Could the Media's Attacks on Bruce Ismay be Character Assassination


JMGraber

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Do you think the attacks on Bruce Ismay could be considered character assassination? I think they could and if they are that means I have a plan! We will sue all the newspapers that attacked Ismay for a large amount of money. We then take this money and do what Ismay probably always wanted to do: build the second Titanic.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>We will sue all the newspapers that attacked Ismay for a large amount of money. <<

Not happening. Period.

Even if there was no statute of limitations in force for civil suits, not one of us has any legal standing to launch such a suit.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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Michael:

Unless I miss my guess, this was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

However, it does bring up something I have always wondered about - how much of the media furor over Ismay was manufactured, possibly in an effort to draw attention away from J.P. Morgan's IMM? There were a great many questions about how safely the ship had been designed, built and manned, and 1912 was still the era of "muck-raking" journalism; it wasn't inconceivable that a clever news story might bring up too many discomfiting questions that would lead toward Morgan's company. Ismay's escape from the disaster was made-to-order for drawing the contumely of journalists, and if they left Morgan alone in the process - well, that would have been quite all right with J.P.

Any thoughts on this?
 

JMGraber

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Any relatives of Bruce Ismay we can speak with on launching a suit. If not funding the Titanic II, wen can build a large statue in his honor. After all, it was his idea and innovation that brought the creation of the Titanic. He's like the Steve Jobs of 1912.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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Robert:

Not really a conspiracy theory, more like a convenient public-relations use of an existing situation. Ismay's escape was widely perceived as cowardice, and there was a lot of finger-pointing and blaming going on about the disaster. The more the fingers could be coaxed to point in Ismay's direction instead of at IMM, Morgan, White Star or Harland & Wolff, the "better," I should think.

As is usual in disasters, a lot of small, seemingly random events contributed to Titanic's sinking. A lot of them led back to the companies concerned - very bad for business. And J.P. Morgan didn't get to be J.P. Morgan without learning how to manage public perception. I don't know that Morgan actually personally did anything to fuel the furor over Ismay, but he was quite capable of it.

Much of the American media storm over Ismay's conduct came from the Hearst press. While that would seem to be something beyond Morgan's control (Hearst regularly attacked Morgan in his newspapers), the men actually had business interests in common, and I would not be surprised if much of Hearst's alarm-sounding about Morgan was done with at least tacit consent from old J.P., who was about as wily as they come, and who had more than sufficient resources to ruin Hearst had he chosen to do so. Hearst could get readers very stirred up about something, which is a very useful state of affairs when there is something else you don't want them to notice.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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Mr. Graber:

You're starting to sound like you're serious, so let me join Mr. Standart in saying that the events of the Titanic disaster were 101 years ago, and no court is going to hear a case such as you're describing.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>However, it does bring up something I have always wondered about - how much of the media furor over Ismay was manufactured, possibly in an effort to draw attention away from J.P. Morgan's IMM?<<

None of it. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. Senator Smith hated the trusts and saw it as a golden opportunity to nail J.P. Morgan's hid to the barn. William Randolph Hearst HATED Bruce Ismay with a screaming passion and was flat out out to get him. If there was an agenda, it was to expose and not hide anything whether there was any truth to it or not.

>>Any relatives of Bruce Ismay we can speak with on launching a suit. If not funding the Titanic II, wen can build a large statue in his honor. After all, it was his idea and innovation that brought the creation of the Titanic. He's like the Steve Jobs of 1912.<<

No. WE don't do anything of the kind.

There's a statute of limitations which one has to deal with, and after over a century, I guarantee you, it's long expired. Even if no such statute exists, one still HAS to have what is known as "Legal Standing" to launch such a suit. In other words, you have to be the party with the vested interest which has been injured. None of that applies to any of us.
 
Jan 6, 2005
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Michael:

With all due respect to your oft-demonstrated expertise, I still wonder if there's not more to this than met - or meets - the eye.

The reason I wonder is that Morgan and Hearst had business interests in common, chiefly the Peruvian Cerro de Pasco copper/silver mines, in which both men were partners, along with Alfred McCune and Frederick William Vanderbilt.

And then as now, Big Money always sticks together. So, it's an interesting thing to ponder on, even if hard-and-fast answers are probably lost to history.
 

JMGraber

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Apr 22, 2012
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No guys I was just kidding!

