A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 24, 2011
“The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”

"The duty/job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” is credited to the “Mr. Dooley character of Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936), who wrote in 1902:

“Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward.”

The quotation achieved its popular form by at least 1936, when Sir Wilmott Lewis, Washington correspondent of the London Times, addressed an annual luncheon of The Associated Press at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria. “We have been told,” Sir Wilmott said, “that the duty of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.” Wilmott then credited Finley Peter Dunne.


Wikiquote: Finley Peter Dunne
Finley Peter Dunne (July 10, 1867 – April 24, 1936) was a Chicago-based U.S. author, writer and humorist. He wrote Mr. Dooley in Peace and War in 1898. “Mr. Dooley” became one of the first nationally syndicated newspaper features. Set in a South Side Chicago Irish pub, Mr. Dooley, the owner and bartender, would expound upon political and social issues of the day, using the thick verbiage and accent of an Irish immigrant. Dunne’s sly humor and political acumen won the support of President Theodore Roosevelt, a frequent target of Mr. Dooley’s barbs.

Sourced
Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward.
. “Newspaper Publicity” in Observations by Mr. Dooley (1902); part of this has sometimes been paraphrased: The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Google Books
Observations by Mr. Dooley
By Finley Peter Dunne
New York, NY: R.H. Russell
1902
Pg. 240 (Newspaper Publicity):
“Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward.”

Chronicling America
5 October 1902, Saint Paul (MN) Globe, “Mr. Dooley on Newspaper Publicity,” pg. 26, col. 2:
“Th’ newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward.”

Google Books
W.R. Hearst, an American phenomenon
By John K. Winkler
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
1928
Pg. 12:
For forty years he has carried out, rather literally, the dictum of Mr. Dooley that the mission of a modern newspaper is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

21 April 1936, New York (NY) Times, pg. 2:
PRESS IS WARNED
OF DANGER WITHIN
Sir Wilmott Lewis Tells A. P.
Misuse of Power by Owners
of Chains Is Chief Peril.

Speaking at the annual luncheon of The Associated Press at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria yesterday, Sir Wilmott Lewis, Washington correspondent of The London Times, warned 500 leading publishers, editors and business managers that the chief danger to the freedom of the press in English-speaking democracies came from within, rather than from without.
(...)
“We have been told,” Sir Wilmott said, “that the duty of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable. I heartily agree. Today, when economic science, so-called, seems unable to grapple with the problems of the poor, when the comfortable among us are tempted to consider their own security as the first and indispensable element of general progress, when the question of all nations—within nations and between nations—is whether the remedies for the ills we suffer may not be as unbearable as the ills themselves—today, if ever, the injunction of Finley Peter Dunne should be remembered.”

16 June 1936, Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 8, col. 3:
“The duty of the newspaper,” says Sir Wilmott Lewis, “is to comfort the aflicated and afflict the comfortable.” Are you sure, your excell-er, mister? We thought that was the job of the preacher.

Google Books
Editing the Day’s News
By George C. Bastian and Leland D. Case
New York, NY: The Macmillan Company
1943
Pg. 39:
The duty of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. — Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936), Chicago humorist and newspaperman.

OCLC WorldCat record
Henry Wise Hobson ; comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable
Author: Robert R Hansel
Publisher: Cincinnati : Forward Movement, ©1982.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
To afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted : liberation theology and the Catholic Worker
Author: Joe McKenzie-Hamilton
Publisher: 1996.
Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.)--Fordham University, 1996.
Edition/Format:  Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript Archival Material : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Afflict the comfortable, comfort the afflicted : a guide for campus alternative journalists
Author: Jeremy Smith; Nova Ren Suma; Maura Brown; Center for Campus Organizing.; et al
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Center for Campus Organizing, ©1996.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Monday, January 24, 2011 • Permalink