• Helen FordhamEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)


The Depression exposed wide economic disparity in the United States, which radicalized America’s working men and women and drove the calls for reform, which underpinned the New Deal measures. At the same time America’s middle classes were increasingly suspicious of the capacity of the public to understand complex issues and feared that organized labour was preparing citizens for a totalitarian dictatorship. The corporatization of newspapers, the expansion of advertising and public relations (PR), the rise of broadcast and the increase in public commentators created a more complex and confusing public domain and the majority of citizens came to believe that newspaper publishers were working against the public’s interests. Seldes was thrilled with the public’s growing scepticism about the accuracy and truthfulness of the daily press and he refined his critiques about the suppression of news and the corruption of public information in his seminal books Freedom of the Press (1935) and Lords of the Press (1938).


Press freedom 1930s Depression Tabloid journalism Reactionary politics Commercial press 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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