Wednesday, December 09, 2015

When columnists influenced voters

Joseph Epstein writes in the WSJ:
Like many Jews, my father was an ardent supporter of Franklin Roosevelt. So much so that in the 1930s he wouldn’t allow the then-isolationist Chicago Tribune in the house. My father’s dislike of the paper was so fierce that once, when he had a flat tire in a snowstorm and the driver of a Tribune delivery truck pulled over to help, my father told him to bugger off. “That,” he used to say when telling the story, “shows you how stupid politics can make you.”

In 1952, during the first Eisenhower-Stevenson election campaign, I asked my father for whom he was going to vote, fairly certain of the answer ( Adlai Stevenson). He surprised me by saying that before making a decision he was waiting to see which way the columnist Walter Lippmann was going. Lippmann, though he would have much preferred to lunch with Stevenson, went for Eisenhower. He did so because he thought the great war hero had a better chance than Stevenson of closing down Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s Communist witch hunt.
Lippmann coined the term "stereotype".

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