Paul Pry and Privacy

VOLUME 150

NUMBER 4

OCTOBER 1932

’I just took the liberty to put my ear to the keyhole, then I put my eye . . .'
— PAUL PRY

THAT inquisitive, gossiping, meddlesome gentleman, Paul Pry, first appeared before the public at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, on September 13, 1825, in a ‘body coat, striped waistcoat, and full striped trowsers, tucked into high boots, double eyeglass, and white broad-brimmed hat, turned up at sides.’ He climbed garden walls, listened at keyholes, entered bedrooms unannounced, carried tales, and displayed a genius for upsetting the best-laid plans of the other persons in the play; and when they reproached him he suavely replied: ‘A spirit of inquiry is the great characteristic of the age we live in.’

Poor man, he lived before his time. His contemporaries treated him with ridicule and contempt. But to-day his multitudinous spiritual fry have inherited the earth. They swarm everywhere and have been exalted to power as tabloid reporters, radio gossips, Sunday-supplement writers, cameramen, wire-tapping dry agents, blackmailing shysters, and back-fence biographers, perpetuating the obnoxious qualities of their progenitor without preserving the quaintness of the costume.

‘A spirit of inquiry’ has indeed become the characteristic of the age we live in. The art of minding other people’s business, which was once the harmless avocation of local busybodies, has developed into a major industry, thanks to our modern mechanical equipment. Diabolic invisible antennæ now reach out everywhere to see and hear — almost to touch, taste, and smell — everything that goes on. Even the fall of the humblest sparrow is noted; and if that sparrow happens to have killed cock robin or played the cuckoo in a ‘love drama,’ his whole obscure career may be unraveled on the front and succeeding pages.

Our contemporary Paul Prys have discovered a vast and inexhaustible source of profit in exploiting the public appetite for news sensations served red-hot and steaming. They no longer wait for news to happen; they make it happen. When times are dull, it is always possible to work up some rather commonplace murder into a drama of national importance, as in those classical instances, the Snyder-Gray and Hall-Mills trials. The latter case stands out especially for the way in which enterprising newspaper men practically disinterred a skeleton (buried for four years) and rattled its bones to make a journalistic holiday.

Copyright 1932, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston, Mass. All rights reserved.

In the production of spectacles of this kind, it is inevitable that the reputations and sensibilities of some innocent persons, thrust upon the stage through no fault of their own, should be torn to tatters. Mrs. Hall and her brothers survived the accusations of the pig woman, but had to endure a ghastly ordeal in which their names were dragged through the mud; and in almost all such cases witnesses are pilloried as liars and scoundrels, and the close relatives of the defendants suffer an odium which they can never quite live down.

II

We probably ought not to get unduly exercised over the sacrifice of a few accidental victims in murder trials. The mills of the law must grind on. But when the grinding is done literally under the direction of such extra-legal agencies as the press, the radio, and the cinema, we are confronted by a disquieting phenomenon — the development of a technique of intensive exploitation which has proved so profitable that it has been employed upon other types of news events with the same callous disregard of private rights and feelings as in murder cases.

This was cruelly demonstrated by the nightmarish activities which followed the Lindbergh kidnapping. When word of that tragedy flashed through the world, an army of enthusiastic ghouls descended upon Colonel Lindbergh’s household, prying, spying, and trespassing in a ruthless stampede for news. They tramped through his home, used his private telephone, hung around at doors and windows, and poked their noses into every nook and cranny.

‘Please go away,’ said Colonel Lindbergh, asking simply to be let alone at a time of all times when he should have been entitled to such consideration.

But the cameramen, columnists, and sob sisters, male and female, stood their ground until pushed back by the state troopers. They then established headquarters at the nearest telegraph station, and, since no real news was available, continued to inundate the country with rumors, surmises, and harrowing personal details, under the mawkish pretense of rendering public aid and sympathy to the stricken family. It is not improbable that if there had been at any time a chance to recover the child alive it would have been foreclosed by this unseemly ballyhoo.

