Walter Pincus

Walter Pincus

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Walter Haskell Pincus was born in Brooklyn, on 24th December, 1932. He graduated from Yale University in 1954 and after briefly working for the New York Times he joined the United States Army. He joined the Counter Intelligence Corps and served in Washington (1955-1957).

In 1957 Pincus joined the Wall Street Journal. He also worked as the Washington correspondent for three North Carolina newspapers. In 1963, Pincus was recruited by the Washington Star before moving to the Washington Post in 1969. He also spent three years as executive editor of The New Republic (1972-75) where he wrote about the Watergate Scandal. Pincus also worked as a part time consultant to NBC News and CBS News. This involved developing, writing or producing television documentaries and news segments.

Pincus returned to the Washington Post in 1975 where specialized in writing about the CIA and the intelligence community. Pincus always defended the activities of the CIA and criticizedSeymour Hersh for his "advocacy journalism" when he tried to expose the illegal activities of the agency. He also condemned the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) and in February 1977, described it as "perhaps the worst example of Congressional inquiry run amok."

In 1979 Deborah Davis published Katharine the Great in 1987. Katharine Graham persuaded the publishers William Jovanovich, to pulp the book. As well as looking at the life of this newspaper proprietor, Davis explored the relationship between the CIA and the Washington Post. Davis also became the first journalist to expose Operation Mockingbird. She also named Walter Pincus as being one of the journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA.

Nina Burleigh, the author of A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer (1998), has argued that Pincus had a close relationship with Cord Meyer, who served under Frank Wisner on Operation Mockingbird. She argues that Meyer " seconded the nomination of Washington Post writer Walter Pincus for membership in the Waltz Group, a Washington social organization. Pincus went on to become the Post's premier intelligence reporter." It was during this period Pincus became friends with George Tenet.

Pincus also helped George H. W. Bush and Robert Gates during the Iran-Contra investigation. In an article published in July, 1991, Pincus called for the Senate to approve Bush's nomination of Gates as director of the CIA. In 1992, Pincus falsely claimed that "special prosecutors have told former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger that he might face indictment on felony charges in the Iran-Contra scandal, unless he provided them with evidence they believe he has against former President Reagan... The dramatic attempt to get a former cabinet officer to turn on his commander-in-chief occurred a few days ago as Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh tried to conclude his five and one-half year investigation of the affair."

A few days later Pincus wrote that Lawrence E. Walsh was considering indicting Ronald Reagan. This was again untrue and Walsh argues in his book, Firewall, that Bush was using Pincus to spread disinformation on the investigation. As Walsh pointed out: "Of all the sideswipes that we suffered during this period, the false report that we were considering indicting the nation's still-admired former president hurt us the most."

Walsh was attacked by the right-wing media of carrying out the "biggest witch hunt in America since Salem". The leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, Bob Dole, made a speech where he called on Walsh to close down the investigation. He criticized Walsh's "inability to understand the simple fact that it is time to leave Iran-Contra to the history books".

Walter Pincus also led the attack on Gary Webb when he published his series of articles on CIA involvement with the Contras and the drug industry. After Dark Alliance was published Pincus wrote: "A Washington Post investigation into Ross, Blandon, Meneses, and the U.S. cocaine market in the 1980s found the available information does not support the conclusion that the CIA-backed contras - or Nicaraguans in general - played a major role in the emergence of crack as a narcotic in widespread use across the United States."

The Washington Post refused to publish Webb's letters when he attempted to defend his views on the CIA. This included information that Pincus had been recruited by the CIA when he was at Yale University in order to spy on student groups at several international youth conferences in the 1950s. Later, Geneva Overholser, the Washington Post ombudsman, criticized Pincus and other reporters working for the newspaper: "A principal responsibility of the press is to protect the people from government excesses. The Washington Post (among others) showed more energy for protecting the CIA from someone else's journalistic excesses."

When Gary Webb committed suicide, French journalist, Paul Moreira, made a television documentary for France's Canal Plus. He interviewed Pincus and asked him why in October, 1998, he had not reported on the CIA's inspector general report admitting the agency worked with drug dealers throughout the 1980s. Pincus was unable to explain why he and other mainstream journalists completely ignored this report that helped to support Webb's case against the CIA.

Marc Cooper of LA Weekly argued that CIA controlled journalists destroyed Webb's career: "What I can say is that the media killed his career. That's obvious and it's really a nauseating and very discouraging story, because as a journalist, the only thing you have is your credibility. When that is shredded, there's no way to rebuild it... This is an outstanding case where three of the major newspapers in the country decided to take out somebody, a competitor whose mistakes seem by any measure to be very minor."

Pincus eventually admitted that he had carried out covert operations for the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s. However, he denied being a CIA asset later in his career. On 31st July, 1996, The Washington Post claimed that "some in the agency refer to (Pincus) as the CIA's house reporter." In 2002 Pincus won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

According to an interview Pincus gave to Nick Schou (Kill The Messenger), the most important legacy of Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance was that it "encouraged the CIA to be less aggressive in its efforts against Islamic terrorism, which helped enable Osama bin Laden's 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Pincus also became involved in the Valerie Plame case. In October, 2003 he wrote an article where he claimed Plame worked for the CIA and had been responsible for sending her husband, Joe Wilson, to investigate reports that Iraq's government had tried to buy uranium in Niger.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald issued a grand jury subpoena to Pincus on August 9, 2004, in an attempt to discover the identity of the government official who told him about Plame and Wilson. Pincus gave a deposition to Fitzgerald on 15th September. Afterwards he issued a public statement that claimed that Fitzgerald had dropped his demand that he should reveal his source. However, it is generally believed that his source was Richard L. Armitage.

The social connections with journalists were a crucial part of the CIA's propaganda machine. Chief among CIA friends were the Alsop brothers. Joseph Alsop wrote a column with his brother Stewart for the New York Herald Tribune and they occasionally penned articles at the suggestion of Frank Wisner, based upon classified information leaked to them. In exchange, they provided CIA friends with observations gathered on trips abroad. Such give-and-take was not unusual among the Georgetown set in the 1950s. The CIA also made friends with Washington Post publisher Phil Graham, Post managing editor Alfred Friendly, and New York Times Washington bureau chief James Reston, whose next-door neighbor was Frank Wisner. Ben Bradlee, while working for the State Department as a press attache in the American embassy in Paris, produced propaganda regarding the Rosenbergs' spying conviction and death sentence in cooperation with the CIA... Some newspaper executives - Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, among them - actually signed secrecy agreements with the CIA...

When Carl Bernstein reported that one CIA official had called Stewart Alsop a CIA agent, Joe Alsop defended his brother to Bernstein, saying: "I dare say he did perform some tasks-he just did the correct things as an American.... The Founding Fathers (of the CIA) were close personal friends of ours.... It was a social thing, my dear fellow."

Cord Meyer developed and nurtured his own friendships among journalists. He seconded the nomination of Washington Post writer Walter Pincus for membership in the Waltz Group, a Washington social organization. Pincus went on to become the Post's premier intelligence reporter. Cord also maintained friendly ties with William C. Baggs of the Miami News and foreign-affairs writer Herb Gold. Cord's ties to academia served him when he needed favors from publishers and journalists. In some accounts, he and Time writer C. D. Jackson together recruited Steinem. According to his journal, Cord dined at the Paris home of American novelist James Jones. He was also close to Chattanooga Times writer Charles Bartlett throughout his life.

According to his Who's Who entry, Alfred Friendly was a Post reporter while also serving in Air Force intelligence during World War II and as director of overseas information for the Economic Cooperation Administration from 1948-49. Joseph B. Smith (Portrait of a Cold Warrior) reports that the ECA routinely provided cover for the CIA. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were set up by the CIA and John S. Hayes was their chairman by 1974. Years earlier when Hayes was vice-president for radio and television at the Post, he was appointed by Kennedy to a secret CIA propaganda task force. Friendly left the Post soon after Bradlee came on board, and Hayes left when Johnson appointed him ambassador to Switzerland in 1966.

But poor Bradlee claims he didn't know that Cord Meyer was a globetrotting CIA destabilizer in the fifties, just as he knew nothing about CIA links when he took time off from the Post to work as a propagandist for the U.S. embassy in Paris from 1951-53. Deborah Davis includes in her book a memo released under the FOIA that shows Bradlee responding to a request from the CIA station chief in Paris, Robert Thayer. His assignment was to place stories in the European press to discredit the Rosenbergs, who had been sentenced to death, and Bradlee followed orders.

