(I.F. Stone and friend - even in 1958 the Liberal Media was a myth)
Our news media has gone through countless changes since this interview was conducted in 1958. It was before the days of "breaking news" 24 hour news cycles, Satellite feeds, cable and instant access. It was also the days before media conglomerates, info-tainment and reality TV.
But even in 1958 there were problems. Newspapers at the time were still the main source for getting news, with radio a close second. Most major city newspapers published twice a day. But even with that, a lot of stories just weren't covered. A lot of news items were downplayed and only given cursory mention, usually towards the back of a paper with one or two lines.
This program, part of the Open Mind series featured interviews with prominent newspaper figures of the time. Herbert Brucker, who was chairman of the Freedom of Information Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. William J. Miller, chief Editorial writer for the New York Herald Tribune, and I.F. Stone, publisher of I.F. Stone's Weekly. . .
I.F. Stone: “I think the three things wrong with the American press, a very good press I think. Better than that of most countries, except perhaps England. They have a very good press. The three things wrong with it are these – first of all, as soon as you get away from the Eastern seaboard, there are very few papers in this country that run enough news matter to make possible a considered judgment on public affairs. The average city daily does not run enough news, that’s the first big criticism of it. Second thing is the newspapers, and to a greater degree radio and television are adjuncts of advertisers. Advertisers object to ideas that might disturb anybody. So there’s a tendency, not to spread wicked ideas or bad ideas, but no ideas. So as not to upset any possible customer. And the third thing is, that since it takes a lot of money to own a newspaper, except a small one like mine, most publishers are Republicans.”
So even in 1958 all was not rosy with the media. And the factors in that discontent seem to be the same, despite protests to the contrary.