Our newspaper friends will point out that the story was one of the biggest that ever fell into an editorial lap. The public demanded news — all it could get — and it was the job of every news agency to supply this, especially when it concerned a national hero, who, after all, had voluntarily dedicated himself to the public from the moment he hopped off for France. The subsequent relentless surveillance of Lindbergh’s private life, the pursuit of the colonel and his wife on their honeymoon by photographers and reporters in airplanes, and the business of cashing in to the utmost on the story of their bereavement, were all fully justified from the pragmatic point of view of the purveyors of the news. They have formulated a code of ethics, I believe, but in practice most of them observe only one canon, which is not written down — namely, that anything is properly news which will sell more papers, and no method of getting it is barred. All their left-handed gestures of decency, like the editorial condolences which followed the discovery that the Lindbergh baby was dead, could not undo the damage which the journalistic right hand had done with such utter sang-froid.

That right hand is no respecter of persons. It is occupied solely with giving the public what it wants, and in that undertaking it is unfortunately abetted by the willing exhibitionism of a large part of the public it serves. The average newspaper reader would give what passes for his soul to strut just once across the headlines in any rôle, no matter how ignominious. This was illustrated in the Lindbergh case by the yarn of the ‘ Norfolk shipbuilder’ — pathetic in its transparent falsity, but good enough to be encouraged and subsidized in lieu of other news.

The pendulum has swung far since the hyper-reticent days of our grandmothers. We have achieved a healthy freedom of mind, body, and limb, but in that process the majority have lost all desire for privacy, either for themselves or for anyone else. They step eagerly into the range of every newspaper and movie camera, and send in their names by the thousand to have them announced over the radio. In this way, or by the more arduous means of marathon dancing or flagpole sitting, every undistinguished ego may escape anonymity for at least a few brief ecstatic moments.

Yet a minority still survive who shrink from the public exposure and exploitation of their personalities. For reasons of their own, they do not want to be dangled before the eyes of the world, or have their domestic affairs broadcast from coast to coast by glib radio gossips, or their names or pictures used to advertise candy, gum, tooth paste, or cigarettes, or their private telephone wires tapped, or to be shadowed by detectives or immortalized in waxwork or on the screen. They feel that there are matters of conduct, emotion, and personal relationship which are no concern of anyone but themselves, and they cannot subscribe to the current doctrine that the greatest good of the greatest number requires the immolation of a daily quota of private lives on the altar of publicity.

It is for the benefit of this sensitive minority that certain legal theorists have advocated the recognition by the courts of the individual’s right of privacy — or rather of his right to be let alone — as a corollary of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

III

No one, of course, who takes part in everyday affairs can isolate himself from his community. Perhaps a troglodyte, by concealing his comings and goings, might achieve a state of perfect privacy. But most of us are subject to the close scrutiny of friends and neighbors, which we reciprocate with lively interest. Our peccadillos are fair game for local gossip; and as long as such gossip remains a purely amateur sport it is relatively harmless and may even have a salutary social effect.

It is probably for this reason that the law has concerned itself so little with protecting the individual against the invasion of his privacy. The suggestion that there should be any limitation upon the activities of Paul Pry would have been hooted down by most lawyers up to the end of the nineteenth century. For many generations the more liberal legal minds had been engaged in a fight for freedom of speech and of the press. They believed that the law of slander and libel would be a sufficient restraint upon the abuse of such freedom when it was attained; and for a time this expectation was no doubt justified. But with the advent of such inventions as the telegraph, telephone, telephoto, linotype, giant printing presses, radio, talkies, and television, the old rules of law became hopelessly inadequate to control the exuberances of the multiplying hordes of newsmongers.

The whole force of the law of slander and libel is directed toward protecting the individual’s ‘ reputation ’ — a thing separate and apart from his personal feelings. His reputation is the estimate which others hold of him, and not the opinion which he has of himself. His good name, as a legal concept, has taken on an almost tangible character; and the subjective injury which may be done to him through spoken or written words, even though they shrivel his very soul, is of no particular moment in the eyes of the law. There are, therefore, many kinds of personally offensive statements which may be circulated without serious danger of incurring a penalty — especially if the statements happen to be true; for the truth is a defense in civil actions for slander and libel, except in a few states where it is a justification only when told ‘with good motives.’

