If the name of Robert R. McCormick does not exactly resonate these days, there’s a good reason for it: he was a newspaper proprietor and, by contemporary standards, very much on the wrong side of history’s street. A benevolent autocrat, whose views were reflected in the pages of his product, the Chicago Tribune, he was an isolationist in the middle of the American Century, implacable enemy of the burgeoning welfare state, and a “character” inhabiting the corporate world, who wielded power and exerted much influence. And yet, outside his Midwestern domain, he is now largely forgotten and, if remembered, much misunderstood.

Let this be a lesson to all journalists with pretensions. Across the Potomac River from Washington, another eccentric newspaper proprietor, Allen Neuharth, has just opened a museum—with the ghastly, if inevitable, name of Newseum—which seeks to attach some form of immortality...

 

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