One Hundred Years Ago Today
The Appeal (St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN) Saturday, July 15, 1911, Uncle Sam’s Secret Methods of Communication:
Residents of foreign countries who visit the United States almost invariably marvel at the open and above-board manner in which our government does business — the extent, for instance, to which the public is taken into confidence of the republic’s highest officials, through the medium of the newspapers and public addresses. And no wonder, for such a state of things is assuredly in sharp contrast to the practices that prevail in many foreign countries, where it seems to be the policy of high officials to never tell the people anything until they have to or until there is grave danger that they will learn it from some other source and where letters and telegrams are censored in a manner unheard of in this land of the free.
The article goes on to explain that the government, at times, does maintain its privacy because “it would undoubtably surprise the average reader could he know how many people there are who are constantly trying to find out things Uncle Sam does not wish to disclose or at least are trying to find them out before he is ready to make announcements on the subject.”
Tools of the trade: the modern dictagraph, telegraph and telautograph.
Innocent reporters not included.