But even in such states there are innumerable disagreeable facts which may be freely broadcast if they do not come within the legal definition of defamation. If some unhappy person has a wart on the end of his nose, you may call attention to it in print or publish his photograph, wart and all, for circulation among a million readers, without any fear of liability for libel. The person so victimized has no recourse at all, unless it is based upon a relatively recent legal theory — a theory which has found partial expression in such legislation as the New York statute forbidding the use of a person’s name or picture for advertising or trade purposes without his consent.

The only sort of privacy with which the law has really concerned itself in the past has been the privacy of property owners. They have long had relief against trespass and certain intrusions classified as nuisances. Eavesdropping was an indictable offense according to Blackstone: —

Eavesdroppers, or such as listen under walls or windows or the eaves of a house to hearken after discourse, and thereupon to frame slanderous and mischievous tales, are a common nuisance and presentable at court-leet.

The courts have also, in a few cases, tried to protect landowners against the disturbance of their privacy by people on adjoining highways. In one instance, in England, a racing tout with field glasses marched back and forth along a road overlooking a training field for race horses and took notes which he published in a tipster sheet. He was held guilty of trespass. A similar view was taken in an old New York case where damages were awarded against a man who stood on the street in front of the plaintiff’s house abusing him in vivid terms. The judge said: ‘Suppose a strolling musician stops in front of a gentleman’s house and plays a tune or sings an obscene song under his window, can there be a doubt that he is liable in trespass?’

This quaint pronouncement places the emphasis where the law has traditionally placed it — on the protection of the use and enjoyment of property. In both these cases the persons complaining actually owned the land across which the highways ran, subject only to the right of the public to pass over it, which was held not to include the right to stop and stare or otherwise annoy the property owner. But if the person who does the staring owns the land on which he stands, the courts are loath to interfere. A family in an English town set up an arrangement of large mirrors in their garden by which they were able to see everything that went on in the office of a dentist next door. When he discovered this ingenious device he applied to court for an injunction against its use, but he was refused.

IV

The first important exposition of the right of the individual to be let alone, independent of property rights, was presented in the Harvard Law Review in 1890 by Louis D. Brandeis and Samuel D. Warren, his former law partner, in an article which has become a legal classic. The authors pointed out that the early common law had been preoccupied with safeguarding property and life against physical aggression. It provided remedies against trespass, thievery, and personal violence, but it was slow to take cognizance of less tangible interferences with the individual’s enjoyment of life. Gradually, however, with the growth of civilization the law ‘ broadened its scope to a recognition of the individual’s spiritual nature, his emotions and his intellect.’ The right to protection against physical battery, for instance, was extended to cover the fear of assault. The right to the protection of property against trespass was extended to give relief against obnoxious noises, odors, vibrations, and similar nuisances. The conception of property itself was enlarged to include things which had little or no material existence, such as goodwill, trade secrets, and inventions. And in the course of time the courts came to give some protection to such other imponderables as a man’s reputation and his family relationships.

Messrs. Brandeis and Warren took the view that it was not necessary to invent new rules of law in order to protect the individual against unwarranted intrusions and publicity, as the principles involved had already been recognized by the common law and could properly be extended to meet new conditions. Some such development seemed to them necessary in order to counteract the tendencies which were threatening the peace and privacy of everyone. The increasing depravity of the daily press especially alarmed them: —

To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast in the columns of the daily papers. To occupy the indolent column upon column is filled with idle gossip, which can only be procured by intrusion upon the domestic circle. The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some retreat from the world, and man, under the refining influence of culture, has become more sensitive to publicity, so that solitude and privacy have become more essential to the individual, but modern enterprise and invention have, through invasions upon his privacy, subjected him to pain and distress, far greater than could be inflicted by mere bodily injury.

This was written, it should be remembered, at a time when Queen Victoria was still a dominant influence in the world, and automobiles, airplanes, the radio, and a score of other magical devices were not yet available to newspaper men.

By an interesting turn of events, about thirty-seven years later, Justice Brandeis had an opportunity to express his views on the right of privacy as a judge when he wrote a dissenting opinion in the famous wire-tapping case (Olmstead, et al. v. United States, 277 U. S. 438). The defendants were the leaders of a gang of bootleggers in the State of Washington. They were convicted on evidence obtained by federal prohibition agents almost entirely through the tapping of private telephone wires. By this means the government uncovered a gigantic conspiracy involving the employment of fifty persons, two seagoing vessels and many small boats, the purchase of a ranch for the underground cache of liquor, and the maintenance of executive offices with salesmen, bookkeepers, scouts, collectors, and an attorney. The sales of this syndicate amounted to over $176,000 a month and more than $2,000,000 a year.