Benjamin Bradlee: from Post reporter to embassy propagandist, then on to Newsweek and back to the Post as executive editor, without breaking stride. The point of Davis' book is that this pattern is repeated again and again in Post history; she calls it "mediapolitics" - the use of information media for political purposes. Robert Thayer's status as CIA station chief in Paris is confirmed in Richard Harris Smith's book OSS. While in Paris, Bradlee already knew Thayer, having attended the preparatory school Thayer ran while Robert Jr. was his classmate. Bradlee categorically denies any CIA connection, but it's a toss-up as to which is more disturbing: Bradlee in bed with the CIA and lying about it, or Bradlee led around by the CIA and not knowing it.

Unlike Bradlee, Katharine does not seem as sophisticated or conniving; she was apparently completely sucked in by such charmers as Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, and even Henry Kissinger, who took her to the movies. She supported Nixon in 1968 and 1972, changed her mind about him later, but has yet to waver from the anti-Communism that kept the Post from criticizing US policy in Vietnam. Her idea of an awkward situation is asking Nixon for National Guard protection during anti-Vietnam demonstrations in Washington; Lyndon never made her ask. The demonstrators had to be duped -- after all, she had taken the time to get her facts straight with a trip to Vietnam in 1965, where she shopped for blue and white china, and had access to all the assorted power brokers and opinion makers who showed up at the 1966 masked ball that Truman Capote gave for her. Between Bradlee and Katharine, with journalism such as this it's a wonder that the Vietnamese people survived.

The elitist conservatism and intelligence connections of the Post are as important today as they ever were; Katharine and Bradlee are still in control. Davis could have remarked on the current New Right editorial line in the Post, or added the fact that former editorial page editor (1968-79) Philip Geyelin joined the CIA for a year in 1950, while on leave from the Wall Street Journal, but found the work boring and went back to the Journal. And she also doesn't mention that Walter Pincus, a Post reporter who still covers intelligence issues, took two CIA-financed trips overseas to international student conferences in 1960, and waited to write about them until 1967 when reporters everywhere were exposing CIA conduits. Informed readers of Geyelin (who stills does a column) and Pincus can learn much from they way these writers filter history. This may qualify them as good journalists among their colleagues, but for the unwitting masses it simply amounts to more disinformation.

The CIA connections that Davis does mention are dynamite. The issue is relevant today because frequently the D.C. reader has to pick up the Washington Times to get information on the CIA the Post refuses to print. For example, while almost every major newspaper in the country, as well as CBS News and ABC News, use the real name of former CIA Costa Rican station chief "Tomas Castillo," the Post, as of late June, continues to gloat over their use of the pseudonym only. This is probably Bradlee's decision, not Katharine's, because Newsweek let former Associated Press reporter Robert Parry use Castillo's real name (Joseph F. Fernandez, age 50) when Parry joined the magazine earlier this year. According to Davis, Katharine doesn't make editorial decisions these days unless they threaten the health of the company.

The question, then, becomes one of myth-management, and attempting to discern why the Post enjoys such a liberal reputation in spite of its record. Once you redefine liberalism as something slightly closer to the center than the New Right, it means that "genuine" liberalism (if such a thing was ever important) is stranded and soon becomes extinct. Add to this the fact that US liberalism since World War II, whether "genuine" or contemporary, has a record on foreign policy that would make Teddy Roosevelt proud. That leaves two media events to explain the Post puzzle: the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. Forget the first event, because the Post was merely trying to keep up with the New York Times so as not to lose face. Besides, they didn't make a movie about it.

Watergate and the Post, the stuff of great drama. Much has been written already about the probability that Nixon was set up. McCord as a double agent has been covered neatly in Carl Oglesby's Yankee and Cowboy War, Bob Woodward's previous employment with a Pentagon intelligence unit was mentioned in Jim Hougan's Secret Agenda, and the motive -- that Nixon was losing perspective and becoming a threat to those who were still able to see their long-range interests clearly -- is evident after reading Seymour Hersh's The Politics of Power.

If you put it all together and summarize it in the context of Deep Throat and the Post, along with Bradlee's CIA sympathies, you must agree with Davis that Nixon wasn't the only one set up; Deep Throat led the Post by the nose. Whether they knew it or not, whether they cared or not assuming that they knew, and whether or not a noble end can justify shabby means -- all this pales next to Davis' main point. That point is this: the Post, whose history of journalism by manipulation helped create the conditions that led to Vietnam, the demonstrations, and the psychosis of Nixon, ended up using or responding to these same manipulative methods to avoid political obsolescence, and somehow it worked.

Davis identifies Deep Throat as Richard Ober, the chief of the CIA's domestic spying program called Operation CHAOS. The evidence is circumstantial and her sources remain anonymous. According to Davis, Kissinger moved Angleton into the White House and set him up with his own Israeli intelligence desk in 1969. This sounds like vintage Kissinger as he acts swiftly to capture the foreign policy apparatus, but it's the first I've heard that Angleton, who thought the Sino-Soviet split was a ruse designed to catch the West napping, was on any sort of terms with the China-hopping, detente-talking Kissinger.

Davis writes that Angleton's deputy Ober was also given a White House office, and after the Pentagon Papers were published Ober had privileged access to Nixon and was able to observe his deterioration. Again, this is news to me. If Davis is correct, it means Angleton and Ober were running Operation CHAOS out of the White House, Nixon knew about it while Kissinger didn't, but both Kissinger and Nixon were deeply suspicious of the CIA and felt it necessary to start up the Huston Plan to cover the CIA's shortcomings in domestic intelligence. At least the book includes a photograph of Ober -- the first one I've seen. Davis makes more sense than some of the Watergate theories that have kicked around in past years, but this is still the most speculative portion of her book.

Part of the Post success story has to do with sheer wealth. As one of the world's richest women, Graham has the empire backed up with many millions, which guarantees continued access to privilege and power. Another part is an ability to play dirty. Katharine Graham, who became one of Washington's most notorious union-busters in the name of a free press, used her "soft cop" with Bradlee's "hard cop" to insure that William Jovanovich, who published the first edition of this book in 1979, was bullied into recalling 20,000 copies because of minor inaccuracies alleged by Bradlee. Jovanovich made no effort to check Bradlee's allegations. Deborah Davis filed a breach-of- contract and damage-to-reputation suit against Jovanovich, who settled out of court with her in 1983.

The entire saga of Katharine the Great is a sobering antidote to the intoxication I felt when All the President's Men first played. A myth has been more than punctured; Davis bludgeons it mercilessly -- yet in a manner that shows far more journalistic integrity than one can expect from the Post or from Jovanovich. This bludgeoning was overdue for eight years, delayed by exactly the sort of Washington hardball that Davis exposes. Indeed, there can be no more eloquent testimony to the substantive nature of Davis' material than the sound that those 20,000 copies must have made as they, at the behest of Post power, went through a shredding machine.

Battle Pincus, John Kessinger III

Cornelia Battle Terry Pincus, the daughter of Ann Terry Pincus and Walter Pincus of Washington, was married in Baltimore on Tuesday to John Ross Kessinger III, the son of Barbara Kessinger and Mr. Kessinger Jr. of Williamstown, Mass. John F. Wankmiller, a deputy clerk of the Baltimore Circuit Court, officiated at the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. On Saturday Chris Hedges, a friend of the bride’s family, led a ceremony at the Evermay Society in Washington that incorporated Jewish, Buddhist and other religious and philosophical elements.

Ms. Pincus, 38, is keeping her name. Until last month, she was the director of community outreach at the Hampstead Hill Academy, a public charter school for elementary and middle school students in Baltimore. A graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio, the bride has two master’s degrees, one in education from DePaul and the other in public policy from Johns Hopkins.

Her father is a reporter for The Washington Post, where he specializes in national security. Her mother, who was the director of research for the United States Information Agency and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence Research in the Clinton administration, is now a public affairs consultant in Washington.

Mr. Kessinger, 41, teaches history to upper school students at the Park School in Brooklandville, Md. He also coaches the cross country track teams. He graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and received a master’s in European history from American University.

His mother retired as the office manager of a general surgery practice in Brattleboro, Vt. His father, also retired, worked in Westfield, Mass., as the business manager for the New England region of Agway, the agricultural and garden supply company.

Interview With Walter Pincus On The State Of The Press

Walter Pincus, the most senior reporter in the Washington Post newsroom, has at age 75 recently emerged as a leading critic of journalistic passivity and inaction -- stances often justified by claims of 'neutrality.'

