William Lloyd Garrison and The Liberator

Slang-whanging was the name for a style of newspaper editorializing popular in the early 1800s when some of America’s Founding Fathers were still alive. It was “intensely partisan and often laced with personal invective” and “provided an invigorating spectacle for their readers” (Henry Mayer, All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery, p. 40). It referred to “a newspaper columnist who expressed his personal opinions with great energy and notorious political partisanship.” A slang-whanger was “a noisy, turbulent fellow” (Bucks County Gazette, Sep. 24, 1891). William Lloyd Garrison, famous for his abolitionist activities, was skilled in slang-whanging. He “deliberately created for his readers the editorial personality of a tiger who loved nothing more than a good fight. From the outset he seemed instinctively to know how to pick an editorial quarrel, how to annoy, to agitate.” He engaged in this type of thing long before he founded his abolitionist paper The Liberator in 1831. The internet and social media have given millions of slang-whangers a voice never before conceived of, but God’s people should know better. “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).

(Friday Church News Notes, February 26, 2021,,, 866-295-4143)