Since wire tapping was a criminal offense in the State of Washington, the public was treated to the edifying spectacle of the government turning outlaw in order to catch other outlaws; and, as a logical consequence, the defendants (who were undoubtedly guilty) were able to carry their case to the Supreme Court of the United States upon the high moral ground that their constitutional rights had been violated. The government has no more right to listen in on private telephone conversations, they said, than it has to search our private papers and seize them without a warrant, which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution; and the use of transcripts of conversations obtained in this way was practically making the defendants testify against themselves in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The majority of the court, however, evidently believed that the ends of justice justify the means, for they affirmed the conviction, thus upholding the use of wire-tapping evidence in the prosecution of criminals, even though it be obtained through the government’s own deliberate criminal acts.

Ostensibly this decision rested solely upon a point of constitutional law. But Justice Brandeis in his dissenting opinion (with which Justices Holmes, Butler, and Stone concurred) indicated that the case involved questions of broader significance than the fate of the particular defendants before the court, and he reiterated his belief in the right of privacy as a sequitur of rights guaranteed by the Constitution:—

The evil incident to invasion of the privacy of the telephone is far greater than that involved in tampering with the mails. Whenever a telephone line is tapped, the privacy of the persons at both ends of the line is invaded and all conversations between them upon any subject, and although proper, confidential, and privileged, may be overheard. Moreover, the tapping of one man’s telephone line involves the tapping of the telephone of every other person whom he may call or who may call him. As a means of espionage, writs of assistance and general warrants are but puny instruments of tyranny and oppression when compared with wiretapping. ...

The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure, and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their belief, their thoughts, their emotions, and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. . . .

V

The eloquence of Justice Brandeis in the wire-tapping case would seem to have been inspired by more than a concern over the violation of constitutional guarantees. He had lived to see the tendencies which he deplored in 1890 grow into mighty forces directed toward purely mercenary ends. New mechanical contrivances had amplified the eyes and the ears and the voice of Paul Pry a thousandfold, so that every detail of anyone’s private life, if it happened to have ‘news value,’could be retailed at a moment’s notice to an audience almost as numerous as the population of the United States.

During the interval between Justice Brandeis’s first discussion of the right of privacy and his commentary as a justice of the Supreme Court, the whole business of gathering and disseminating the news had been revolutionized. As the great individualistic editors like Greeley, Dana, the elder Bennett, and Watterson passed from the scene, their dominion was preëmpted by newspaper syndicates and monstrous chains of dailies. The romantic reporters of Richard Harding Davis’s tales were shouldered aside by clever, hard-boiled young men who would stop at no crime in the code and even invent a few new ones in order to get the ‘story’ to which they were assigned, bragging incontinently about such exploits as the one in which an old lady was smoked out of her home by placing a board over the chimney so that the reporter could run in and snatch the family chromos from the walls. The new romance of the newsroom was based upon the glorification of rascality in the holy name of Circulation. Rising generations of readers were doped with recurrent sensations until they no longer reacted sufficiently, so that it became necessary to feed them stronger medicine. This was done by reducing to a minimum such inert ingredients of the news as politics, business, and world affairs and supplying the daily dosage of murder, rape, arson, adultery, and kidnapping in concentrated tabloid form.

The handling of the Collings case was one of the finest flowerings of this new era. Here was a story of tremendous intrinsic interest — a melodrama of piracy, murder, abduction, and insane violence out-Wallacing Edgar Wallace. A bare recital of the facts, so far as they could be ascertained, would have been enough for a normal person, but not so with a public whose nerves were completely jaded. To give them any thrill at all, every possible ounce of horror had to be extracted from the case and dished up hour by hour, even to the exhibition of scores of close-ups of the body of the murdered man showing every brutal detail.

Observe the inexorably thorough way in which the inquest alone was covered. The stage was set in the town hall at Huntington, Long Island. The pale, distraught widow, who had been badgered and examined till she was reduced to hysteria, was placed on exhibit in the centre of a goggle-eyed crowd of townsfolk, with reporters climbing over one another, and cameramen on chairs and in the windows bombarding her with flash lamps. The inevitable microphone was set close to the witness stand ready to catch each faltering word of the widow’s story; and, to complete the scene, a movie-sound machine was brought into the courtroom. But this was a little too much for one of the town selectmen, who ordered it removed.

