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"A Great Debate in Every Newspaper": Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Press, and American Foreign Policy, 1940-1941

Lepow, Hannah

“News, if unreported, has no impact,” wrote journalist Gay Talese in his history of the
New York Times, The Kingdom and the Power. “It might as well have not happened at all. Thus
the journalist is the important ally of the ambitious, he is a lamplighter for stars.”
1 Journalism is
perhaps the most important ally of the politician; Walter Lippmann, founding editor of The New
Republic, seemed to think so when in 1922 he wrote, “The news is the chief source of the
opinion by which government now proceeds.”
2 This was certainly true of Franklin D.
Roosevelt’s government. President Roosevelt engaged frequently with the press: he held press
conferences twice a week in the Oval Office and developed a rapport with many reporters, joking
with them, teasing them, and winning their respect. However Roosevelt struggled with many
newspaper publishers. While reporters in the press room were largely friendly towards his
administration’s policies, their editors and publishers, who were mostly Republican, influenced
press coverage toward their own political point of view.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
History
Thesis Advisors
Winter, Emma L.
Degree
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 6, 2011
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