Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hidden History of Mort Zuckerman's `U.S. News & World Report'--Part 1

(The following article first appeared in the April 14, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown.)

Between 1948 and 1973, the editor of U.S. News & World Report was a politically conservative journalist named David Lawrence. Between 1948 and 1959, Lawrence also was the president of U.S. News & World Report. And between 1959 and his death in 1973, Lawrence was the chairman of the board of U.S. News & World Report.

Given the way Hoover’s FBI apparently was allowed to use U.S. News & World Report as a propaganda tool between 1948 and 1972, it is not surprising that U.S. News & World Report editor and chairman of the board Lawrence received in 1964 an FBI special award “in appreciation of his friendly and sympathetic assistance to the FBI,” according to The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. The same book also revealed that Lawrence also “received from Richard M. Nixon in 1970 the Medal of Freedom.”

Lawrence had established U.S. News & World Report in 1948 by combining his commercially successful United States News magazine with the commercially unsuccessful World Report magazine, under the U.S. News & World Report title. The commercially unsuccessful World Report had been launched by Lawrence in 1946.

United States News magazine had originally been published by Lawrence as a weekly newspaper between 1933 and 1939, before Lawrence turned it into a weekly magazine in 1940. Before starting to publish United States News as a weekly newspaper in 1933, Lawrence had published an editorially similar Washington, D.C. daily newspaper called United States Daily between 1926 and 1933, which attained a peak circulation of about 40,000.

In addition to assisting the FBI as U.S. News & World Report editor, president and chairman of the board, for many years, Lawrence also was able to assist the FBI in his role as a nationally-syndicated U.S. Establishment columnist. In 1968, Lawrence’s nationally-syndicated column was published in 325 different newspapers of the U.S. White Corporate Male Power Structure.

Prior to founding the U.S. News & World Report magazine in 1948, Lawrence had graduated from Princeton University in 1910 and worked for the Associated Press and the New York Post as a Washington, D.C. correspondent. He had also “became a pioneer in radio news broadcasting in the early 1920s” and “broadcast over the NBC network a weekly series of 15-minute radio talks on the topic `Our Government’ from 1927 to 1933,” according to The National Cyclopedia of American Biography.

After Lawrence realized that his children were not interested in running U.S. News & World Report, he decided to sell the magazine in 1962 to his U.S. News & World Report employees. Although Lawrence continued to be the U.S. News & World Report editor and chairman of the board until his death in 1973 at the age of 84, between 1962 and 1984 U.S. News & World Report was an employee-owned, pro-Establishment magazine, operated on an employee profit-sharing basis. Around 62,500 shares of U.S. News & World Report Inc. stock were owned by its employees and, in late 1983, each share of stock was worth about $625. (end of part 1)

(Downtown 4/14/93)

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