Harper’s Weekly – November 12, 1870

To ensure favorable publicity and continuing public support, the Ring bribed the press overtly and covertly. Mayor Oakey Hall distributed city advertising to 54 daily and 26 weekly newspapers in the city and state to keep them from attacking Tammany, even if not actively supporting it. Advertising included Oakey’s speeches and comments along with legal announcements, and was paid for at two to five times normal rates. Comptroller Richard (Slippery Dick) Connolly was known to withhold payment of selected advertising claims until newspapers complied with instructions to print specific stories or support bills in the State Legislature. Tweed paid a number of reporters directly, or with sinecure public payroll jobs, for writing favorable stories.

Manton Marble, a rabid and often dishonest Democrat, published the New York World and was a target of Nast’s about two dozen times over the years. In 1869, however, he was on the same side as he editorialized: “Down with the shameless corruption of the Ring, O. Hall, W.M. Tweed.” The following year, his advertising revenue from City Hall increased sixfold, as Nast quipped: “It’s Love that makes the World turn round.” While Marble balanced on his globe (World) as Cupid shooting arrows at Tammany dollars, his new message read: “Vote (often) for Hoffman, Hall and Tweed. Good and honest men.”

Moreover, Tweed also awarded contracts for printing forms and regulations to selected newspapers. He controlled the extremely profitable New York Printing Company, which received almost all of the City and County government’s printing business, as well as that from transportation, insurance and other private companies subject to municipal regulation.