Pointing out the perils of a ‘one-party press’

“President Truman’s frequent blasts at the editorial pages of U.S. newspapers have not overly concerned us. If a majority of U.S. newspapers have backed the Republican Party candidates in recent Presidential elections, it does not follow that (1) they are wrong, or (2) they are dishonest….

“But there is another aspect to the ‘one-party press,’ as Governor Stevenson has dubbed it, that cannot be passed over lightly. This is the tendency of some newspapers to give emphasis in their news columns in accordance with their editorial viewpoints.

“This newspaper has very stringent standards for reporting political campaigns, and every person who handles the news is under positive instructions to give the opposing parties and candidates an absolutely even break in the news columns….”

— From “One-Party Press Dangerous” in the Charlotte News (Oct. 14, 1952)

This editorial may have been targeting the rival Charlotte Observer, which endorsed Dwight Eisenhower over Stevenson. I found it reprinted on the backside of a flyer promoting a speech at the Armory Auditorium by Truman’s vice president, Alben Barkley.

A Charlotte News headline writer had played a small part in the 1948 presidential election, coining a catchy but unwelcome nickname for the States’ Rights Democrats.

 

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