Civil War” in that area is familiar with Jim Lane. If you are not, then do a Google search on him. Lots of stuff out there on old “mad dog” Jim Lane!

However, Lane’s connection to “journalist” Redpath is never mentioned, but in looking at it as Scott has done you can begin to see the connection between terrorist Jim Lane and terrorist John Brown, and the conduit is news media pundit James Redpath.

And Scott has also noted something else the “historians” don’t comment much on. He said: “But it was clear that the murders in the Pottawatomie area had coincided with a series of organizing moves to drive Southern settlers out of Kansas, to destroy Southern settlements…The appearance of such deliberate and coordinated violence, however, could not have been possible, nor could it have proceeded, without a covering legend by Northern newspapermen, who shrouded its significance from the nation.”

So you can see that the “news media” today has a really checkered inheritance to live up to. They are still doing what the media back in the 1850s did—prevarication, waffling, obfuscation (I’m trying to find a nice way to say they were liars). Nothing has changed. But if you begin to get some faint glimmer of what they did back then you might begin to grasp what they are still doing today.

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Part 2–More About Secession the “History” Books Haven’t Told Us

by Al Benson Jr.

It has been accurately asserted by author Gene H. Kizer Jr. that: “The arguments for the right of secession are unequivocal. There is the constitutional right based on the Compact Theory, and the revolutionary right based on the idea that a free people have a right to change their government anytime they see fit. The Compact Theory views the Constitution as a legal agreement between the states–a compact–and if any one state violates the compact, then the entire agreement becomes null and void. Northern states unquestionably violated the Constitution on a number of grounds including Personal Liberty Laws on their books, as well as by deliberately harboring fugitives from justice by protecting the sons of John Brown who were wanted by Virginia for murder at Harpers Ferry. Northern states also made a mockery of the Constitution’s Preamble which states clearly that the Constitution was established to ‘insure domestic tranquility’ and ‘promote the general Welfare.’ Certain prominent Northern leaders with the acquiescence of states like Massachusetts were utterly at war with the South and doing everything they could to destroy the domestic tranquility of the Southern states by encouraging slaves to murder white people, poison wells, destroy property and commit other acts of rapine. John Brown himself had been encouraged and financed by the North.”

I have, in the past, written about a group called The Secret Six, which financed Brown’s terrorist activities in both Kansas and Virginia. Of this group all, save one, was from New England and that one was from New York. An excellent book to read regarding this dismal period in our history is Otto Scott’s The Secret Six–The Fool as Martyr which is a biography of John Brown, and therefore deals with those that financed him in some detail. Another good work in this area worth reading, if you can find it is The Road to Harpers Ferry by J. C. Furnas. A couple years ago in my little newsletter The Copperhead Chronicle I did a series of biographical sketches on the Secret Six. Quite an interesting little group. One of them, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a Unitarian minister made the statement “I am always ready to invest money in treason…” I mention all this to demonstrate that the North had indeed broken the Constitutional Compact.

Walter Williams, a distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University has written on the secession question on a number of occasions. In his understanding secession is indeed legal. He noted at one point that before the War Between the States a constitutional amendment was proposed by some Northern congressman that would prohibit secession. He then points out that there would have been no point in offering such an amendment if secession had already been unconstitutional. You do have to admit that he has a point.

A few years ago the late Joe Sobran, (whom I assume that most people who read have heard of), wrote an article that appeared on http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org in which he noted that: “Our ultimate defense against the federal government is the right of secession. Yes, most people assume that the Civil War settled that. But superior force proves nothing. If there was a right of secession before that war, it should be just as valid now. It wasn’t negated become Northern munitions factories were more efficient than Southern ones.” And Sobran further observed, and I have to agree with him, that: “The original 13 states formed a ‘Confederation’ under which each state retained its ‘sovereignty, freedom and independence’.” The Constitution didn’t change this; each sovereign state was free to reject the Constitution. The new powers of the federal government were ‘granted’ and ‘delegated’ by the states, which implies that the states were prior and superior to the federal government. Even in The Federalist, the brilliant propaganda papers for ratification of the Constitution…the United States are constantly referred to as ‘the Confederacy’ and a ‘confederate republic,’ as opposed to a single ‘consolidated’ or monolithic state. Members of ‘a confederacy’ are by definition free to withdraw from it.”

Sobran noted that while Hamilton and Madison sincerely hoped secession would never happen, they didn’t deny that it was a possibility, and even if Madison didn’t like or agree with it, that doesn’t make it illegal.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816: “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation…to continuance in union…I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate’.” Donald W. Livingston, a professor of philosophy at Emory University, and president of the Abbeville Institute, wrote in an article published in Chronicles magazine in October, 2010, that: “A state cannot retain sovereignty unless it has it, and in joining the Union no state renounced sovereignty. What motivates the nationalist theory is not an honest look at the historical founding of America, but political ambition legitimated by the philosophical theory of the modern unitary state. This ambition appears forcefully in Hamilton, who argued at the Philadelphia Convention for a president for life, a senate with members for life, appointed by the president, and state governors appointed by the president–in other words, monarchy by another name.” You have to wonder if any of those “you can’t get out of the Union no matter what” folks have something of this sort in mind. Those that seek to deny people their rights usually do have an agenda.

