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.


‘States’ Rights Democrats’ no match for ‘Dixiecrats’

On this day in 1948: Southerners who have bolted the Democratic Party over its civil rights platform meet in Atlanta and christen themselves “States’ Rights Democrats.” The unwieldy name proves a problem for Charlotte News headline writer Bill Weisner. His solution: “Dixiecrats.”

Presidential candidate Strom Thurmond of South Carolina dislikes the label and considers it “a five-yard penalty” in winning over non-Southerners.

Regardless, the party will lose both the election (capturing only four Deep South states) and the battle against being known as “Dixiecrats.”


New faces of 1960: Carolina Cronkite, handy Andy

” ‘Eyewitness to History’ (CBS), which takes up the top news story of each week and analyzes it in respectable detail, is a good example of the sort of first-rate service television can perform. … As impressive as the show itself is its young analyst-narrator, Charles Kuralt, 25, who wrote a human interest column for the Charlotte, N.C. News before CBS hired him. A deep-voiced Carolina Cronkite with more than a little Murrow in his bones, he has one of those low-ratchet, radioactive voices that sound like a roulette wheel stopping….

” ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ (CBS) sets up the fellow who had ‘No Time for Sergeants’ as a sort of one-man Southern town: he is the cop, justice of the peace, jailer, newspaper editor, coroner, sheriff, mechanic and mailman. As a drawling, broad-shouldered, curly-haired, grits-filled, engagingly handsome example of the U.S.’s vast natural resource of undeveloped intelligence, talented Comedian Griffith is often good for laughs, all of them canned.”

— From Time magazine, October 10, 1960

As the show developed, Griffith soon shed all his jobs except sheriff.

Watch Charlotte Grow (but not THAT fast)

This pinback button would’ve been produced shortly after the creation of the Greater Charlotte Club, forerunner of the Charlotte Chamber, in 1905.

To the surprise of no one who has observed the city’s unrelenting boosterism over the years, the stated population projections proved wildly optimistic: Not until 1940 did Charlotte inch past 100,000 — and then only after insisting on a census recount. (Sports columnist Furman Bisher, then covering a city beat for the Charlotte News, later recalled “great municipal exuberance.”)

In 1960 the city hit another landmark, and of course the News was eager to tout it: “Swelling her chest like a lady trackster, Queen Charlotte broke the 200,000 tape….”