VI

When we turn from such exploitations of personal tragedy to a consideration of the abuses of privacy complained of in most of the cases that have come before the courts, we are startled by the triviality of the latter. Apparently the greater the injury, the less chance there is that the victim will care to revive it by bringing suit. People like the Lindberghs, Mrs. Collings, and hundreds of others, who have suffered inordinately from the processes of publicity, usually maintain a discreet silence. There have been plenty of occasions for a cause célèbre on the subject of privacy, but no such cause.

Instead, we have a number of suits brought for the violation of the right of privacy, based upon the comparatively innocuous, though unauthorized, use of photographs and names, like the Missouri case in which the parents of a five-year-old girl sued a merchandising firm for using their child’s photograph without consent in an advertisement reading: —

Papa is going to buy Mama a——watch for a present, someone (I must n’t tell who) is going to buy my big sister a diamond ring. So don’t you think you ought to buy me something? The payments are so easy you’ll never miss the money, if you get it at the X-Y-Z Co.

This was held to be a violation of the right of privacy. But in Rhode Island the courts have not taken such things so seriously. A clothing merchant, who used the picture of a fellow citizen seated in a motor car to advertise ‘auto coats’ (this was in 1909), with the words beneath it ’Only $10.50,’ was held not to have violated any legal rights.

The leading case in support of the right of privacy involved an offense even less flagrant. A life insurance company ran a man’s picture in its newspaper advertisements without his permission, stating that he had bought insurance from the company and was receiving dividends from paid-up policies. He brought suit on the ground that his privacy had been violated. He had never held a policy in that particular company, he said, and his friends, knowing this, would believe that he had accepted payment for conniving at a lie. Few people would feel that the offense in this instance was very heinous, but it furnished the occasion for an able and interesting thirty-page discourse by Judge Cobb of the Supreme Court of Georgia, in which he emphatically disapproved of commercialized invasions of privacy. He held the publication of a person’s portrait for advertising purposes without his consent to be unlawful, pointing out with horror that if it could be so used it might even ‘ornament the bar of the saloon keeper or decorate the walls of a brothel.’

A few years earlier the New York Court of Appeals had refused relief to a young woman whose portrait had been used by a milling company, without her consent, to advertise its products in connection with the words ‘Flour of the Family.’ But this decision aroused enough protest to lead to the passage of the New York statute, which has been copied in some other states, forbidding the unauthorized use of a person’s picture or name for ‘advertising purposes or purposes of trade.’ This statute is good as far as it goes, but it does not go very far. The courts have consistently held that it does not apply to the use of names and photographs in connection with stories purporting to be news, no matter how offensive such use may be. This distinction between news and trade purposes has been made in the interest of freedom of the press, and it may be desirable, but it has given unlimited license to processes of exploitation which could not otherwise be condoned.

Where there are no statutory regulations, the courts seem to have been guided chiefly by temperament in their attitude toward ‘the right to be let alone.’ Some judges regard the doctrine of privacy as the illegitimate offspring of trespass and defamation, and will have none of it. Others have welcomed it as a convenient theory for effecting justice where other rules do not clearly apply. This seems to have been true in certain cases arising out of the ‘placarding’ of debtors — a practice which, creditors should be warned, especially in these days, may have the homing qualities of a boomerang. An irate garage keeper in Kentucky, for instance, put up a huge sign in his window: —

NOTICE. Dr.——owes an account here of $49.67. And if promises would pay an account, this account would have been settled long ago.

The disgruntled doctor brought suit and recovered substantial damages for the violation of his privacy. For some reason, medical men seem to incur especial resentment when they do not pay their debts. A merchant in another state exhibited a table in front of his store with the sign: —

This was taken back from Dr.——as he would not pay for it. For sale at a bargain. Moral: Beware of deadbeats.

The court in this case also condemned the publication of the debtor’s difficulties and awarded him damages.

