Masonry and the Media, by Paul Fisher
Masonry obviously wields enormous influence in world media. Historian Mildred Headings said Masons influenced at least 47 periodicals throughout France, off and on, during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
In the United States, in 1920, the Scottish Rite established a news service for 'furnishing accurate and gratuitous information to newspapers.
In 1924, the Grand Commander informed the Brethren: "Through the activities of our state organizations, the New Age Magazine, our clip service and News bureau, we are stimulating the public interest and furnishing much valuable material to speakers and writers, and thereby can reasonably claim much credit" for the growing interest in favor of compulsory education by the state.
Two years later, the Grand Commander was able to report to the Brethren: "...it is safe to claim that the majority of daily publications seem very friendly in their attitude toward the Craft."
It was not only small town newspapers which looked with approval on the Fraternity's activities. The New Age reported that "many members of the National Press Club are Masons, not a few of them very prominent Masons."
Also it was noted that a number of Christian Science officials have been Masons, and the Christian Science Monitor "devotes considerable space to Masonic activities throughout the world." Indeed, during the 1930s, the Monitor ran a regular column regarding Freemasonry's routine activities.
Prominent Masons in the media included: Charles P. Taft, founder and publisher of the Cincinnati Times Star; Roy W. Howard, chairman of Scripps-Howard newspapers, United Press, and Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA); Ogden Reid, editor of the New York Herald Tribune, Richard H. Amberg, publisher of the St. Louis Globe Democrat; and James G. Stahlman, president of the National Banner.
In 1987, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial castigating Senator Patrick Leahy (D., VT) for questioning Masonry's segregation policies in connection with membership in the Fraternity by a prospective judicial candidate, Judge David Sentelle. The editorial stated:
"The problem is that Sen. Leahy's smoking gun is loaded with blanks. One phone call would have told Sen Leahy that the Masons don't discriminate against blacks. The Masonic Services Association in Washington, D.C., says membership is open 'without regard to race, color or religion.' Blacks founded their own lodges a century ago, but now many belong to predominately white lodges, as Judge Sentelle said.The present author wrote a letter to the Journal the next day to say the editorial was "wide of the mark". The letter continued by making the following points:
"The fact is, a basic Masonic "landmark" (which cannot be repealed) stipulates that only men who are neither crippled, slaves, nor born in slavery are eligible for membership in the Masonic Fraternity. The later criterion has excluded Negroes from regular Masonry, and prompted them to form their own 'clandestine' branch, known as Prince Hall Masonry, to which Thurgood Marshall belongs."The letter also noted that the Senator's challenge must be an historic first, "or at least the first such legislative challenge to Masonic philosophy since the early 19th century," when committees of the legislatures of New York, Pennsylvania and Masssachusetts found Masonry to be a distict threat to both government and religion.
It was also observed that similar findings have been published over 200 times by various Popes beginning in 1738. Moreover, the letter recalled that many other Christian denominations have simlilarly indicted Freemasonry, as has Scotland Yard. In conclusion, the letter said:
"Indeed, between 1941-1971, the Supreme court was dominated by Masons in ratios ranging from 5 to 4 (1941-1946; 1969-1971) to 8 to 1 (1949-1956). During that 30-year-period, the Court erected "a wall" seperating things religious from things secular. It was an epoch when prayer and Bible reading were deracinated from public education and when decision after decision succeeded in prohibiting any State financial assistance to religious schools.Although the letter contained information that is little known to the public at large, it was never published; however, its receipt at the Journal was acknowledged privately to the writer.
Almost two months later, The Washington Times ran an "op-ed" piece on the same subject, which argued in support of Masonry along lines almost identical to the position set forth earlier by the Journal. The article was written by a man named Blair Dormney, a Washington, D.C. attorney and free-lance writer who was identified as a non-mason.
On the very day the article appeared, this writer sent a letter to the editor of the Times to make (more briefly) the same points as were made in reponse to the Journal's editorial. Again, although receipt of the letter was acknowledged, it was never published.
Of course, editors are free to choose which letter to print, but it seems strange that both the Journal and the Times base their arguements largely on what a Masonic organization says about its own Fraternity, and fail to report the known history of the Brotherhood or facts set forth in counter arguements which are readily verifiable.
And so men are attracted to Masonry by its favorable public image and by knowing they are Brothers with Presidents, statesmen, justices, Congressmen, Senators, prime ministers, generals, admirals, captains of industry, journalists and other shapers and molders of history. Yet, some become disillusioned and separate themselves from the Craft, only to find Masons often "retaliate against members who quit by trying to get them fired from their jobs and otherwise harassing them." Several former members of the Fraternity said they moved from their residences after leaving the lodge, and some asked that their names not be used by newspaper reporters because they feared reprisals."
One former Mason called attention to the oath of a Master Mason, which says in part:
"I futhermore promise and swear that I will not cheat, wrong or defraud a Lodge of Master Masons, or a brother of this degree... I swear that I will not violate the chastity of a Master Mason's wife, his mother, sister or daughter, knowing them to be such..."Anokan Reed, a former top-level York Rite Mason, pointed to the morality of such an oath by commenting: "It's OK to seduce another man's daughter, or steal his car, as long as he's not a Master Mason...In higher degrees, Masons deny the reality of evil."
Reed, a former 13th degree York Rite member, said he joined a lodge in Kokomo, Indiana when he was in his 20s, because his boss, a Mason, guaranteed he would "move up in the steel mill" if he joined. After becoming a Mason, Reed was promoted to a supervisory position for which, he admits, he was not qualified.