December 10, 1951 — The Times Record

The Mossadegh Project | January 19, 2016                     

The Times Record managed to crack two skulls with the same stone in this December 1951 editorial extolling the virtues of a free press.

Harry S. Truman and Mohammad Mossadegh, both of whom they detested, were specifically called out by the Troy, New York paper for engaging in self-serving media suppression of their critics.

The Iranian case was rather misrepresented, however. On Dec. 6th, Iran expelled New York Times correspondent Michael Clark for what they viewed as slanderous and biased reporting, in particular a November 29th report linking Mossadegh’s political success with terrorism. Had Mossadegh shut down Communist newspapers saying the same thing, it’s unlikely the Times Record would have registered any complaints.


Within two or three days a prominent Republican politician approached a Record man and bemoaned the fact that his party had been criticized as extravagant. “It was bitter,” said he. “Why didn’t someone come to our leaders and talk things over? Why didn’t The Times Record show that most of the increases were mandated in Albany?"

There is something akin in the attitude of all politicians. Not long ago President Truman, angry because correspondents discovered matters he did not want known, introduced a semi-censorship—quite contrary to the spirit of our Constitution and indicative of the low levels of Americanism in the heart of an angry executive. Only this week Premier Mossadegh of Iran has ordered a newspaper man out of the country [Michael Clark of the New York Times] because of material sent to the American press that he did not like and because the newspaper the reporter represented printed a page advertisement of which Mossadegh did not approve.

All politicians rejoice when newspapers agree with them. All of them are resentful when newspapers criticize them. And all independent newspapers criticize even the best of leadership when, in their opinion, it goes wrong. The sad voices of the politicians, the insistence that the world has now come to an end whenever they are taken in hand and fault is found in their conduct of affairs, cannot mean much to the newspapers or to the public. The people want to know. They want editors to analyze. They are not interested in a press which follows slavishly every move of any party. Such loyalty implies—very certainly, we believe—that the press is thinking more of the cash register and its political advertising than of its position as a moulder [sic] of public opinion and a representative of the community.


Related links:

We Need Luck To Hold Iran — Stewart Alsop, December 10, 1951

Not Much Altered.The Times Record, October 18, 1952

Press Attack on MossadeqAustralian Associated Press, August 27, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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