"Every time we decide to cover some things and not cover something else, we're taking a position," says Pincus, who has expanded his argument in a number of articles.

Pincus, the recipient of numerous honors -- from the Pulitzer Prize to the George Polk Award -- saw his stock rise even further in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, as the claims of the Bush administration alleging Iraqi possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction were steadily proven to be false.

In an August 12, 2004 Washington Post "mea culpa" story describing the paper's failures in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, media reporter Howie Kurtz wrote:

No Post reporter burrowed into the Iraqi WMD story more deeply than Pincus, 71, a staff member for 32 of the last 38 years, whose messy desk is always piled high with committee reports and intelligence files. "The main thing people forget to do is read documents," said Pincus, wielding a yellow highlighter.

A white-haired curmudgeon who spent five years covering the Iran-contra scandal and who has long been an expert on nuclear weapons, Pincus sometimes had trouble convincing editors of the importance of his incremental, difficult-to-read stories.

His longevity is such that he first met Hans Blix, who was the chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, at a conference in Ghana in 1959.

The inspectors kept getting fed intelligence by our administration and the British and the French, and kept coming back and saying they couldn't find" the weapons, Pincus said. "I did one of the first interviews with Blix, and like everyone else he thought there would be WMDs. By January and February [of 2003], he was starting to have his own doubts. . . . What nobody talked about was how much had been destroyed," either under U.N. supervision after the Persian Gulf War or during the Clinton administration's 1998 bombing of Iraqi targets.

Throughout 2002 and 2003, according to Kurtz, Pincus had to cope with attempts by editors at the Post to downgrade his articles. His stories were described as too "incremental," or "difficult to edit." He was criticized as a "crusader." Editors claimed his stories were hard to "verify."

As his work on WMD, often played in the back end of the A section, has been vindicated, Pincus has taken up the broader issues of journalistic responsibility and the larger role of the media in public policy.

In an article titled "The Power of the Pen A Call For Journalistic Courage" published in Frank , a magazine put out by the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, Pincus wrote:

If a vote were taken among editors of the major daily newspapers, the vice presidents of network news divisions, television and radio anchors, and I hate to say, probably even most younger print and electronic reporters, the result would be that few to none want or believe they have the right to shape government actions. . . . I believe this failure is a threat to our democracy and a poor example for the rest of the world, where we supposedly are spreading the need for a free press. This is my romantic and unfashionable view of journalism, but it is the one that caused many of us to take up the profession in the first place.

While seeking to "be neutral, unbiased and objective, presenting both or all sides as if they were on the sidelines refereeing a game," the print and electronic media have relegated themselves to the role of "common carriers, transmitters of other people's ideas and thoughts, irrespective of import, relevance and at times even accuracy," Pincus contends.

At this stage, Pincus suggests, a relatively simple courageous act for the media would be to stop printing non-news:

"A new element of courage in journalism would be for editors and reporters to decide not to cover the president's statements when he or she--or any public figure--repeats essentially what he or she has said before. Journalistic courage should also include the decision not to publish in a newspaper or carry on a television or radio news show any statements made by government officials that are designed solely as a public relations tool, offering no new or valuable information to the public."

This falls far short of Pincus' belief that the media should be the "fourth branch of government."

Pincus notes that such earlier publishers as Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, and Philip Graham of The Washington Post "all used their presses to influence government, but that is what the founding fathers contemplated when they wrote the First Amendment. Pamphleteers, newspaper editors and writers of all kinds could have their say, and citizens were to weigh all opinions and facts as presented and make up their own minds."

This tradition began to die, according to Pincus, in the 1960s, when public corporations began buying up locally-owned newspapers, placing a higher value on returns to shareholders than on the quality of the product.

Simultaneously, in the late-1960s and early-1970s, "starting sometime in the Nixon administration, probably with Vice President Spiro Agnew's attacks on the liberal press, newspapers began pulling back. Publishers and editors began to worry more about critics, who for their own either biased or political reasons disagreed with what they read."

Once the media was on the defensive and increasingly anxious over the bottom line, politicians, particularly conservative politicians and operatives, realized that instead of battling a hostile fourth estate, they could aggressively manipulate coverage. Pincus wrote in Frank that:

At the beginning of the Reagan administration, Michael Deaver--one of the great public-relations men of our time--began using early morning 'tech' sessions at the White House to alert television producers as to when and where the president would appear each day. He turned that meeting into an initial shaping of the news stories for that evening. For example, he would say something on the order of, 'President Reagan will appear in the Rose Garden to talk about his crime-prevention program and will discuss it in terms of Chicago and San Francisco.' This would allow networks to shoot footage in those two cities so there would be pictures other than the president speaking when the story aired on the evening news.

This system reached its apex . . . .when the White House started to give 'exclusives'--stories that found their way to the front page of the daily newspapers--in which readers learned that during the coming week President George W. Bush would do a series of four speeches supporting his Iraq policy, because his poll numbers were down. Such stories were often attributed to unnamed "senior administration officials." Lo and behold, the next week those same news outlets, and most others, carried each of the four speeches, in which Bush essentially repeated what he's been saying for two years."

Pincus' primary concerns stand in contrast to those voiced by Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie.

In an interview published by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1998, Downie talked about his worry over reporters' political neutrality, reflecting his anxiety that journalists' political convictions might influence their reporting:

I have not voted since becoming managing editor in 1984 because, as the final gatekeeper for all coverage in the Post, I do not want to make up my mind, even in the voting booth, about candidates or issues. I would be pleased if none of our political reporters or editors voted, but it would be unreasonable to ask for that (and I remain the final gatekeeper for all they do). We prohibit all staff members from engaging in any political activity except voting.

In the following interview Pincus is less anxious about journalists' voting, and more concerned about the present focus of media executives on the bottom line:

"I don't know what will bring back the media to play their full role, other than new owners, editors and reporters who see their newspapers, magazines, or radio and television properties as more than merely a way to gain notoriety and make money."

Walter Pincus Interview - March 20, 2008 [edited]

EDSALL: In retrospect how would you evaluate the Washington Post's role in the lead-up and immediate beginning of the war, and your role?

PINCUS: Like most media, the Post believed the threat and reported the story that way. This administration was very clever in the way they promoted it. And one of the things I think people forget about, that played a role, was that the media was [taken with] the 'embedding' idea. [An embedded reporter is "a journalist traveling with troops and reporting from the battlefield. The 2003 Iraq war was the first time embeds were used. Pros: unprecedented media access to the front. Cons: lack of distance and independence between reporters and their protectors. Most papers and wires, beginning in the fall, detached reporters to go off and train with the military in units, so that we all had reporters -- some of us had reporters from Kuwait waiting for the invasion -- with units. And a lot of them were people who had never been in the military. So it seemed like a great adventure.

EDSALL: Did that, in effect, undermine the independent reporting process?

PINCUS: I think it played a role, yeah.

EDSALL: So embedding was one problem. But you and Tom Ricks and Joby Warrick [Ricks and Warrick are Washington Post reporters] also wrote significant stories which did not involve travel with the troops, and those stories were at times underplayed or killed altogether?

PINCUS: Page one decisions are made for a whole bunch of different reasons. I was just happy to get them [my stories] in the paper.

EDSALL: Don't you think if you have a major story that -- if it ends up on page A17, that in fact it makes it look like the Post is not really confident in the story, if it is a major story that should be on the front page?

PINCUS: Well, putting things on the front page is a statement about how important the editors feel that story is, yeah, there's no doubt about that.

EDSALL: Have you -- are there any precedents at the Post where there were similar circumstances that were handled in the same way or in different ways?

PINCUS: Well, we've all, you know, been around when we had a big story that we thought was important that didn't get on the front page, and clearly I've been around and so have you, and we've had stories we thought were important that got on the front page and made a difference. I mean, the neutron bomb story for me was always a big gamble at the Post, because we ran it on the front page for two or three days before anybody ever picked it up.

EDSALL: And that had major policy consequences, right?

EDSALL: And if it had not run on the front page it probably would not have had the policy consequences?

PINCUS: Well, it all depends on who picks it up. There is a lot of timing that goes on to these kinds of stories, as you know. Depends on what the news cycle is, it depends if other people pick it up. Depends if people in Congress pick it up. And then these kind of stories, you know, enterprise stories have legs. . . . . With the neutron bomb, nobody else was writing about it. It was a new subject. Everybody was writing about the Iraq war.

EDSALL: You mean they were working on the assumption that the war was coming no matter what?

