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George Seldes’ War for the Public GoodConclusion

George Seldes’ War for the Public Good: Conclusion [Seldes’ contribution to journalism is complicated. His calls for a subscriber-based press and the regular publication of the Federal Trade Commission Reports were considered utopian at the time and his attacks on the commercial nature of the press were dismissed as obvious and unhelpful. He attacked both conservatives and liberals and scorned those who made accommodation with the commercial press, thereby cutting across potential alliances that may have popularised his efforts. He violated the code of silence, which had prevented newspapers from criticizing each other publicly and he sought to directly mobilize the public into action against the press. These measures were seen to both disrupt social stability and expose the industry to the threat of government regulation. Yet, Seldes advocated for the public role of journalism and kept alive muckraking and investigative journalism during a period when unstable employment conditions appear to have made journalists largely compliant with the demands of publishers and wire services were simplifying and trivializing the news. He was prescient in his advocacy for a socially responsible press, in his crusade to make the public aware of the dangers of tobacco and the influence of advertising, and in his belief that in the end it is the citizens themselves, who critique the press and take responsibility for the accuracy of the news they receive, that is freedom’s best defence.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

George Seldes’ War for the Public GoodConclusion

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
ISBN
978-3-030-30876-6
Pages
117 –127
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-30877-3_9
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[Seldes’ contribution to journalism is complicated. His calls for a subscriber-based press and the regular publication of the Federal Trade Commission Reports were considered utopian at the time and his attacks on the commercial nature of the press were dismissed as obvious and unhelpful. He attacked both conservatives and liberals and scorned those who made accommodation with the commercial press, thereby cutting across potential alliances that may have popularised his efforts. He violated the code of silence, which had prevented newspapers from criticizing each other publicly and he sought to directly mobilize the public into action against the press. These measures were seen to both disrupt social stability and expose the industry to the threat of government regulation. Yet, Seldes advocated for the public role of journalism and kept alive muckraking and investigative journalism during a period when unstable employment conditions appear to have made journalists largely compliant with the demands of publishers and wire services were simplifying and trivializing the news. He was prescient in his advocacy for a socially responsible press, in his crusade to make the public aware of the dangers of tobacco and the influence of advertising, and in his belief that in the end it is the citizens themselves, who critique the press and take responsibility for the accuracy of the news they receive, that is freedom’s best defence.]

Published: Nov 15, 2019

Keywords: Publicly owned press; Political education; Socially responsible press; Objective versus interpretative journalism; Conspiracy of silence

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