CBS's Don Hollenbeck: An Honest Reporter in the Age of McCarthyism

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Columbia University Press, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 330 pages
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Loren Ghiglione recounts the fascinating life and tragic suicide of Don Hollenbeck, the controversial newscaster who became a primary target of McCarthyism's smear tactics. Drawing on unsealed FBI records, private family correspondence, and interviews with Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace, Charles Collingwood, Douglas Edwards, and more than one hundred other journalists, Ghiglione writes a balanced biography that cuts close to the bone of this complicated newsman and chronicles the stark consequences of the anti-Communist frenzy that seized America in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Hollenbeck began his career at the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal (marrying the boss's daughter) before becoming an editor at William Randolph Hearst's rip-roaring Omaha Bee-News. He participated in the emerging field of photojournalism at the Associated Press; assisted in creating the innovative, ad-free PM newspaper in New York City; reported from the European theater for NBC radio during World War II; and anchored television newscasts at CBS during the era of Edward R. Murrow.

Hollenbeck's pioneering, prize-winning radio program, CBS Views the Press (1947-1950), was a declaration of independence from a print medium that had dominated American newsmaking for close to 250 years. The program candidly criticized the prestigious New York Times, the Daily News (then the paper with the largest circulation in America), and Hearst's flagship Journal-American and popular morning tabloid Daily Mirror. For this honest work, Hollenbeck was attacked by conservative anti-Communists, especially Hearst columnist Jack O'Brian, and in 1954, plagued by depression, alcoholism, three failed marriages, and two network firings (and worried about a third), Hollenbeck took his own life. In his investigation of this amazing American character, Ghiglione reveals the workings of an industry that continues to fall victim to censorship and political manipulation. Separating myth from fact, CBS's Don Hollenbeck is the definitive portrait of a polarizing figure who became a symbol of America's tortured conscience.


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CBS'S DON HOLLENBECK: An Honest Reporter in the Age of McCarthyism

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A biographical tribute to a journalist nearly forgotten since his suicide in 1954.A colleague of Edward R. Murrow within the CBS News broadcasting empire, Don Hollenbeck invented contemporary media ... Read full review

CBS's Don Hollenbeck: an honest reporter in the age of McCarthyism

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Journalist Don Hollenbeck, Edward R. Murrow's colleague at CBS during the 1940s and 1950s, is the subject of this biography by Ghiglione (journalism, Northwestern Univ.). Although not as famous as ... Read full review


The Boyfrom Lincoln
Championing Decency Fighting
Working for William Randolph Hearst in Omaha
The Founding ofPM a Newspapermans Ideal
Commies and Good Liberals
Covering World War II from Home and Abroad
Getting Fired by NBC and ABC Then Hired by CBS
The Invention of CBS Views the Press
Buffalo DockWalloper to Broadway Drama Critic
The Obsession with Subversives and Communist Spies
Traveling with the Conservative
Attacking the Communist Broadcasting System
The Walking Wounded
The Sermon in the Suicide

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About the author (2011)

Loren Ghiglione, a journalism professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, owned and edited New England newspapers for twenty-six years and served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors from 1989 to 1990. Following a five-year term as dean of Medill, he was president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2006 to 2007.

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