PINCUS: Oh, yeah, everybody knew. The administration was quite open about it, it was really just a matter of when, and they got the U.N. trying to get a second resolution, and they [the administration] made it clear that they were gonna go even without it.

EDSALL: Do you think the media itself was, in a sense, "under attack" with the mailed anthrax immediately after 9/11 ? Did that create a queasiness in the press about declaring definitively that Iraqi WMD were not a threat to the US -- after the photo editor of the National Enquirer died, where there were four or five associated deaths among postal workers, where anthrax was found in the ABC newsroom, in the Senate Office Buildings, and where Judy Miller of the New York Times claimed anthrax in the newsroom there?

PINCUS: The anthrax scare may have had an effect on some people. It certainly could have played a part in going along with the idea that Saddam Hussein had anthrax -- a main theme in Judy Miller's book. But for a time everyone thought Saddam had some WMD. It wasn't until Blix began his on-site inspections --using what was supposed to be good intelligence from us, the Brits, Germans and French, and repeatedly found nothing --that he began to have doubts. I interviewed him after he got word he was going back in, in October 2002, and he was pretty sure stuff was there. But by late January 03 and February he began to have real doubts. I think we put in that pre-screen mail system rather quickly [reporters at the Washington Post and other papers were required to wear protective gear when opening mail]. But I think the combination of the irrationality of the 9/11 attack, along with the sense of random vulnerability to terrorism, heightened the individual fear in this country. It also was not helped by the whole gas mask, tape up your windows and 'more strikes could be on the way' drumbeat by the administration that led a lot of people, including reporters, to fear a new attack was coming. Remember, we are a generation away from any younger people having been in military service, and few of them, unlike us, ever spent time covering police or going out on weekend nights with police patrols to get stories. In short it is a generation that had never been exposed to personal danger or even fear, though they love to watch bloody movies.

EDSALL: In retrospect is there a different approach that the Post could have taken and should have taken? I mean, should there be a more built-in process of skepticism and willingness to write skeptical stories?

PINCUS: Well, making speeches now is kind of silly, but when the administration, two and three times a day, starting with the President talking about the threat, the danger, the need to take action, and everybody reporting what he says -- it just overwhelmed people.

EDSALL: But isn't that the juncture when a newspaper should exercise its own independent means of evaluating what the President and other war supporters are saying?

PINCUS: Courage to me is not printing what the President says when he has been saying the same thing day after day. And he's saying it so it will be printed, not because it's news. It's not news that the President thinks we're winning in Iraq, but the fact that you're printing it every day makes the public at large really sort of believe the President and begin to think maybe we are.

EDSALL: So at that juncture, when the president is simply repeating himself, what is the function of a newspaper?

PINCUS: I guess you don't print it.

EDSALL: What do you do instead?

PINCUS: You ought to have your own agenda. We had no problem printing Walter Reed [the prize-winning Washington Post expose of substandard conditions for wounded Iraq war veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.] because it was something so outrageous. Walter Reed is a metaphor. Walter Reed is a metaphor to show this administration talks about how important the war is, et cetera, et cetera, but here's an illustration, at Walter Reed they don't take care of the people that got hurt. I mean, I've got a story going now about refugees. There are four and a half million refugees and the President doesn't talk about it because it undermines the idea that we've freed this country.

EDSALL: So that is the kind of juncture where the paper should be forcing that issue.

PINCUS: Yeah. And then Cheney goes over and talks about how well we're doing. And we reported all that. But he didn't talk about refugees. And they're clearly our responsibility.

EDSALL: You said the Nieman article "Fighting Back Against the PR Presidency" got you in trouble.

PINCUS: Well, originally, yeah. I mean, not trouble. This is just this whole long thing that I've always had running. You're not supposed to be an advocate. But otherwise why have a paper? That's why you have the 1st Amendment. That's why the press is free to print anything it wants.

EDSALL: So in effect you got in trouble for saying that the paper does advocate and should advocate?

PINCUS: Should advocate, yeah.

EDSALL: I mean -- when I got into journalism a long time ago, I think the idea was for reporters to attempt, in breaking stories, to affect the [political and policy] agenda.

PINCUS: Yeah. I think this is generational. I mean, you may know better than I, but -- and that's why we all went into it.

EDSALL: What do you think happened, when you say it's generational?

PINCUS: Well, in order to make a living you had to, you know, work at a paper and write for magazines. Pay was nowhere. Now it's a very comfortable living. People have married each other and they live in the suburbs and there's no heavy lifting. And very few papers can afford to do [major projects and in-depth reporting.] The Post and the Times and to some degree the Wall Street Journal do, and they have been able to turn people loose on their own agendas.

EDSALL: But are you saying in this new generation of reporters, there is much more a sense of the need for personal comfort and less interest in expressing outrage or whatever --

[Less interest in what is now called "crusading"?]

PINCUS: Well, there's more interest in expressing outrage on personal matters, you know -- Clinton's activities with Monica, Spitzer and call girls. Everybody's against that [kind of behavior.] That's easy. But those aren't policy issues. And I think it's just not the Post, I think it's everybody. I also think -- I mean, the Post and the Times to give them credit, do some good work. That's why I go back to Walter Reed. Nobody else did it.

PINCUS: And so the Post still does those things. The issue is I think what administrations have learned -- and this one is just the most sophisticated--how to keep journalists in general busy covering statements and press conferences, and how to sell their story. And they know there's more news than any paper can cover -- 35 hearings on the Hill, and you know, 10 speeches and 4 reports, at a time when most newspapers don't have enough people to cover a third of what goes on.

EDSALL: Do you think things in the press are just going to get worse?

PINCUS: Well, I was hoping they were gonna get better. A big problem is the corporatization of the news business. And the dropping off of locally-owned, family-owned newspapers. The whole history of the American newspaper is that people in cities and towns across the country had locally-owned papers, usually started by businessmen who were successful in something else and wanted to be involved in public life. So they bought a press, and that's really why you got the First Amendment in the first place. Newspapers were owned by people who were in the business to have an impact on their town, or city or state. Knight Ridder makes 14% on their gross and gets sold because they're not producing. What has the First Amendment come to stand for? Now it stands for making money.

For an article by Jay Rosen in the Huffington Post on March 17, 2008 about Walter Pincus and his role in the WMD controversy click here.

To view Walter Pincus' first key article on WMD published March 16, 2003, on page A 17 of the Washington Post, "US Lacks Specifics on Banned Arms," click here.


The Real McCoys concerns the lives of a family originally from the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, from a fictional place named Smokey Corners. They relocated to California to live and work on a farm they inherited from a relative. They consist of Grandpa Amos McCoy (Walter Brennan), his grandson Luke (Richard Crenna) Luke's new wife Kate (Kathleen Nolan) Luke's teenage sister Tallahassie "Hassie" (Lydia Reed) and his 11-year-old brother "Little Luke" (Michael Winkelman). The double-naming of the brothers is explained in the first full episode ("Californy, Here We Come"), when the elder Luke introduces Little Luke to Pepino Garcia (Tony Martinez) and says, "Well, you see, in the excitement of having him, Ma and Pa plum forgot they already had me." [1] Only Crenna appeared in all 225 episodes.

The McCoys' farm was previously owned by an uncle, Ben McCoy, who died. The former West Virginians join the Grange farm association, and hire Pepino when he informs them he was Ben's foreman. In the episode broadcast January 8, 1962, Pepino becomes an American citizen and assumes the surname "McCoy." The McMichaels, a brother and sister played by Andy Clyde and Madge Blake in twenty-nine and twenty-one episodes respectively, lived on the hill not far from the McCoys. Amos McCoy and George McMichael, both mischievous, crotchety old men, sometimes quarreled, often about their games of checkers and horseshoes. Kate is friendly with the much older Flora McMichael, George's sister, and becomes involved with life in the community.

