Thursday, February 25, 2010

If You Think the Media Is Weird Now . . .

. . . just think about what passed for "journalism" a century ago. Here are excerpts from one of my favorite news stories ever - the Page 1 lead in the Washington Post on Feb. 18, 1906, the day after President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter got married in the White House. The next time you want to throw your shoe at a cable channel newscast, think about what the media used to be:

"The Alice Lee Roosevelt of twenty-four hours ago is now Mrs. Nicholas Longworth, the world has bestowed its benediction upon the happy bride and bridegroom, and has gone back to its work serenely content in the belief that this is, indeed, a blessed union of hearts and hands such as is possible nowhere more than in the United States, where women are queenly and every man is a king in the enjoyment of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'

"The day on which the wedding of Theodore Roosevelt's daughter took place was heaven-made. Night's curtain melted under the early glints of gold low down in the east, there came a few moments of coloring such as sometimes marks the palette of a painter of pictures, and then the splendid burst of light as the sun climbed to its place in stately procession until it had reached its zenith and bestowed its full, voluptuous kiss upon the earth . . .

"In the splendid East Room of the White House a stately bishop of the high church had spoken the words which made a wife of the artless child of the nation. Yes, artless and free from guile as though she were a child of the plain instead of the daughter of the Chief Executive of the nation, and in no better manner could her sweet, democratic simplicity have been shown that when . . . she tripped down from the altar like a school girl. . . .

"Miss Roosevelt ... at all times ... has so borne herself ... that no ungenerous act or ill-considered utterance has ever caused her friends, the American people, to think less well of her. They have come to see in her the embodiment of those fine qualities which make the American woman superior to every other."

- Potomac Communications Group

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