ERIC Number: ED218619
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Report on the Russians: An Analysis of the Controversy Surrounding William Lindsay White's 1945 Account of Russia.
Folkerts, Jean Lange
During the summer of 1944, journalist William Lindsay White accompanied Eric Johnston, president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, to the Soviet Union. Early the next year White published an account of the trip, "Report on the Russians," which made the best seller lists, but which pleased few individuals and attracted a great deal of criticism. Much of the criticism accused White of being biased in his observations of the Russians, unfairly emphasizing poverty during wartime, and commenting unfavorably about industrial development under a communist regime. However, critics virtually ignored four major stories he released--stories which at that time had not been presented to the public eye but which in later years were acknowledged to be highly significant accounts. White's account and criticism raises issues of media objectivity and the role of the reporter during wartime. The focus on ideology rather than on events represented a desire for Americans to protect their national interests and to create an ideological consistency between the two great powers. Correspondents were trying to secure Russian trust and support in hope of breaking down tight censorship controls. There was also a need to promote Russian-American cooperation for world peace. Bill White's experience is a documentation of the strength of public opinion in volatile times and a reminder that the role of the press is not to promote ideological consistency or schism, nor to aid in government manipulation, but to clarify events and issues. (Author/HOD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Media Bias; USSR; White (William Lindsay)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).