— While researching another project a while back, I came across an October 1936 column by Royal F. Munger, of the Chicago Daily News.
“While everybody expects the truth of a newspaper, nobody ever tells it that,” Munger wrote. “Whether it was your wife that was arrested for speeding or your brother that the grand jury indicted, people begin to lie automatically the minute they get in a jam.”
After detailing various scenarios of how errors get into the paper, Munger ended with an anecdote involving the predominant mode of travel seven decades ago – the train.
“All these are excuses, but down at the bottom, when the wrong picture gets in on the wrong page, with the wrong facts, there usually is no alibi except human frailty.
“At the end of a hard day, an editor’s viewpoint is like the Pullman porter who was told by a passenger to wake him at 3 a.m. and put him off at his station, no matter how he protested.
“Awakening at breakfast time and finding himself still on the train, bowling across the country, he sent for the porter, fairly sizzling with rage.
“‘Go on,’said the porter, sadly.’You can’t say anything worse than the fellow I did put off.’”