21POLITICAL OPINIONS AND THE AGE

Newspaper Headlines
Newspaper Headlines
Newspapers and political opinion were inextricably linked in early Strathroy. From 1866 to 1921, the town was home to two papers; one Liberal and one Conservative. The newspaper "The Age" was considered one of the leading Liberal papers in Western Ontario. The other newspaper "The Dispatch" started out as "The Home Guard", and it was written from a Conservative standpoint.

News was not merely for information; it served as entertainment in a time before radios, and television. Newspapers regularly provided sensational information to their readers in an attempt to meet this need for entertainment. Part of this approach included sensationalizing politics, and reporters regularly overstated their case when reporting on political information.

A perfect example of this is the intense debates that took place between "The Age" and "The Dispatch" at election time. In 1896, Sir Charles Tupper, the Conservative candidate, ran against Wilfrid Laurier, the Liberal candidate, for Prime Minister of Canada. "The Age" reported Laurierís successes, while ignoring his mistakes. "The Dispatch" condemned him as a traitor to his country, and barely reported the fact that he was elected. Neither paper made any attempt to be neutral; nor was that expected.

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