Walter Winchell, Drew Pearson Accused of ‘Smear Campaign,’ March 14, 1944

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March 14, 1944

As you may have noticed, Walter Winchell has been taking frequent blasts at Congress. Now the legislators have fired back.

In an AP story from Washington, Republican Rep. Clare Hoffman of Michigan charges that union leaders, Communists working in the government, the New Deal and radio commentators have engaged in a “smear campaign” to “smirch Congress and unseat some members.”

Their campaign, Hoffman said, was to “override our form of government and convince our people that Franklin D. Roosevelt is the indispensible man.”

Hoffman singled out Winchell, Drew Pearson, the Chicago Sun, a newspaper called PM ,,, and way down in the story is a reference to an attack by Republican Rep. Fred Busbey of Illinois on our old friend Louis Adamic, who you may recall was writing about Los Angeles in the 1920s, especially Aimee Semple McPherson’s disappearance.

Also by Louis Adamic

Aimee Semple McPherson’s Fight With Satan

Cecil B. DeMille, Movie Evangelist

Rep. Martin Dies of HUAC fame said that “fully 60%” of the statements of some radio commentators can be proven “utterly false” and said he proposed to find out if broadcasting companies would be willing to allow “maligned persons” an equal opportunity to answer charges.

Winchell responded that “Dies is the kind of man who does not like any kind of criticism,” adding that he had often requested to appear before Congress.

“The Hoffmans, the Dies and the Rankins have the power to subpoena me, but apparently are afraid to…. they can’t be expected to stick to the rules because they don’t stick to the facts,” Winchell said.

From the St. Petersburg Times.

March 14, 1944, Walter Winchell

March 14, 1944, Walter Winchell

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1944, Columnists, Politics, Radio, World War II and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Walter Winchell, Drew Pearson Accused of ‘Smear Campaign,’ March 14, 1944

  1. Angus says:

    The implication of these charges was that there was some sort of leftist movement afoot. Winchell was outspoken in his support of FDR. The Chicago Sun (now Sun-Times) and the New York tabloid PM were both owned by Marshall Field, unusual in that he was both a multi-millionaire and a well-known liberal. The Blue network (later ABC) had just been bought by Edward Noble, former Under-Secretary of Commerce and a friend of President Roosevelt.

    What a difference seventy years makes – now some see the media as dominated by the right.

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