Burning the Editorial at Both Ends

W. E. McLellan was a Nova Scotia lawyer who moved to Manitoba and wrote editorials for the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper in its infancy (early 1870s).  Then some friends persuaded him to leave the Free Press and write for a more conservative-minded new paper, The Manitoban.

For a short time he was able to keep his second job a secret and write for both.  Then one day he wrote a powerful lead editorial for the Free Press, a morning paper.  He handed this in to owner/editor, W.F. Luxton, and went home to write a scathing reply to said editorial for The Manitoban, an evening edition paper.

This he handed to the editor and (presumably) went home to bed.  The next morning he opened the Free Press to find, horror of horrors, that Luxton had thrown out his article.  Envisioning some serious explanations ahead, McLellan rushed to the office of The Manitoban to stop the presses and retract his rebuttal.

It was too late.  The editorial half of the paper which contained his article had already been printed.  The newspaper staff debated how to handle this and decided to toss the whole section into the furnace. Considering that all the newsprint in the province had to be imported from the East, this represented a serious financial loss. W.E. was not a popular man that day.

“Too many irons in the fire…”


2 thoughts on “Burning the Editorial at Both Ends

    • I think it was a man trying to please two bosses, because from what I read Luxton would have been more liberal minded, inclined to tackle various social issues of his time. The Manitoban was more right-wing conservative.
      As per what Jesus says about trying to please two masters.


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