Anyway, I was still curious about the media and you all brought up some interesting ideas. My opinion is that if Ismay was not on the ship no one would have been reall attackd. J.P. Morgan obviously owned the IMM and the White Star, but he had little to do with their construction other than bankroll. If Morgan was attacked, he would still defend himself. Ismay might still be attacked too for requesting only 20 boats, but he would not be attacked as much as he was for encouring the ship's speed and getting off one of the last boats.
 

JMGraber

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Apr 22, 2012
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I was curious to see how people would react. Although, I obviously shouldn't have pushed it. Sometimes it's boring to wait for April 1.

Just curious, is there any plaque and statue in Ismay's honor. I do think he still should get something for being the innovation behind the Ttanic.
 

Jim Currie

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Interesting asides here.

The era of journalistic muck-raking isn't dead; they're just better at it now.:cool:
Speaking as a professional Marine Acident Investigator:The problem with technical journalism in 1912 and to a much lesser extent to-day is that although a good journalist can weed-out sources of information, they have to understand what they have got to really get to the bottom of a story. The story-line or lines about Ismay must have been conceived before the journalist interviewed witnesses. When the interviews were carried out, those doing the interviewing would need to recognise myth from fantasy to be able to manipulate the story for a purpose other than an increase in circulation. Perhaps the editors produced a single bit of copy for two types of reader? The readere who loved fantasy mixed with delicious gossip and the reader with the discerning palate of a manipulative corporate investor?.
Classic example of fantasy is the one about Ismay ordering Smith to carry on to Halifax with a ruddy great hole in the ship's bow. Don't know where that came from. The other is the planned speed run from 8pm that night. Don't know where that came from either since there is plenty of unconnected evidence to prove otherwise.

Jim C.
 

Adam Went

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Apr 28, 2003
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This is an interesting discussion in light of what's been going on here in Australia lately, with the Rupert Murdoch / News Limited owned newspapers absolutely laying into current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the lead up to the federal election. It's evident that they have an agenda and that their reach could definitely sway voters when the margin is already very close, and that is a real concern.

I am currently doing a university degree with a major in communications, and we have been taught from day one that it is the job of a journalist to be fair, open-minded and balanced at all times. Always give both sides of a story and never offer an opinion unless you're told to do so - people are paying to read the news, not your own personal beliefs. However, for all that, a lot of it seems to have gone out the window and it is in many ways a flashback to the days of the tabloids when Ismay was around - each newspaper having a different agenda and publishing whatever they thought would sell papers rather than let the truth get in the way of that.

In Ismay's case, I believe a scapegoat was needed. With all the circumstances considered, somebody had to shoulder a large portion of the blame and Ismay, unfortunately for him, became that man. It's more evidence of the power that the media can have over the lives, livelihoods and reputations of inviduals and companies - a trait which still continues to this day, and flies in the face of everything that we get taught at university. So it's all very complicated and confusing - and, in my humble opinion, not the right thing to do.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Jim Currie

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Very refreshing post Adam.

It's not by accident that a journalist is portrayed as 'sleaze-bag' in the movies. I am reminded of the over-the-top but very enjoyable performance by William Atherton as Richard Thornburg in the movie "Die Hard". I often wonder if it ever occurs to editors that the reason Atherton's character hits a note with the public is because that's the public's image of a press reporter?

You write: "we have been taught from day one that it is the job of a journalist to be fair, open-minded and balanced at all times. Always give both sides of a story and never offer an opinion unless you're told to do so - people are paying to read the news, not your own personal beliefs." That only holds good for the young and noble of heart. It becomes one-sided before the public get to see the original work of such a 'Cub'. It does so after the Editor, Managing Editor and Owner have tweaked the story to refelect their personal preferences and the preferences of their targeted readership.
My guess is that a crusading reporter is less than noble.. that he /she is simply one who recognises what his bosses and their selected readership want and goes out and gets it for them.
The world of politics is exactly the same.. the angry young man or woman with a cross to bear soon turns the cross into a rake and uses it to gather-up muck to use against his or her political oponents.

As I see it; we all have many hidden talents. Age and example makes them grow and blossom. Whether or not we become sleazebags depends on the talent and fertilizer chosen.

Jim C.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I am currently doing a university degree with a major in communications, and we have been taught from day one that it is the job of a journalist to be fair, open-minded and balanced at all times.<<

Too bad this ethic never makes it into the real waking world. David Brown has commented on this more then once. His insights on modern "journalism: were less then charitable and not just from the outsider's standpoint, but from the "Been There Done That" perspective.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

Reading a newspaper or watching TV news reminds me of that ol' sailor's joke...."What's the difference between a sea story and a fairy tale?" Michael knows!

-- David G. Brown
 

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