Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Was Samuel Adams a Fake Newsmaker as well as a Founding Father?

Statue of Samuel Adams at
Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston
Samuel Adams was a member of the tea-tossing Sons of Liberty. He also had a way with words and proved that the pen is mightier than the sword. With his incendiary writings, he ignited the revolutionary spirit in Massachusetts and throughout the colonies. 
For example, consider The Boston Massacre. A squad of 13 English soldiers - intimidated and perhaps even scared for their lives - fired on an angry mob of hundreds in front of the Boston Customs House. The event could have been called a riot or an incident.  

At his trial for murder, Captain Thomas Preston, commander of the British squad, referred to the “unhappy affair.” Samuel Adams called the event The Boston Massacre, and that memorable name helped the story to go viral.
Note: John Adams, a cousin of Samuel Adams, was the defense attorney for the British soldiers who were involved. They were all acquitted.
Samuel Adams didn’t pretend to be objective in his writings. In his book The Day the American Revolution Began, William H. Hallahan asserts that truth was Samuel Adams’ first victim. “To radicalize the populace Adams had adopted a total disregard for it (the truth). In his writings he employed slanderous lies, unvarnished propaganda, and rabble-rousing rhetoric. He whipped the people of Massachusetts and many other colonies into an anti-British fury,” Hallahan wrote.
The following inspiring quotes have been attributed to Samuel Adams by Brainy Quotes. (I’ve also located them elsewhere on various websites about American history.)
“We have proclaimed to the world our determination 'to die freemen, rather than to live slaves.' We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust.
“Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.
“Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.
“If taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the character of free subjects to the miserable state of tributary slaves? We claim British rights not by charter only! We are born to them.
Note: James Otis said it more simply. “No taxation without representation.”
There’s no question that Samuel Adams’ hot-headed rhetoric played an important part in the American Revolution. These days some in the media are following in his footsteps, using lies and propaganda to achieve their objectives. One big difference is that they pretend to be objective.
In regard to Samuel Adams, did the ends - liberty from what he viewed as tyranny - justify his means?
In regard to some of our current media, do the ends that they desire justify their means when they mislead and/or deceive?
Please leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me that politics have always involved twisting and spinning and curving the news to suit one's purposes. It's just that now, we have the inter-web to amplify these efforts to reach a global hearing!