The Times West Virginian

January 1, 2014

Sometimes the truth can hurt


(Editor’s note: Following is Benjamin Franklin’s statement of his views on his newspaper’s role and its responsibilities to its readers. The Times West Virginian shares these same views today.)



THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1731

THE PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE



Being frequently censur’d and condemn’d by different Persons for printing Things which they say ought not to be printed, I have sometimes thought it might be necessary to make a standing Apology for myself and publish it once a Year to be read upon all Occasions of that Nature ...

I request all who are angry with me on Account of printing things they don’t like calmly to consider these following Particulars:

1. That the Opinions of Men are almost always as various as their Faces ...

2. That the Business of Printing has chiefly to do with men’s Opinions; most things that are printed tending to promote some, or opposite others ...

4. That is it unreasonable to any one Man or Set of Men to expect to be pleas’d with every thing that is printed ...

5. Printers are educated in the Belief that when Men differ in Opinions, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Public; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter ...

8. That if all Printers were determin’d not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed ...



DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,

EDITOR,

THE PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE

1729-1748