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When Politicians Own the Newspapers

We all seem to love to berate news outlets for their biased reporting of politics, but in this Denver Post Article from 1912, the link between newspapers and politicans and biased reporting is taking to hilarious levels.

Side Note: I often say when I make my millions i will donate it to the Denver Public Library to digitize their newspaper stash, but it now occurs to me (after how many years of existance) that perhaps we should start a fundraising campaign on like gofundme - becuase more stuff like this should be online.

Denver Post, May 1912

SPEER AND EVANS ARRESTED ON CRIMINAL LIBEL CHARGE __________ Owners of Denver Post Allege That They Were Defamed by Editorial Pub-lished in the Times May 17. ______________

William G. Evans, president of the Denver City Tramway company, alleged to be one of the proprietors of the Denver Times, and Robert W. Speer, mayor of Denver and publisher of the Denver Times, were arrested yesterday on charges of having criminally libeled Harry H. Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils, proprietors of The Denver Post, and were released on bonds of $1,500 each. Security for William G. Evans was furnished by John A. Beeler, general manager of the Denver City Tramway company, who, with N. Walter Dixon, personal counsel of the accused, accompanied William G. Evans to court. Bonds for the same amount were furnished for R.W. Speer by John C. Mitchell.

The amount of bail was requested by Willis V. Elliott, district attorney, who last week, when Harry H. Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils, proprietors of The Denver Post, were arrested on identical charges on affidavits from William G. Evans, fixed the amount of bail at $5,000.

William G. Evans, in each of two charges of libel against the proprietors of The Denver Post, asks for damages of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in all, and that the defendants be imprisoned for one year. In the indictment against William G. Evans, on affidavits by Harry H. Tammen for The Post owners, no money damages are asked, but only the year’s imprisonment named in the statutes.


The information charges that Evans and Speer, on May 17, “unlawfully, maliciously and feloniously contriving and intending to villify and defame one Harry H. Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils and to impeach their honesty, integrity and reputation and thereby expose them to public hatred, con-tempt and ridicule, unlawfully, maliciously and feloniously did compose and publish and cause to be composed and published in the certain newspaper, to-wit, the Denver Times, a certain false, malicious and defamatory libel of and concerning them, the said Harry H. Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils.”

The information is supported by an affidavit sworn to by H.H. Tammen and Frederick G. Bonfils, in which is included a copy of an editorial in the Denver Times of May 17 under the caption, “The Element Behind Arnold.” In this editorial it is charged that…[H.H. Tam]men and Bonfils [are] the “two most disreputable residents of Denver today.” It called Thomas M. Patterson a professional wrecker and stated that the three men formed the backbone of the Arnold candidacy.

The editorial said that to elect Arnold would be to “install the shell game in the city hall,” and said that libeling of citizens would become ordinary, every-day occurrence. It was charged that “hush money” would have to be paid to free people from attack. The article predicted that Denver would experience such a reign of terror as no American city ever knew, if “these blackmailers and their pal, the wrecker, are placed in control of Denver’s city government.”


Mr. Tammen made affidavit that he is a competent witness to testify for the people of the state of Colorado in any proceeding based upon his previous affidavit alleging the criminal libel, and that affiant and Frederick G. Bonfils are the principals owners and proprietors of The Denver Post. Wil-liam G. Evans and Robert W. Speer will be formally arraigned to plead to the information on June 1.

Harry H. Tammen, one of the proprietors of The Denver Post, appeared before Judge Shattuck, in the west side court and entered a plea of not guilty to the indictment of criminal libel on information in an affidavit made by William G. Evans. Mr. Tammen stated that Frederick G. Bonfils, the other principal owner of The Denver Post, is out of the city, but will appear to plead next Saturday. Mr. Tammen was represented in court by John T. Bottom.

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