Agitation Propaganda Then and Now

by Al Benson Jr.

This is a subject I have written about in the past but it is still relevant today and so I don’t think it hurts to remind folks. All radical and anti-Christian revolutionary movements opposed to God and His lawful authority have used agitation propaganda, or what has been called “agit-prop” and they still use it today. Such material has been used to inflame the passions and emotions of ordinary people so they will, without benefit of serious thought or reflection, become cannon fodder for the revolutionaries in their quest to overthrow legitimate God-given authority. This fits right in with the “critical theory” technique employed by the Marxists and their handlers today, though it is hardly something new.

It went on before the French Revolution got into full swing and was, no doubt, responsible for much of what followed in that horrid debacle. The late historian, Otto Scott, in his book Robespierre–the Voice of Virtue (Mason & Lipscomb, New York), noted that the French revolutionaries of that day made more than adequate use of the printed word. On page 47 of his book he commented on the use of pamphlet shops in Paris and how much material they turned out.  He quoted an English observer of all this who said, of the printed pamphlets: “Thirteen came out today, sixteen yesterday, ninety-two last week…nineteen twentieths are in favor of liberty…violent against clergy and nobility…Nothing in reply appears…”  Note his last comment–“Nothing in reply appears.” In regard to reaching the general public, or at least those who could read, the Leftist revolutionaries (for that’s really what they were) had the entire field to themselves. There was no rebuttal to their vitriol whatever.

In this country, in the decades of abolitionist ascendancy before the War of Northern Aggression, the media was used in the exact same way, to promote the careers of such men as abolitionist/terrorist John Brown. Although Brown, a failure in every business he was ever involved in, was nothing more than an impoverished-most-of-the-time murderer, he was, via the Northern “news” media, given the appearance of a saint, of at least the stature of Oliver Cromwell. It was a glowing tribute to the prowess of the Northern “news” media that a man like John Brown was able to be passed off as anything other than the murderer he really was. Yet it happened.  It was one of the higher points of what passed for abolitionist “journalism.”

Otto Scott, in his excellent and informative book The Secret Six–The Fool As Martyr noted that: “John Brown appeared…with a reputation created by James Redpath of the N.Y. Tribune, attested by Richard Hinton of the Boston Traveler and the Chicago Tribune, enameled by Phillips of the New York Times in his recent book on Kansas, by the Times’ Sam Tappen, and by Richard Henry Kagi of the New York Post.”  So the Northern media conducted what was plainly a campaign of agitation propaganda against the South, and history shows that, at the time, the Southern states had nothing with which to counter such a Northern propaganda blitz. Furthermore, many Southerners did not even think this specious propaganda was worth replying to, so they just ignored it. They shouldn’t have. Again, this attitude gave the Leftists the complete playing field, with almost no opposition whatever.

In passing, I will remind folks that the New York Tribune was owned by utopian socialist Horace Greeley, the same Horace Greeley that employed Charles Dana and Karl Marx. Does that tell you anything? You can read about some of this in Lincoln’s Marxists the book co-authored by Donnie Kennedy and myself. Don’t look for too many of the professional “historians” to tell you all that much about it.

Not only that, there were many more newspapers in the North than in the South. In a book entitled The North and the South–Being a Statistical View of the Condition of the Free and Slave States (originally published in 1857 by John P. Jewett and Company, Boston, and Henry P. B. Jewett, Cleveland) many observations were made as to the power of the press in both Northern and Southern states. It is stated on page 112 of the book that: “In 1828 the number of papers at the North was to that at the South as 3 to 1; and in 1840 as 2 1/2 to one…in 1850 the number of papers at the South was 704; at the North 1799; while the circulation at the South was 782,453, and at the North 4,296,768; or over five at the North to one at the South…” So the abolitionists and their radical socialist comrades had a whopping numerical advantage. For some reason, as stated previously, those that took a constitutional, states’ rights position seemed almost reluctant to reply to the Yankee/Marxists. Their position deserved a fair hearing, which it never got outside of the South.

In our day, Herbert Philbrick, in his book I Let Three Lives traced the use of agitation propaganda by the Communists in this country when he infiltrated the Communist Party USA for the FBI. That would never happen nowadays! Philbrick wrote: “Secret underground presses are a vital adjunct to the Communist Party in every non-Communist nation, including the United States. Propaganda and deception are the keystones on which the movement to subvert a people and their government must be built. Communications and agitation by means of the printed word, through pamphlets, magazines, leaflets, and newspapers are essential to the structure.” 

Philbrick pointed out a situation that has not changed since before the French Revolution, and one that continues right up to our day–and now you can add the Internet into the mix. Radical left-wingers, whether in the streets, on Wall Street, in our public education system, or in the halls of Congress,make much use of the media for their own purposes, and haplessly, the media seem all too willing to go along with it, as it works toward the One World goal of tearing down this country and its culture, which is a main part of their agenda along with the destruction of Christianity.

Lots of uninformed folks will say “This is America, that can’t happen here.” To which I would reply–what are you willing to do to make sure it doesn’t happen here?