Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In Fact, Assignment Zero

In Fact was a fortnightly news letter of 4 pages edited by George Seldes, its presses ran from 1940 to the mid-50s, killed by McCarthyism. No, it wasn't a "pinko" paper, but it was liberal/progressive, very. What In Fact truly specialized in was the news that the rest of media wouldn't print. They may have been the very first media to bring to press the link between health and cigarettes, in the 1940s. They got the stories the majors wouldn't print, a lot of those stories came from the reporters for the majors. Yes, media constriction was an issue that long ago, as was business interference with news reporting. Seldes (1890-1995) got the stories and published without fear, and naturally Joe McCarthy and his media mopes couldn't abide that. I have to think that the Bloggers would please Seldes, he'd be horrified by a lot of the sourcing - or lack, but the iconoclasm would please him.

In that vein, Jay Rosen of Press Think aimed me in the direction of Assignment Zero a compendium of Pro and Amateur news reporters. The idea, in general is two fold, one give a miss to the dollar domination ( this seems assumed ) and secondly that more eyes and ears are better than less, with the added benefit of the freshness of view of amateurs. I'm interested to see where this goes, I'm much too isolated out here in NE OR to be of any use to them, but I am interested. Realistically, while Baker City may be the center of my universe, most of the rest of the country gets along well without knowing anything about us. Some of my readers are much more "urbane" and I hope they'll take a look and see if there's something they'd like to do. They're recruiting.

2 comments:

KISS said...

McCarthyism occurred while I was in high school and was the beginnings of my distrust of government. My dad was a liberal from the FDR movement, and as such he despised McCarthy. I remember Fine, Cohen, and Nixon sitting there accusing everyone in sight of being a communist. I'm sorry I didn't come to know of I.F. Stone till it was too late. If only the Internet had been than.

Chuck Butcher said...

In my senior year of HS, 1970-71, my govt class project was HUAC & SSC, emphasis on HUAC. The entire proceedings were archived at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH and I used the heck out of it, read all of it. Coincidently the CPUSA HQ was also in Yellow Springs. I'll freely admit to a large dose of scepticism about communism, running dog capitalist that I am (lefty version). I also went to the sources of much of the hearings, books, articles, etc. I was much more impressed by the victims than the persecutors, RMN was high up my scumbag list before he was Pres.

This was my factual exposure to the govt as liar and victimizer, as opposed to news reports or history books, I understood some things that aren't available easily.