The Original Media Critic

By Chris Ariens 

Long before there were newspaper critics or even blogs, including this one, to keep a critical eye on the media, there was Don Hollenbeck.

In 1947 Hollenbeck began anchoring “CBS Views the Press.” The broadcast was the idea of his boss, legendary CBS Newsman Edward R. Murrow. The NYTimes’ Elizabeth Jensen writes that the show was to be “a 15-minute weekly appraisal of the reporting being done by newspapers.”

But, Jensen writes, Hollenbeck also “criticized broadcasters for not going after inaccurate reporting in newspapers and magazines, which he said were ‘the only instruments of mass communication which remain free from sustained and regular critical comment.'”

The show would last four years. Hollenbeck, featured in the film Good Night and Good Luck, ended his own life in 1954. Jensen writes that “Hollenbeck is most often portrayed as a tragic victim of news media criticism run amok.” Now, two new books explore Hollenbeck’s life and his work that should paint a broader picture of a newsman who kept a critical eye on news reporting.

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