Short Story #337: Corrupting the Press by Ambrose Bierce

Title:  Corrupting the Press

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator, Henry Barber is sent to Sam Henley, the editor of a newspaper to bribe him to change his tune about the governor.  Henley agrees but only will do so once he has the money.  When at the committee meeting to determine what to do about Henley, an old man admits to being suspect of Henley's intent.  Barber reassures him that Henley is an honest man when it comes to bribes.  The next morning, Barber awakes and goes outside.  There is a lot of commotion and a group in dire need of killing someone, though Barber is not sure.  Wanting to get in on the action, he jumps in, only to find out that they are after him.  When he escapes to the committee, he discovers that Henley's newspaper has ousted him as a briber.  At this point, the old man says that they do indeed need to reconsider a funeral.  Concerned for his life, Barber jumps out the window and runs away.


The story feels a bit flat without much interest.  The old man's dialect is a bit hard to read and fully understand what he is saying and Barber's not a compelling enough character to care.

Short Story #337 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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