Sunday, May 8, 2011

The House Organ

The St. Louis Republican is the Lucas-Busch Annhiser Brewing Company's Union Association organ.
-Cleveland Herald, December 7, 1883

This is interesting for two reasons. First, there was something in the Globe a few days prior to this replying to a charge in another paper that they were the Maroons house organ. They said something along the lines that they were journalists and not anyone's organ. And then I found this same charge directed at another St. Louis paper a few days later.

The second reason is a bit obvious. If the Republican was the Maroon's house organ, then I really need to get my hands on the Republican. Sadly, at the moment, all the microfilm is being stashed in a warehouse in St. Louis as the public library downtown is being renovated. I can't just walk in and grab what I need. That is a pain in the rear but I'm stashing the information away for future reference.


Richard Hershberger said...

The interesting part about this to my mind is that the Globe would contrast a more exalted position of "journalist" over that of "house organ". Many papers were house organs in this era, and it was considered perfectly respectable, with editors often deeply involved in club affairs. It was probably a good marketing tool, too, as it would establish that paper as the place to go for inside information. Come right down to it, and local papers often are effectively house organs to this day, depending on how they balance inside information with a willingness to criticize the local team.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I wouldn't read too much into it. The only reason it even stood out was because the subject came up twice in the same week at the beginning of December 1883.

The Cleveland Herald was very much anti-UA, in an editorial sense, and spent a good deal of time attacking the credibility of Lucas, his club, the UA and, it appears, the StL papers that they believed supported the new enterprise. The Globe was responding to that line of attack.

Looking at the specific attack against the Globe, it was alleged that the paper had a financial stake in the Maroons and the Globe specifically denied that. They wanted it known that their reporting was not compromised by any financial considerations. While they appear to have been rather supportive of Lucas' new venture, it wasn't because their "journalistic principles" were comprimised.

Your point about the modern local media being house organs is a good one and it's evident in StL. I tend to get most of my local sporting news from alternative sources and the feeling among those communities is that the local mainstream media is little more than a mouthpiece for the Cards, Blues and Rams. You get little to no critical thinking from the Post-Dispatch or the local tv stations. There are some exceptions but they prove the rule.

David Ball said...

I have seen the Sunday Sayings also described as a Maroons organ. That is from near the time of their demise, and I don't know whether it would have been true this early. It might be worth having a look at, though.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I know you've mentioned the paper to me before but I don't think I've ever seen too much from it.

What's really interesting to me, and I'll get into to it at some point, is the support the venture received in StL. The papers supported it and you had Lucas, Wainwright and Busch involved. That's a rather substantial group of people in StL getting behind all of this. And I can't help but think that this is maybe some kind of anti-VdA thing. This is only a year removed from VdA muscling out the old guard and taking control of the StL baseball market and it's possible that the Maroons and the UA where an attempt by a certain group of people (including the Spink brothers) to take back control.

I think my point here is that the whole "house organ" thing may just be an example of how certain StL institutions were lining up behind the Maroons and, possible, against VdA.