Pearson, Drew

1953 TLS on his 192-station taped radio network letterhead, to a Pennsylvania physician fan

Price: $20.00

Description:
(1897-1969) One of the best-known columnists of his day, noted for yellow press journalism and muckraking syndicated newspaper column in which he attacked public persons, often with little or no objective proof for his allegations. He was Washington correspondent for The Baltimore Sun in 1929. In 1931 & 1932, with Robert S. Allen, he anonymously published “Washington Merry-Go-Round” and a sequel and was fired. Pearson and Allen contracted with the Scripps–Howard syndicate, United Features, for a “Washington Merry-Go-Round” column, 1st appearing in the Washington Herald Nov. 17, 1932. His strong support of FDR, in opposition to the Herald’s isolationism, led to termination of the contract. In 1941 The Washington Post picked up the “Washington Merry-Go-Round.” Pearson was on NBC Radio 1941-53 with “Drew Pearson Comments”, broadcast through 1968. He appeared in several films, inc. the 1951 sci-fi film “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and RKO's “Betrayal from the East”, a WW II propaganda movie. He appeared as himself in “City Across the River” (1949) and hosted “The Drew Pearson Show” on the ABC and DuMont networks 1952-53. Pearson saw journalism as a weapon against those he judged to be working against the public interest. When forced to choose between a story's accuracy and his desire to pursue a person whose views he disliked, Pearson published the story anyway. He frequently resorted to combining facts or corroborated leaked news items with fabricated or unsubstantiated details, the latter designed to emphasize and sensationalize the basic story. A favorite tactic was to reveal salacious details of a subject's sexual proclivities for embarrassment or intimidation. During WW II, he criticized the administration's foreign policy regarding Stalin and the Soviet Union. A supporter of the USSR struggle against Nazi Germany, Pearson demanded a 2nd front in Europe in 1943 to assist the Soviets. He openly criticized Secretary Hull and other State Department officials, whom he accused of hating Russia. After one of Pearson's columns accused Hull and his deputies of a conscious policy to “bleed Russia white,” FDR called Pearson “a chronic liar.” He was the first to report the 1943 incident of General Patton's slapping of soldier Charles Kuhl but his version of the incident bore little relation to that of the actual event. After Pearson reported that General MacArthur was actively campaigning for his own promotion, MacArthur sued Pearson for defamation, but dropped the suit after Pearson threatened to publish love letters from MacArthur to his Eurasian paramour. Following the war, Pearson was largely responsible for the "Friendship Train" which raised over $40M in aid for Europe. He had a role in the downfall of Rep. John Parnell Thomas, Chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, in 1948. After revelations in Pearson's column, Thomas was investigated and convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government. He was a staunch opponent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and other attempts by Congress to investigate Soviet and communist influence in government and the media, and eagerly denounced the political opportunism, demagoguery, and scurrilous allegations by McCarthy and the House Committee. In the 40s, Pearson made several poorly substantiated allegations against Secretary of Defense Forrestal. He insinuated that Forrestal was guilty of corruption, but was unable to prove wrongdoing. After Truman took office, Forrestal attempted to moderate his policy of radically reducing the size of the armed forces during Cold War tensions. Pearson published information received from Pentagon sources on Forrestal's mental condition and unrelentingly continued attacks on Forrestal in his columns and broadcasts. After Forrestal's 1949 suicide, Pearson stated that Forrestal suffered from "paranoia" and had attempted suicide 4 previous times, completely contradicted by Forrestal's physicians and uncorroborated by Forrestal's medical file or the official Navy report of his death. Pearson protege Jack Anderson later asserted that Pearson "hounded Jim Forrestal with dirty aspersions and insinuations until at last, exhausted and his nerves unstrung, one of the finest servants that the Republic ever had died of suicide." In 1950, Pearson began a series of columns attacking McCarthy after McCarthy declared that he had a list of 57 people in the State Department that were members of the Communist Party. Over the next 2 months McCarthy made 7 Senate speeches on Pearson, calling for a "patriotic boycott" of his radio show which cost Pearson his sponsor. Twelve newspapers canceled their contract with Pearson. In Dec. 1950 McCarthy and Pearson were involved in a public brawl at the Sulgrave Club in Washington. In a 1967 column attacking California Governor Ronald Reagan, he claimed a "homosexual ring” was operating in Reagan's office” and a tape recording existed of "a sex orgy” in a cabin near Lake Tahoe leased by 2 members of Reagan's staff-the tape did not exist. At his death, the column was syndicated to 650+ newspapers, with some 60M readers. A Harris Poll for TIME Magazine showed Pearson was America's best-known newspaper columnist at his death. TIME’s obituary declared that his column sent 4 Congressmen to jail and led to the resignation of Eisenhower Chief of Staff, Sherman Adams. TLS on his 8 ½ x 5 ½ “Washington Merry-Go-Round” Washington letterhead, May 4 1953, to an Oxford, Penna. physician, thanking him for his interest in Pearson’s broadcasts and column. Pearson mentions his 192-station taped network, including WPEN in Philadelphia, and that “…eventually more stations may carry my program than under my arrangement with Carter Products on ABC.” He thanks his admirer for his “splendid cooperation at this time – a time when the support of my friends means so much to me.” A typed postscript mentions WPEN broadcasts his program at6 on Sundays. With envelope.

Condition: Very good, mail folds
Type:Letter






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