n't nearly every editorial writer in the country jump on him every day, and don't all the paragraphers gibe at him, and don't all the cartoonists lampoon him, and don't all of us who write news from down here in Washington give him the worst of it in our despatches?... And what's the result? Mallard takes on flesh and every red-mouthed agitator in the country and every mushy-brained peace fanatic and every secret German sympathiser trails at his heels, repeating what he says. I'd like to know what the press of America hasn't done to put him out of business!
"There never was a time, I guess, when the reputable press of this country was so united in its campaign to kill off a man as it is now in its campaign to kill off Mallard. No paper gives him countenance, except some of these foreign-language rags and these dirty little disloyal sheets; and until here just lately even they didn't dare to come out in the open and applaud him. Anyway, who reads them as compared with those who read the real newspapers
A disturbing, and luckily impossible to implement, story of a demagogue driven to destruction by the press. He has to be destroyed because he is treasonous--he preaches peace when the country want war. The disturbing part is that he is conspired against because of his message--peace--rather than because he is dishonest and manipulative. His vices are not the issue, his patriotism is.
This "solution" works best where the press is state-controlled. It reminds me of how out of favor Soviet politicians disappeared from history books and even from photographs.
There is really only one character: the demagogue. By the end of the story I was feeling sympathetic towards him and had an unpleasant sense of the sliminess of the American people. I don't think that's what the author was shooting for.