A rich piece of scandal
Richard pod is sponsored by T. Rowe price. Are you looking to learn a thing or two about getting your finances in order saving and investing? Check out the confident wallet a personal finance podcast series by T. Rowe price and the Washington Post brand studio find it wherever you get your podcasts. Jeff Bezos, the man who owns the newspaper that produces this podcast recently alleged that the National Enquirer was blackmailing him with some racy photos city evening, everyone as we come on the air and the west there is breaking news tonight. A stunner from the richest man in the world Amazon's Jeff Bezos, these dropping a bombshell against the National Enquirer tonight, accusing its parent company of trying to blackmail him with alleged nude photos. This tawdry episode has activated. The irony radars of historians of early American. It is terrific heart or any without a shadow of the Dow of many journalists practiced systematic lack male not only will the to supplement the income. But in some cases, even to fund in newspapers that's Leon Jackson of the university of South Carolina, Jackson studies the history of books in authorship. With sounds like a job that love to apply for as part of his research. Jackson has spent a not insignificant part of his career tracing blackmail in nineteenth century newspapers. Back then publications both reputable and scandalous routinely extorted society figures caught in compromising circumstances, though. Typically, not for sharing nude selfish. While bazo ledges the Enquirer blackmailed him through back channel communications via lawyers. Jackson says the older original form of journalistic blackmail was far more brazen. Newspapers did the blackmailing in the paper. Sometimes right on the front page. Jackson discovered numerous examples of the practice, including an episode from the Boston Herald in eighteen forty eight that is emblematic of how sinister newspaper editors could be with embarrassing information. A rich piece of scandal has reached our ears road herald editor Justice smelling. He was referring to a scandal that as he put it concerned, a young woman from summer street and a merchant from milk street discovered in rather inequality situation by the woman's mother. We shall the editor went on notwithstanding, the tears of the lovely creature and the Ernest employee of the gentleman, right? The history of their amorous affection for each other and expose their wicked acts to the gaze of covetous world. If we think Justice demands it at our hands. A few days went by no story. Then warning we shall make up our mind what to do today. Selling wrote, the story never ran someone paid up. Jackson says editors and publishers used crafty methods to avoid being exposed and prosecuted in some cases, they'd force people like the philandering merchant to buy ads or subscribe at extraordinarily high rates other times, they destroyed up ask for cash, especially in the case of the New York herald edited by James Borden, Bennett Jackson, turned up an example of a ship. Captain Bennett had been attacking in his paper one day. The captain was delivered a copy of the paper with a note written in the margin, send twenty dollars, and it shall be stopped. In Jackson's view, a confluence of circumstances brought blackmail to newspapers starting with Protestant reform movement that led to evangelical do-gooders as he put it trying to expose brothel owners and patrons by essentially spying on these establishments. Here's Jackson again, the journalists very quickly called on. So this strategy and started to exploit it themselves. It's really well. So a period of just heightened and sustained exploitative surveillance of one's neighbors gossip that didn't used to make it past the town water. Well, was now disseminated not just in local newspapers in papers across the country that reprinted juicy news items. Like basis eventually those with the means to do so fought back such as Pt Barnum? Being a prominent businessman in showman may Barnum a frequent target of blackmail. But eventually Barnum had enough Jackson says Barnum would actually publish the blackmail letters he received. He tried to neutralize is extolled as simply. Dominating down on publicy with the fold Cam. And by getting ahead of the narrative. For some reason that sounds vaguely familiar. I'm Mike Rosen walled. Thanks for listening for more forgotten stories from history. Visit Washington Post dot com slash retro pod.