And in a few cases courts have recognized the right of privacy as a basis for enjoining such objectionable activities as ‘rough or open ’ shadowing by private detectives and the exhibition in the rogues’ gallery of photographs of persons who have been arrested but not convicted of any crime.

But in none of the cases involving the right of privacy which have come before the courts has there been any such outrageous disregard of personal rights and feelings as is shown a dozen times a day in almost any newspaper. Only a few persons have had the temerity to sue a newspaper publisher for the invidious use of their names or photographs, and their complaints have invariably been rejected by the courts. It must therefore be concluded that even those judges who might otherwise accept Justice Brandeis’s doctrine will not apply it to newspapers for fear of interfering with the freedom of the press, even though it was precisely the misconduct of the newspapers which first inspired his defense of privacy.

VII

Perhaps the desire for privacy is morbid and we ought to live and bathe in full public view like the Doukhobors and other nudists. Certainly there are gregarious millions who have never experienced any personal privacy and never will. They neither understand nor desire it. In fact, if our social evolution lies in the direction of standardization and a general leveling, it is likely that the desire as well as the opportunity for privacy will altogether disappear. The communities of the remote future may choose to live in the honeycomb cells of glass houses and to exhibit themselves and their lives to their neighbors with the indifference of ants or bees.

But evolution to that extreme will necessarily be slow. We shall probably retain a few vestiges of modesty, even though false, for many generations to come. In the meantime, those who cherish the integrity of their personalities will have to consider how to protect themselves against unwarranted invasions of their privacy.

We may develop a certain immunity to physical disturbances — a power to shut off or insulate our nervous systems against noise, odors, vibrations, and all the assaults of a mechanized life. Defenses, however, against the exploitation of the individual’s personal affairs and thoughts and emotions cannot be so easily raised. The courts have the power, if they will use it, of putting the fear of pecuniary damages into the worldly heart of Paul Pry. This might operate as a restraint upon occasional offenders, but it would have little effect upon the activities of the press, which are so profitable that the expense of litigation and the settlement of claims would be considered only a minor item of overhead. Recourse to law alone cannot assure to the individual that solitude and privacy which Justice Brandeis so fervently extolled.

It has been suggested that effective control of unwelcome publicity could come through the exercise of public opinion. But it is precisely against the curiosity and pruriency of that ravening monster — the public — that protection is needed. In the matter of privacy, the desires of the individual and of the public are almost always opposed. We are each a culpable part of the public when someone else’s affairs are concerned and not our own. Nor is it likely that any substantial number of us will stop buying newspapers because we may disapprove of their methods of gathering and reporting news.

VIII

Must we move backward, then, toward some form of official censorship? Shall we give up our cherished freedom of speech and put a representative of the state in every newspaper office to revise all copy before it goes to the composing room? The danger of such a consummation may seem remote, but we already have many repressive statutes upon the books and there are plenty of zealots at large ready to seize upon any abuse of freedom as an excuse for abolishing such freedom altogether.

In Italy and Russia, political censorship has laid the newspapers by the heels; and something similar was tried in Minnesota. We may yet see in this country a strong organized movement toward a censorship of the press which would be much more vicious in its effect than the occasional misguided prosecutions we now have under existing obscenity statutes. Censorship, if it comes, will unfortunately be administered upon moralistic grounds, and not with any particular regard for the privacy of the individual.

The obvious alternative to any superimposed control of the press would be the development of a professional spirit among the news agencies themselves. But such a spirit could only find root in a voluntary alliance between the owners of all the larger dailies, tabloids, syndicates, and news services. They could, if they chose, place definite limitations upon the methods to be used in getting and exploiting stories. Reporters could be trained to respect the human material with which they deal and to live up to certain agreed standards of conduct. Those who might persist in violating such a code could be barred from their profession in somewhat the same manner as wayward doctors and lawyers are excluded from theirs.

Old newspaper war horses will rear and snort at any suggestion for the exercise of restraint in the battle for news. They look upon their business as a fighting game, in which there should be no restrictions upon the use of poison gas, flame, bacteria, or the bombing of civilians. Perhaps it is just such a dirty affair, and will continue to be so. Yet a reasonable restraint voluntarily imposed would not necessarily take all the glory out of the reporter’s job. The blood and thunder of life could still be reflected in the news without the indiscriminate betrayal and destruction of private lives and sensibilities.