The Bar: Free Press v. Fair Trial


In his coverage of the 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, H. L. Mencken mercilessly shredded the arguments of Fundamentalist William Jennings Bryan, who served as a special prosecutor against the teacher of Darwin's theory. Wrote Mencken: "The mountebank Bryan, parading the streets in his seersucker coat, is pointed out to sucklings as the greatest man since Abraham." Was such reporting an attempt to influence the outcome of the trial?

Damon Runyon's lively 1927 stories about Ruth Snyder and her boy friend, Henry Judd Gray, both accused of murdering her husband, included the information that "Mrs. Snyder and Gray have been 'hollering copper'...

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