Though still in her twenties of age, Kate serves as a mother figure for Luke's younger siblings, Hassie and Little Luke. One episode shows her bewilderment in trying to entice the children to take responsibility for their school studies. Many episodes have a moral theme consistent with the conservative opinions of Walter Brennan, such as two 1957 segments entitled "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" with Joseph Kearns, later of the television series Dennis the Menace, and "Gambling Is a Sin", in which Amos allows a casino to advertise on McCoy property before the ethics of the matter is brought to his attention. [2] Other such episodes are "Go Fight City Hall", "The Taxman Cometh", "You Can't Always Be a Hero", "You Never Get Too Old", "Where There's a Will", "Beware a Smart Woman", "Money in the Bank", "How to Win Friends", "You're as Young as You Feel", "Honesty Is the Best Policy", and "Never a Lender Be". [3]

Perhaps one of the more memorable episodes, "The New Well" (October 30, 1958), contrasts science with folklore when Grandpa's divining rod proves superior to the paid recommendation of a geologist, played by Joe Flynn, in locating a new water source on the farm. [4] In the 1958 episode "It Pays to Be Poor", John Dehner plays Roger Brewster, a hard-edged New York City businessman determined to buy the McCoy farm to use it as the site of a motel but encouraged by his kindly wife (Dorothy Green), he soon develops an unexpected appreciation for the fundamental values and personal benefits of rural living. [5]

In "Little Luke's Education" (February 6, 1958), Amos confronts bigotry among the local children against hillbilly peoples such as the McCoys. In "Grampa's Private War" (February 12, 1959), Amos gets so enthusiastic with patriotic fervor that he claims to have fought as a soldier commanded by Theodore Roosevelt in the Spanish–American War, but Walter Brennan was four years old when that war was fought during 1898. Then Amos is invited to speak at a Veterans Day ceremony. [3]

Jon Lormer was cast seven times as an actor for The Real McCoys during 1959 and 1960, six as the character Sam Watkins. Joan Blondell appeared three times near the end of the series as Aunt Win. Marjorie Bennett was cast three times as Amanda Comstock. Pat Buttram and Howard McNear also appeared three times they were subsequently cast as Eustace Haney on CBS's Green Acres and as Floyd the Barber on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show. Olin Howland and Willard Waterman appeared five times each as Charley Perkins and Mac Maginnis, respectively. [3]

Early in the series, Charles Lane, who often appeared in a character role on I Love Lucy, was cast twice as Harry Poulson, a fast-talking egg salesman Hassie McCoy has an interest in Harry's son. During 1963, Jack Oakie appeared three times in the role of Uncle Rightly. Dick Elliott was cast twice as Doc Thornton, and Lurene Tuttle appeared twice as Gladys Purvis, the widowed mother of series character Kate McCoy, with Jay Novello in one of those appearances as Gladys' intended second husband, a retired photographer from Fresno. [3]

Malcolm Cassell appeared several times as Hassie McCoy's boyfriend, Tommy. Edward Everett Horton (the narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales) played J. Luther Medwick, the grandfather of Hassie's other boyfriend, Jerry Medwick and Amos soon clash. Verna Felton, a member of the December Bride cast, appeared once as Cousin Naomi Vesper. Jesse White, known later as the actor portraying a Maytag repairman for television commercials and subsequently a cast member of CBS's The Ann Sothern Show, portrayed a used car salesman named "San Fernando Harry" who clashes with Amos McCoy in "The New Car" (October 2, 1958). On June 1, 1961, Amos, Luke, and Kate return to West Virginia for the 100th-birthday gathering of "Grandmother McCoy", played by Jane Darwell. In one episode, Lee Van Cleef played a sentry in another Tom Skerritt appeared as a letter carrier. [3]

The episode "The Tycoon" (August 30, 1960) four years later coincidentally became the title of Brennan's next ABC sitcom, The Tycoon, with his co-actor Van Williams. [3] Barbara Stanwyck made a cameo appearance in the 1959 episode, "The McCoys Go To Hollywood", which also features Dorothy Provine, and a glimpse of the Desilu Studios, where the series was filmed. In 1961, Fay Wray is featured in the episode "Theatre in the Barn", as herself. She volunteers to direct a local amateur production to raise money for the Grange. [ citation needed ]

Just before The Real McCoys ended as an ABC series, Nolan quit the series due to a contract dispute and was written out of the remaining scripts: her character of Kate died, but details were never given. Hassie left home to attend college, and Little Luke joined the United States Army for the final season she appeared only in the first episode—he never did. Amos McCoy did not appear in many episodes. Luke was a widower, and many of the stories concerned Grandpa trying to find him a new wife. This nearly succeeded when Luke met Louise Howard, portrayed by Janet De Gore, a widow with a young son, Greg, played by Butch Patrick, later of CBS's series The Munsters.

Series overview Edit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
139October 3, 1957 ( 1957-10-03 ) June 26, 1958 ( 1958-06-26 )
239October 2, 1958 ( 1958-10-02 ) June 25, 1959 ( 1959-06-25 )
329July 16, 1959 ( 1959-07-16 ) March 17, 1960 ( 1960-03-17 )
439August 4, 1960 ( 1960-08-04 ) May 25, 1961 ( 1961-05-25 )
539July 27, 1961 ( 1961-07-27 ) May 10, 1962 ( 1962-05-10 )
640September 30, 1962 ( 1962-09-30 ) 1963 ( 1963 )

Season 1 (1957–58) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Californy, Here We Come"Sheldon LeonardBill ManhoffOctober 3, 1957 ( 1957-10-03 )
22"The Egg War"Sheldon LeonardBill ManhoffOctober 10, 1957 ( 1957-10-10 )
33"Kate's Dress"Sheldon LeonardJack Elinson & Charles StewartOctober 17, 1957 ( 1957-10-17 )
44"Grampa Sells His Gun"Hy AverbackBill Manhoff & Leonard BurnsOctober 24, 1957 ( 1957-10-24 )
55"A Question of Discipline"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartOctober 31, 1957 ( 1957-10-31 )
66"You Can't Cheat an Honest Man"Sheldon LeonardJack Elinson & Charles StewartNovember 7, 1957 ( 1957-11-07 )
77"Luke Gets His Freedom"Sheldon LeonardHenry Sharp & Bill ManhoffNovember 14, 1957 ( 1957-11-14 )
88"Grampa's Date"Sheldon LeonardBill ManhoffNovember 21, 1957 ( 1957-11-21 )
99"The Fishing Contest"Hy AverbackPaul Henning & Dick WessonNovember 28, 1957 ( 1957-11-28 )
1010"It's a Woman's World"Hy AverbackStory by : Irving Pincus
Teleplay by : Bill Manhoff
December 5, 1957 ( 1957-12-05 )
1111"The Bigger They Are"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartDecember 12, 1957 ( 1957-12-12 )
1212"Gambling is a Sin"Hy AverbackBill Davenport & Jim FritzellDecember 19, 1957 ( 1957-12-19 )
1313"Let's Be Buddies"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartDecember 26, 1957 ( 1957-12-26 )
1414"Grampa and the Driver's License"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffJanuary 2, 1958 ( 1958-01-02 )
1515"The Lady's Man"Hy AverbackBill Davenport & Jim FritzellJanuary 9, 1958 ( 1958-01-09 )
1616"Luke's Mother-in-Law"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffJanuary 16, 1958 ( 1958-01-16 )
1717"The Matchmaker"Hy AverbackArthur DalesJanuary 23, 1958 ( 1958-01-23 )
1818"The Goodys Come to Town"Hy AverbackBill Manhoff & Leonard BurnsJanuary 30, 1958 ( 1958-01-30 )
1919"Little Luke's Education"Hy AverbackBill Manhoff & Leonard BurnsFebruary 6, 1958 ( 1958-02-06 )
2020"Time to Retire"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartFebruary 13, 1958 ( 1958-02-13 )
2121"Grampa's Proposal"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartFebruary 20, 1958 ( 1958-02-20 )
2222"The Honeymoon"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartFebruary 27, 1958 ( 1958-02-27 )
2323"Once There Was a Traveling Saleswoman"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffMarch 6, 1958 ( 1958-03-06 )
2424"My Favorite Uncle"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartMarch 13, 1958 ( 1958-03-13 )
2525"Grampa's Birthday"Hy AverbackArthur DalesMarch 20, 1958 ( 1958-03-20 )
2626"New Doctor in Town"Hy AverbackBob O'Brien & Irving ElinsonMarch 27, 1958 ( 1958-03-27 )
2727"For Love or Money"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffApril 3, 1958 ( 1958-04-03 )
2828"Kate's Career"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles Stewart & Irving ElinsonApril 10, 1958 ( 1958-04-10 )
2929"When a Fellow Needs a Friend"Hy AverbackDavid Adler & Henry SharpApril 17, 1958 ( 1958-04-17 )
3030"It Pays to Be Poor"Hy AverbackHenry Sharp & Bill ManhoffApril 24, 1958 ( 1958-04-24 )
3131"The Life of the Party"Hy AverbackCharles Stewart & Jack Elinson & Irving ElinsonMay 1, 1958 ( 1958-05-01 )
3232"Three is a Crowd"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffMay 8, 1958 ( 1958-05-08 )
3333"The New Look"Hy AverbackWilliam Cowley & Peggy Chantler DickMay 15, 1958 ( 1958-05-15 )
3434"Volunteer Fire Department"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartMay 22, 1958 ( 1958-05-22 )
3535"You Can't Always Be a Hero"Hy AverbackHenry Sharp & David AdlerMay 29, 1958 ( 1958-05-29 )
3636"The Homely Boy"Hy AverbackPaul West & Irving ElinsonJune 5, 1958 ( 1958-06-05 )
3737"Her Flaming Youth"Hy AverbackCharles Stewart & Jack ElinsonJune 12, 1958 ( 1958-06-12 )
3838"The Corn Eating Contest"Hy AverbackGeorge W. George & Judy GeorgeJune 19, 1958 ( 1958-06-19 )
3939"You're Never Too Old"Hy AverbackNate Monaster & Arthur AlsbergJune 26, 1958 ( 1958-06-26 )

