Search Results for: George Seldes

Oct 16 2015

Sanders Goes After Media’s Most Sacred Cow

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton debate

Sanders wasn’t just criticizing Republicans, he was also criticizing media that prioritize sensationalism over basic economic realities.

Aug 30 2012

Recommended Reading

Note: FAIR encourages readers to support their local independent booksellers. However, if books mentioned on our site are not available in your area, we offer the ability to purchase some books online in association with the book’s publisher, and Powell’s Books. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women By Susan Faludi (Crown, 1991) An in-depth, well-documented analysis of the media backlash against feminism. By Invitation Only: How the Media Limit Public DebateBy David Croteau and William Hoynes (Common Courage, 1994) Incorporates Croteau and Hoynes’ classic studies of Nightline, the NewsHour and PBS that document the establishment bias of "prestige" television. […]

Sep 1 2008

CounterSpin Interview: The Media Ignore Their Core Duty

Arianna Huffington & Glenn Greenwald on media accountability

Arianna Huffington--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/jdlas

From Iraq to Enron, from Hurricane Katrina to No Child Left Behind, from torture to civil liberties to healthcare and much more, it would be hard to overstate the role the U.S. media played in enabling many of the policy debacles of the Bush years. And yet media accountability rarely goes beyond the half-hearted internal investigation, followed by, if we’re lucky, the half-hearted mea culpa. That the media are not prone to self-criticism isn’t a new thing. As crusading journalist George Seldes said decades ago, “The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself.”   CounterSpin talked to […]

Feb 1 2006

Media Reform for What?

The success so far, the challenge ahead

Most people have heard the famous quote by press critic A.J. Liebling, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.” Recently I keep recalling another, less popular quote in which Liebling referred to the press as the “weak slat under the bed of democracy.” He continued: It is an anomaly that information, the one thing most necessary to our survival as choosers of our own way, should be a commodity subject to the same merchandising rules as chewing gum, while armament, a secondary instrument of liberty, is a government concern. A man is not free if he […]

Feb 1 2006

The Secret Origins of FAIR

How police spies and media moles helped launch a movement

In 1997, the Soviet Union detonated thermonuclear weapons in the sky over the United States, shutting down the Pentagon’s computer systems and leaving the nation vulnerable to invasion and occupation. The U.N., dominated by East Bloc Communists, became the U.S.’s de facto government, forcing schoolchildren to pledge allegiance to the U.N. flag. The year 1997 never fit this profile in reality, but it did in Amerika, the 12-episode miniseries broadcast by ABC in 1987. To this day, Jeff Cohen won’t reveal the identity of the person who sent him an advance script of Amerika. But that anonymous person made Cohen […]

Feb 1 2006

On the Shoulders of Giants

The unbroken tradition of press criticism

On the occasion of FAIR’s 20th anniversary, it is appropriate to recall some of the early press critics who helped blaze the trail that FAIR has so honorably followed. George Seldes Like FAIR, George Seldes was dogged in his quest for journalistic accuracy. Seldes had been a journalist for five years in 1914, when the first shots were fired across the trenches of the Western Front. After covering the Great War, which killed 8 million people, he would say (Freedom of the Press): I now realize that we were told nothing but buncombe, that we were shown nothing of the […]

Jul 20 2005


James Weinstein, 1926-2005 “Jim Weinstein was a shining example of a truly independent journalist…. In his own way, he was in the tradition of George Seldes and I.F. Stone and Lincoln Steffens–muckraking journalists who challenged the received wisdom. He always asked ‘Why?’ and ‘Who is behind what?’ and ‘Where are the bodies buried?’ More than ever, we need journalists such as Jim, who insisted that we must think things through, that we must remember the past in order to understand the present and prepare for the future.” –Studs Terkel on In These Times founder James Weinstein (AlterNet, 6/19/05) A Shining […]

Feb 22 2005

Great Media Critics

Intrepid for Journalism and Labor Rights

When I think of newspaper journalists who became authors and had enormous impacts on media criticism in the United States, two names come to mind. One is George Seldes. As a young man, he covered the First World War and then reported on historic events in Europe for the Chicago Tribune from 1919 until 1928. Seldes quit the paper and went on to blaze a trail as an independent journalist — ready, able and eager to challenge media business-as-usual. Naturally, he earned hostility from the kind of media magnates he skewered in “Lords of the Press.” The renowned historian Charles […]