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Opinions: then and now

Posted by: | October 5, 2009 | No Comment |

Opinions have appeared within newspapers and in journalism for ages. Though journalists are meant to be unbiased, it is often difficult, some might say impossible, for one to fully pull away from long held beliefs, whether they be religious, political, or otherwise.

Nowadays, when people think of opinion pieces, they tend to think of the editorials and op-eds in newspapers or the rantings of talking heads on MSNBC, Fox News, and the like. When people read or hear there pieces, they often either take them in halfheartedly or feel like the person is preaching to the choir. In either case, little truly comes of the opinion pieces. But that was not always the case.

Opinions and the Birth of America

American newspapers made great use of opinions. True, they did not have great impact on their British overlords, though why should they? Verbal, or in this case written, discontent would not have been new to an imperialistic nation. These opinion pieces, like one published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle (Note, may not be the same newspaper/entity) entitled “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies,” found hold in the colonists, becoming so popular that every newspaper in the American colonies reprinted them.

While these pieces did not do much to dent the armor of the Brits, they helped boost the morale of the colonists, who felt further and further

strangled under their oppressors.

Opinions of Today

Teddy Roosevelt Political Cartoon

As mentioned earlier, everyone wants to give out their opinion nowadays. For a time, such venues for

expressions of opinions was limited. People could give their opinions in the Letters to the Editor section of newspapers, though usually would be in response to an established opinion printed in an earlier edition.

In 1921, Herbert Bayard Swope of the New York World newspaper, is credited with coming up with the first op-ed. Op-eds can now be found in most major newspapers, along with numerous websites. And they can be found in more than just text. Political cartoons often depict the opinions of the artist, the newspaper, or both

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