Season 2 (1958–59) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
401"The New Car"Hy AverbackStanley Shapiro & Maurice RichlinOctober 2, 1958 ( 1958-10-02 )
412"Grandpa Learns About Teenagers"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartOctober 9, 1958 ( 1958-10-09 )
423"Blow the House Down"Hy AverbackJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenOctober 16, 1958 ( 1958-10-16 )
434"The Dancin' Fool"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffOctober 23, 1958 ( 1958-10-23 )
445"The New Well"Hy AverbackStanley Shapiro & Maurice RichlinOctober 30, 1958 ( 1958-10-30 )
456"The New Dog"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffNovember 6, 1958 ( 1958-11-06 )
467"Sing for Your Supper"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartNovember 13, 1958 ( 1958-11-13 )
478"Do You Kiss Your Wife?"Hy AverbackBill Davenport & Arthur JulianNovember 20, 1958 ( 1958-11-20 )
489"The Perfect Swine"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumNovember 27, 1958 ( 1958-11-27 )
4910"Leave It to the Girls"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartDecember 4, 1958 ( 1958-12-04 )
5011"The Gift"Hy AverbackJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenDecember 11, 1958 ( 1958-12-11 )
5112"The New Hired Hand"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartDecember 18, 1958 ( 1958-12-18 )
5213"The New Neighbors"Hy AverbackPaul West & Irving ElinsonDecember 25, 1958 ( 1958-12-25 )
5314"Luke Gets a Job"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartJanuary 1, 1959 ( 1959-01-01 )
5415"The McCoys Visit Hollywood"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartJanuary 8, 1959 ( 1959-01-08 )
5516"The Bank Loan"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumJanuary 15, 1959 ( 1959-01-15 )
5617"The Great Discovery"Hy AverbackFred S. Fox & Maurice RichlinJanuary 22, 1959 ( 1959-01-22 )
5718"Son of the Mystic Nile"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartJanuary 29, 1959 ( 1959-01-29 )
5819"Kate Learns to Drive"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartFebruary 5, 1959 ( 1959-02-05 )
5920"Grampa's Private War"Hy AverbackGeorge W. George & Henry SharpFebruary 12, 1959 ( 1959-02-12 )
6021"The Rainmaker"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumFebruary 19, 1959 ( 1959-02-19 )
6122"The Perfect Houseguest"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartFebruary 26, 1959 ( 1959-02-26 )
6223"The Wedding"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffMarch 5, 1959 ( 1959-03-05 )
6324"Kate's Diet"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffMarch 12, 1959 ( 1959-03-12 )
6425"What's a Family For?"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartMarch 19, 1959 ( 1959-03-19 )
6526"Grampa Takes the Primrose Path"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumMarch 26, 1959 ( 1959-03-26 )
6627"Batter Up!"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartApril 2, 1959 ( 1959-04-02 )
6728"Sweet Fifteen"Hy AverbackIrving Elinson & Paul WestApril 9, 1959 ( 1959-04-09 )
6829"Sweet Fifteen"Hy AverbackIrving Elinson & Paul WestApril 16, 1959 ( 1959-04-16 )
6930"Two's Company"Hy AverbackBob RossApril 23, 1959 ( 1959-04-23 )
7031"The Tax Man Cometh"Hy AverbackEverett Greenbaum & Jim FritzellApril 30, 1959 ( 1959-04-30 )
7132"The Mrs. Homemaker Contest"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartMay 7, 1959 ( 1959-05-07 )
7233"The Insurance Policy"Hy AverbackBob RossMay 14, 1959 ( 1959-05-14 )
7334"How to Paint a House"Hy AverbackCharles Stewart & Jack ElinsonMay 21, 1959 ( 1959-05-21 )
7435"The Great Woodsman"Hy AverbackNorman PaulMay 28, 1959 ( 1959-05-28 )
7536"The Big Skeet Shoot"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartJune 4, 1959 ( 1959-06-04 )
7637"Grampa's New Job"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumJune 11, 1959 ( 1959-06-11 )
7738"The Actor"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffJune 18, 1959 ( 1959-06-18 )
7839"Fire When Ready, Grandpa"Hy AverbackStory by : Frank Gabrielson
Teleplay by : Paul West
June 25, 1959 ( 1959-06-25 )

Season 3 (1959–60) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
791"The Farmer Took a Wife"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartJuly 16, 1959 ( 1959-07-16 )
802"The Game Warden"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumJuly 23, 1959 ( 1959-07-23 )
813"The Screen Test"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumJuly 30, 1959 ( 1959-07-30 )
824"Work No More, My Lady"Hy AverbackHenry SharpAugust 6, 1959 ( 1959-08-06 )
835"The Garden Club"Hy AverbackNorman Paul & Bob WhiteAugust 13, 1959 ( 1959-08-13 )
846"The Weaker Sex?"Hy AverbackBen Gershman & Bob WhiteAugust 27, 1959 ( 1959-08-27 )
857"The Fighter and the Lady"Hy AverbackPaul Henning & Dick WessonSeptember 3, 1959 ( 1959-09-03 )
868"The Gas Station"Hy AverbackBob RossSeptember 10, 1959 ( 1959-09-10 )
879"Grampa Fights the Air Force"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumSeptember 17, 1959 ( 1959-09-17 )
8810"The Girls at Mom's Place"Hy AverbackNorman Paul & Bob WhiteSeptember 24, 1959 ( 1959-09-24 )
8911"The Politician"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartOctober 8, 1959 ( 1959-10-08 )
9012"Pepino Takes a Bride"Hy AverbackBen Gershman & Bob WhiteOctober 15, 1959 ( 1959-10-15 )
9113"Hot Rod"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumOctober 22, 1959 ( 1959-10-22 )
9214"The Ghostbreakers"Hy AverbackHenry SharpNovember 5, 1959 ( 1959-11-05 )
9315"The Marriage Broker"Hy AverbackBen Gershman & Bob WhiteNovember 12, 1959 ( 1959-11-12 )
9416"How to Build a Boat"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumNovember 19, 1959 ( 1959-11-19 )
9517"The Artist"Hy AverbackStory by : Ralph Goodman & William Danch
Teleplay by : Bob Ross
November 26, 1959 ( 1959-11-26 )
9618"The Perfume Salesman"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumDecember 3, 1959 ( 1959-12-03 )
9719"The Television Set"Hy AverbackBen Gershman & Bob WhiteDecember 10, 1959 ( 1959-12-10 )
9820"The Lawsuit"Hy AverbackBill ManhoffDecember 17, 1959 ( 1959-12-17 )
9921"The Town Councilman"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumDecember 24, 1959 ( 1959-12-24 )
10022"Cousin Naomi"Hy AverbackStory by : Irving Pincus
Teleplay by : Phil Shuken & John L. Greene
January 7, 1960 ( 1960-01-07 )
10123"The Bowling Champ"Hy AverbackBen Gershman & Bob WhiteJanuary 28, 1960 ( 1960-01-28 )
10224"The Talk of the Town"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumFebruary 4, 1960 ( 1960-02-04 )
10325"Once There Was a Man"Hy AverbackFred S. Fox & Irving ElinsonFebruary 11, 1960 ( 1960-02-11 )
10426"Weekend in Los Angeles"Hy AverbackJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumFebruary 18, 1960 ( 1960-02-18 )
10527"First Date"Hy AverbackIrving Elinson & Paul WestMarch 3, 1960 ( 1960-03-03 )
10628"How to Discover Oil"Hy AverbackArthur Stander & David AdlerMarch 10, 1960 ( 1960-03-10 )
10729"A House Divided"Hy AverbackJack Elinson & Charles StewartMarch 17, 1960 ( 1960-03-17 )

