What cannot he effected by argument, may by clamour — the Press, that is to say, the Newspapers, are justly considered the grand means of influencing public opinion, which in its turn rules the world. The worst of it is, that although truth will ultimately prevail, yet error may flourish for a season; and where faction exists, and exercises its baleful influence over the Press, it is more than an equal chance that misrepresentation will obtain more credit than simple facts — the exaggerations of the interested will procure belief sooner than the plain unvarnished statements of the mere relator of events.
Upon these principles is founded the policy of the faction in this Colony, whose object is to overturn the present Government, in order to restore the reign of partiality und terror, which has given way to the rule of justice and mercy— of that faction whose nucleus is on the Hunter, and amidst the Civil Officers residing in Sydney, and whose organ is the Sydney Herald — incapable of advancing any thing like argument against the present order of things, they seize every petty event — the ravings of a drunkard — the ebullitions of a street party — the dialogues of two doubly convicted felons— the misconduct of a woman warm from the Factory — any thing indeed, however common,— however natural and vulgar, as illustrating opinions which they have not ability to defend by a train of reasoning.
It is for this that we read those eternal repetitions of idle and insolent answers made by convicts — those constant anecdotes of their laziness, and every indication of a refractory temper which they, exhibit. Not that it is imagined by the writers that such paragraphs avail aught in this Colony. Not they, but because in England, where, through the medium of distance, it is next to impossible to discern the true features of the case, such falsehoods, or (even if true) such stuff may pass for Gospel; and, however absurd to the cool enquirer, or well informed reasoner, may, with the mass of people, have their effect.
The first fruits of this policy may be seen in Monday’s Herald in the extracts quoted from the English papers respecting the “insubordination” question — quotations derived originally from the Sydney Herald, and reprinted in that paper as evidence of the success of their project. To raise a clamour in England against the state of penal discipline in this Colony, is the present object, but we trust the Editor of the Times, and the other great leading Journals, may from this article take a hint, that in New South Wales all is not true that is printed and be induced to pause, before they give currency to calumnies and slanders resting upon the mere assertions of disappointed faction.
See Original: “No title,” The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Friday 28 February 1834, p.2