March 21, 1944
Notes of an Innocent Bystander
The Wireless: Cong. Dies, who riles easy, is demagoging at a couple of news broadcasters. Now he intends to ask the stations, he says, if they are willing “to afford maligned persons an opportunity to answer false charges over the same facilities and to the same audience.” Let’s assume, Cong. Dies, that you want to be fair — and that you’re not just hunting for a headline. Would you favor the same fair shake for defenseless citizens who’ve been maligned on the floor of Congress? Would you allow the answerers the same immunity from the consequences of reckless statements that congressmen get? Or are you, after all, looking for a headline?
Can you imagine the shrieks from the part-time defenders of “freedom of the press” if Pres. Roosevelt dared to ask a let-up in the walloping he gets? To date, I haven’t heard a peep from them at Dies’ suggestion.