Season 4 (1960–61) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1081"Foreman of the Jury"James V. KernJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumAugust 4, 1960 ( 1960-08-04 )
1092"One for the Money"David AlexanderStory by : Irving Pincus
Teleplay by : John L. Greene & Phil Shuken
August 11, 1960 ( 1960-08-11 )
1103"That Was No Lady"David AlexanderBob RossAugust 18, 1960 ( 1960-08-18 )
1114"The Tycoon"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumAugust 25, 1960 ( 1960-08-25 )
1125"Where There's a Will"David AlexanderBob RossSeptember 1, 1960 ( 1960-09-01 )
1136"The Jinx"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenSeptember 8, 1960 ( 1960-09-08 )
1147"The Delegates"David AlexanderBen Gershman & Bob WhiteSeptember 15, 1960 ( 1960-09-15 )
1158"The Gigolo"Charles BartonStory by : Irving Pincus
Teleplay by : John L. Greene & Phil Shuken
September 22, 1960 ( 1960-09-22 )
1169"Teenage Wedding"Charles BartonJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumSeptember 29, 1960 ( 1960-09-29 )
11710"McCoys, Ahoy"Charles BartonJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumOctober 6, 1960 ( 1960-10-06 )
11811"Beware a Smart Woman"Charles BartonPhil Shuken & John L. GreeneOctober 13, 1960 ( 1960-10-13 )
11912"Executive Wife"David AlexanderStory by : Arnold Horwitt & Michael L. Morris
Teleplay by : Jim Fritzell & Everett Greenbaum
October 20, 1960 ( 1960-10-20 )
12013"Pepino McCoy"David AlexanderStory by : Irving Pincus
Teleplay by : John L. Greene & Phil Shuken
October 27, 1960 ( 1960-10-27 )
12114"Father and Son Day"David AlexanderBen Gershman & Bob WhiteNovember 10, 1960 ( 1960-11-10 )
12215"Farmer or Scientist"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumNovember 17, 1960 ( 1960-11-17 )
12316"The New Librarian"David AlexanderBudd GrossmanNovember 24, 1960 ( 1960-11-24 )
12417"Smothered in Love"Charles BartonHenry Winkler & Elon PackardDecember 1, 1960 ( 1960-12-01 )
12518"Baldy"Charles BartonJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumDecember 8, 1960 ( 1960-12-08 )
12619"The Hermit"Charles BartonDanny ArnoldDecember 15, 1960 ( 1960-12-15 )
12720"The Legacy"Charles BartonPhil Shuken & John L. GreeneDecember 22, 1960 ( 1960-12-22 )
12821"A Bundle from Japan"Charles BartonJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumJanuary 12, 1961 ( 1961-01-12 )
12922"The Horse Expert"Charles BartonStory by : Helen Diller & Andy Brennan
Teleplay by : Jim Fritzell & Everett Greenbaum
January 19, 1961 ( 1961-01-19 )
13023"The City Boy"David AlexanderDavid Adler & Leo RifkinJanuary 26, 1961 ( 1961-01-26 )
13124"The Investors"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumFebruary 2, 1961 ( 1961-02-02 )
13225"If You Can't Lick 'Em"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenFebruary 9, 1961 ( 1961-02-09 )
13326"The Rival"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & William Davenport & Bob RossFebruary 16, 1961 ( 1961-02-16 )
13427"The Good Neighbor Policy"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenFebruary 23, 1961 ( 1961-02-23 )
13528"You Can't Beat the Army"David AlexanderHarvey BullockMarch 2, 1961 ( 1961-03-02 )
13629"The Bazaar"David AlexanderHenry Winkler & Elon PackardMarch 9, 1961 ( 1961-03-09 )
13730"The Swedish Girl"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumMarch 16, 1961 ( 1961-03-16 )
13831"The New Sunday School Teacher"Richard CrennaHarvey BullockMarch 23, 1961 ( 1961-03-23 )
13932"Baseball vs. Love"Richard CrennaJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumMarch 30, 1961 ( 1961-03-30 )
14033"Theater in the Barn"Lawrence DobkinStory by : Arthur Marx & Mannie Manheim
Teleplay by : Bob Ross
April 6, 1961 ( 1961-04-06 )
14134"George Retires"Lawrence DobkinJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumApril 13, 1961 ( 1961-04-13 )
14235"Pepino's Wedding"David AlexanderStory by : John L. Greene & Phil Shuken
Teleplay by : Bob Ross
April 27, 1961 ( 1961-04-27 )
14336"Sorority Girl"David AlexanderWilliam Raynor & Myles WilderMay 4, 1961 ( 1961-05-04 )
14437"Kate Comes Home"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumMay 11, 1961 ( 1961-05-11 )
14538"Money in the Bank"David AlexanderPhil SharpMay 18, 1961 ( 1961-05-18 )
14639"A Man of Influence"David AlexanderHarvey BullockMay 25, 1961 ( 1961-05-25 )

Season 5 (1961–62) Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1471"Back to West Virginny"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumJuly 27, 1961 ( 1961-07-27 )
1482"Fly Away Home"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumAugust 3, 1961 ( 1961-08-03 )
1493"September Song"David AlexanderJim Fritzell & Everett GreenbaumAugust 10, 1961 ( 1961-08-10 )
1504"Kate's Competition"David AlexanderIrving Elinson & Fred S. FoxAugust 17, 1961 ( 1961-08-17 )
1515"Lost and Found"David AlexanderPhil Shuken & John L. GreeneAugust 24, 1961 ( 1961-08-24 )
1526"First Love"David AlexanderIrving Elinson & Fred S. FoxAugust 31, 1961 ( 1961-08-31 )
1537"Hassie's European Trip"David AlexanderStory by : Phil Shuken & John L. Greene
Teleplay by : Harvey Bullock
September 7, 1961 ( 1961-09-07 )
1548"How to Win Friends"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenSeptember 14, 1961 ( 1961-09-14 )
1559"The Matador"David AlexanderPhil Shuken & John L. GreeneSeptember 21, 1961 ( 1961-09-21 )
15610"George's Housekeeper"Richard CrennaHarvey BullockSeptember 28, 1961 ( 1961-09-28 )
15711"Excess Baggage"Richard CrennaFred S. Fox & Irving ElinsonOctober 5, 1961 ( 1961-10-05 )
15812"The Trailer Camp"Danny ArnoldHarvey BullockOctober 12, 1961 ( 1961-10-12 )
15913"Luke Leaves Home"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenOctober 19, 1961 ( 1961-10-19 )
16014"The New Piano"David AlexanderDanny SimonOctober 26, 1961 ( 1961-10-26 )
16115"The Handsome Salesman"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenNovember 2, 1961 ( 1961-11-02 )
16216"Honesty is the Best Policy"Sidney MillerIrving Elinson & Fred S. FoxNovember 9, 1961 ( 1961-11-09 )
16317"Cyrano McCoy"Richard CrennaJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenNovember 16, 1961 ( 1961-11-16 )
16418"The Diamond Ring"David AlexanderHarvey BullockNovember 23, 1961 ( 1961-11-23 )
16519"The Berry Crisis"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenNovember 30, 1961 ( 1961-11-30 )
16620"The Rich Boy"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenDecember 7, 1961 ( 1961-12-07 )
16721"The Gamblers"David AlexanderPhil Shuken & John L. GreeneDecember 14, 1961 ( 1961-12-14 )
16822"The Marriage Counselor"David AlexanderFred S. Fox & Irving ElinsonDecember 21, 1961 ( 1961-12-21 )
16923"The Washing Machine"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenJanuary 11, 1962 ( 1962-01-11 )
17024"Pepino McCoy, Citizen"David AlexanderIrving Elinson & Fred S. FoxJanuary 18, 1962 ( 1962-01-18 )
17125"Meeting Hassie's Friends"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenJanuary 25, 1962 ( 1962-01-25 )
17226"The Law and Mr. McCoy"David AlexanderJohn Bradford & Ray BrennerFebruary 1, 1962 ( 1962-02-01 )
17327"George's Nephew"David AlexanderFred S. Fox & Irving ElinsonFebruary 8, 1962 ( 1962-02-08 )
17428"Made in Italy"Richard CrennaJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenFebruary 22, 1962 ( 1962-02-22 )
17529"Who's Margie?"Sidney MillerJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenMarch 1, 1962 ( 1962-03-01 )
17630"You're as Young as You Feel"Sidney MillerHarvey BullockMarch 8, 1962 ( 1962-03-08 )
17731"Double Date"Richard CrennaPaul DavidMarch 15, 1962 ( 1962-03-15 )
17832"In Grampa We Trust"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenMarch 22, 1962 ( 1962-03-22 )
17933"Never a Lender Be"David AlexanderIrving Elinson & Fred S. FoxMarch 29, 1962 ( 1962-03-29 )
18034"Allergies Anonymous"David AlexanderStory by : Sherry Cloth
Teleplay by : Danny Arnold
April 5, 1962 ( 1962-04-05 )
18135"Pepino's Fortune"David AlexanderPhil Shuken & John L. GreeneApril 12, 1962 ( 1962-04-12 )
18236"Pepino's Vacation"Richard CrennaFred S. Fox & Irving ElinsonApril 19, 1962 ( 1962-04-19 )
18337"Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble"David AlexanderHarvey BullockApril 26, 1962 ( 1962-04-26 )
18438"Don't Judge a Book"David AlexanderFred S. Fox & Irving ElinsonMay 3, 1962 ( 1962-05-03 )
18539"The Raffle Ticket"David AlexanderJohn L. Greene & Phil ShukenMay 10, 1962 ( 1962-05-10 )

