History of Newspapers: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Part 3

About the history of the United States newspaper The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, information about the editor Joseph Pulitzer and some of their scoops.


The Present. Now run by Pulitzer's grandson, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a highly regarded, liberal paper, which, in spite of its claims that it clings to the center, is really leaning to the left.

The Saturday Review has said of it: "Its general philosophy is that its readers . . . deserve and are capable of understanding important news from any part of the world, on any subject, and of any nature. It looks on its readers as changing, and sees the frontiers of news as expanding."

It still crusades, following the precept of Pulitzer: "Never drop a big thing until you have gone to the bottom of it." Its editorial page carries a statement dating from the paper's beginning, which says that a paper is "an institution that should always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."

The Post-Dispatch favors improving education, housing and medical assistance, and supports trade unions, minority groups, and the UN. It covers world news thoroughly, yet pays attention to the city's problems.

In 1975, its daily circulation was 290,000, its Sunday circulation 485,000. Its physical plant covers an entire city block.

Scoops. In keeping with the sensational exposÈs of its early days, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch can take credit for several crusading scoops.

The paper was one of the journalistic heroes of the Teapot Dome scandal.

In 1927, Paul Y. Anderson exposed the State Department, which had fomented a communist scare in Mexico because American oil companies wanted an excuse to seize land there.

Anderson also exposed the Chicago police for their massacre of demonstrators during the Republic Steel Company Memorial Day rioting.

The paper exposed the Pendergast machine, the Kelly machine, the Hague machine.

Investigation by the Post-Dispatch caused the impeachment of Federal judge George W. English.

The Post-Dispatch investigated the Nixon campaign-fund story and showed that benefits were indeed received by those who contributed to this fund.

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