The Cortland Democrat, Friday, April 4, 1890.
"Let the Truth Be Known."
The editor of the Cortland Standard, who is never satisfied with anything except when he is dissatisfied with everything, has discovered another cause for complaint and last week he emptied something less than a car-load of lugubrious grief into the columns of his paper. Like a turkey gobbler, he imagines that every flag that may be hoisted must of necessity be a red one, and that it is elevated solely for the purpose of causing him annoyance and consequent injury.
His special cause of complaint now is, that the DEMOCRAT has claimed to be the largest, most widely circulated and best paper published in Cortland county and that it is consequently the best advertising medium in this vicinity. To controvert the claim he seizes his yard stick, and measures up the reading matter in the Standard by the yard, the same as a merchant would measure off bed-ticking or rag carpet. The DEMOCRAT begs leave to suggest, that while a yard stick or a ten foot pole may be the proper implement to use in measuring articles published in the Standard, no one would ever think of measuring up the columns of the DEMOCRAT with anything larger than the ordinary type-measure, commonly used for such purposes and which may be found in every well regulated printing office, except our neighbors, in the land.
Our neighbor seems to be inclined to recognize quantity instead of quality. A load of wheat brings more in the market than a load of straw and a man who knows enough to write learnedly on the subject of "bulbous roots" and "ship's ballast"' ought to be farmer enough to know that fact. If the editor of the Standard would learn to boil his lengthy articles down so as to be able to discard his ten foot pole in measuring up, he might possibly return to the standard of measurement used by printers and make his paper nearly as interesting and as much sought after as the DEMOCRAT.
Now in regard to the circulation of the two papers. The circulation of the DEMOCRAT is a bona fide two-dollar per annum circulation. We do not send the paper to one subscriber for $1, to another $1.25, to another for $1.50, to still another for $1.75 and to a few for $2.00 per year. Every subscriber has to pay for $2.00 for a years' subscription to the DEMOCRAT or he doesn't get it. The consequence is our subscribers take the paper because they want it, and it is not forced upon any one. Can the editor of the Standard truthfully say as much?
We never send the DEMOCRAT to parties who are not subscribers for three months for nothing, in the hope that they will forget when the time is up and thus become unwilling subscribers. Patrons secured in this manner we believe to be of no benefit to the publisher and they certainly are not of any benefit to the advertiser, because they are generally angry every time they see the paper that has been forced upon them. We should be glad to hear our neighbors ideas on this particular subject as his long experience ought to be interesting.
Copies of the DEMOCRAT cannot be found in large numbers lying in the basements of the post offices in this county, or the store rooms of the factories in this village, furnished for gratuitous circulation, and now remaining dead for want of use, but which have been industriously counted in trying to boom a fictitious circulation. Can the editor of the Standard truthfully say as much?
When the publisher of a newspaper offers to trade its circulation for a peck of walnuts or any price he can get, he thereby shows to his subscribers the value he places upon it and he ought not to find fault with them if they appraise it accordingly. The Standard may print a few more papers [twice a week--CC editor] than the DEMOCRAT does, but the latter's circulation is a bona fide two-dollar a year list, while our neighbor's is quite the reverse.
During the campaign of 1887, one of the subscribers of the Standard received thirteen copies of the same number and several others received nine. Its issues in campaigns since that time have been distributed in about the same style. If such a circulation is of any particular benefit to an advertiser, then the Standard is an excellent advertising medium. Several of the heaviest advertisers in town have repeatedly informed the publisher of this paper, that they receive more benefit from their advertisements in the DEMOCRAT than those printed in any other papers, and they are in a position to know what they are talking about.
Advertisers say they would not give a penny a year for two columns in the Standard's supplement, and our neighbor knows very well that the price named is all the service is worth. If our neighbor will discard his yard stick and use a type measure he will discover that the DEMOCRAT is the largest paper published in the county and contains more and better reading matter. A supplement is a supplement and not a newspaper. It may answer the purpose of carrying some reading matter that is crowded out of the paper proper, to give place to advertisements of cheap patent medicine nostrums, taken at any price obtainable.
The test proposed by the Standard to prove circulation might satisfy advertisers and it might not. A better test would be to "tell the truth about it."
The DEMOCRAT begs its readers pardon for using so much space upon a subject that may be of no interest to them. If we were continually thrusting our business affairs upon them we should feel that we ought not to be excused.
A bill has been introduced in Congress to prevent the formation of trusts.
Grave doubts are entertained of its constitutionality, but the greatest objection to it is the fact that it could not be enforced. They have commenced in the wrong place. Remove the cause of the disease and as a rule the disorder disappears. If Congress desires to prevent the formation of trusts and combinations let them reduce the tariff and trusts will disappear. It would be impossible for any set of men to make a combination that would include the whole world if the tariff was knocked off. It is the tariff that is grinding farmers into powder. Laws forbidding the formation of trusts are useless. The protective tariff is the father of all trusts.