Season 6 (1962–63) Edit

Infinity Entertainment released the first four seasons of The Real McCoys on DVD between 2007 and 2010.

On May 7, 2012, it was announced that Inception Media Group (IMG) had acquired the rights to the series. IMG subsequently re-released the first two seasons on DVD. [6] [7]


Brennan was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, less than two miles from his family's home in Swampscott, Massachusetts. [2] His parents were both Irish immigrants. [3] His father was an engineer and inventor, and young Brennan also studied engineering at Rindge Technical High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts., [4]

While in school, Brennan became interested in acting. He began to perform in vaudeville at the age of 15. [ citation needed ]

While working as a bank clerk, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a private with the 101st Field Artillery Regiment in France during World War I. [2] [5] He served in France for two years. [6] “While there, he suffered an injury to his vocal cords from exposure to mustard gas that left him with his screen trademark: a distinctively reedy, high-pitched voice that became a favorite for celebrity impersonators for decades.” [7]

After the war, he worked as a financial reporter for a newspaper in Boston. [8] He intended to move to Guatemala and grow pineapples but only made it as far as Los Angeles. [ citation needed ] During the early 1920s, he made a fortune in the real estate market, but lost most of his money during the 1925 real estate slump. [4]

Early work Edit

Finding himself penniless, Brennan began taking parts as an extra in films at Universal Studios in 1925, starting at $7.50 a day. He wound up working at Universal off and on for the next ten years. [9]

His early appearances included Webs of Steel (1925), Lorraine of the Lions (1925), and The Calgary Stampede (1925), a Hoot Gibson Western. Brennan was also in Watch Your Wife (1926), The Ice Flood (1926), Spangles (1926), The Collegians (1926, a short), Flashing Oars (1926, a short), Sensation Seekers (1927), Tearin' Into Trouble (1927), The Ridin' Rowdy (1927), Alias the Deacon (1927), Blake of Scotland Yard (1927) (a serial), Hot Heels (1927), Painting the Town (1928), and The Ballyhoo Buster (1928). The latter was directed by Richard Thorpe who would use Brennan as an extra several times on films.

Brennan could be glimpsed in The Racket (1928) from Howard Hughes, The Michigan Kid (1928), Silks and Saddles (1929), The Cohens and the Kellys in Atlantic City (1929), and Smilin' Guns (1929) and The Lariat Kid (1929) with Gibson. He also worked as a stand in. [10]

Brennan was in His Lucky Day (1929), Frank Capra's Flight (1929), One Hysterical Night (1929) (a bigger role), The Last Performance (1929), The Long Long Trail (1929) with Gibson and The Shannons of Broadway (1929).

Other Brennan appearances included Dames Ahoy! (1930), Captain of the Guard (1930), King of Jazz (1930) (Brennan said he played nine parts but when he saw the film "I sneezed and I missed myself"), [9] The Little Accident (1930), Parlez Vous (1930), (a short), See America Thirst (1930) with Harry Langdon and Slim Summerville and Ooh La-La (1930), (another short).

The following year Brennan could be glimpsed in Hello Russia (1931, a short with Slim Summerville), Many a Slip (1931) with Summerville, Heroes of the Flames (1931) a serial with Tim McCoy, Honeymoon Lane (1931), Dancing Dynamite (1931), Grief Street (1931) directed by Richard Thorpe, and Is There Justice? (1931).

Brennan had a decent-sized role in Neck and Neck (1931), directed by Richard Thorpe. His parts tended to remain small, however: A House Divided (1931) for director William Wyler, Scratch-As-Catch-Can (1931, a Bobby Clark short directed by Mark Sandrich), and Texas Cyclone (1931, a Tim McCoy Western featuring a young John Wayne).

In 1932 Brennan was in Law and Order (1932) with Walter Huston, The Impatient Maiden (1932) for James Whale, The Airmail Mystery (1932, a serial), and Scandal for Sale (1932). He did another with John Wayne, Two-Fisted Law (1932) though the star was Tim McCoy.

Brennan was in Hello Trouble (1932) with Buck Jones, Speed Madness (1932), Miss Pinkerton (1932) with Joan Bennett, Cornered (1932) with McCoy, The Iceman's Ball (1932, another short for Sandrich), Fighting for Justice (1932) with McCoy, The Fourth Horseman (1932) with Tom Mix, The All American (1932), Once in a Lifetime (1932), Strange Justice (1932), Women Won't Tell (1932) for Richard Thorpe, Afraid to Talk (1932) and Manhattan Tower (1932).

Brennan was in Sensation Hunters (1933) for Charles Vidor, Man of Action (1933) with McCoy, Parachute Jumper (1933), Goldie Gets Along (1933), Girl Missing (1933), Rustlers' Roundup (1933) with Mix, The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble (1933) for director George Stevens, Lucky Dog (1933), and The Big Cage (1933). His scenes in William Wellman's Lilly Turner (1933) were deleted.

Brennan did another serial, The Phantom of the Air (1933), then Strange People (1933) for Thorpe, Meet the Champ (1933, a short), Sing Sinner Sing (1933), One Year Later (1933), Sailors Beware! (1933, a short), Golden Harvest (1933), Ladies Must Love (1933), Saturday's Millions (1933), Curtain at Eight (1933), and My Woman (1933).

James Whale gave him a bit part in The Invisible Man (1933), and he could be seen in King for a Night (1933), Fugitive Lovers (1933), Cross Country Cruise (1934), Beloved (1934), You Can't Buy Everything (1934), Paradise Valley (1934), Radio Dough (1934, a short), The Poor Rich (1934), The Crosby Murder Case (1934), George White's Scandals (1934), Good Girl (1934), Riptide (1934), Uncertain Lady (1934), I'll Tell the World (1934), and Fishing for Trouble (1934, a short).

Brennan was in the Three Stooges short Woman Haters (1934), then did Half a Sinner (1934), The Life of Vergie Winters (1934), Murder on the Runaway Train (1934), Whom the Gods Destroy (1934), Gentlemen of Polish (1934, a short), Death on the Diamond (1934), Great Expectations (1934), Luck of the Game (1934), Tailspin Tommy (1934, a serial), There's Always Tomorrow (1934), and Cheating Cheaters (1934).

Brennan was back with McCoy for The Prescott Kid (1934) and could be seen in The Painted Veil (1934), Biography of a Bachelor Girl (1935), Helldorado (1935), Brick-a-Brac (1935) an Edgar Kennedy short, Northern Frontier (1935), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935), and Law Beyond the Range (1935) with McCoy. He also had a brief uncredited role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) starring Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster.

Around this time Brennan had what he later described as "the luckiest break in the world". He was taking part in a fight scene when an actor kicked him in the face and all his teeth were knocked out. He had to put in false teeth. "I looked all right off the set", he said. "But when necessary I could take 'em out – and suddenly look about 40 years older." [6]

Brennan did another Three Stooges short, Restless Knights, and a short called Hunger Pains in (1935).

Work at MGM Edit

An early break for Brennan came when he was cast in The Wedding Night (1935), produced by Sam Goldwyn, alongside Gary Cooper (it was actually their second film together). He was only an extra, but his part was expanded during filming and it resulted in Brennan's getting a contract with Goldwyn. [6] [11] [12]

Goldwyn mostly loaned out Brennan's services to other studios. MGM put him in West Point of the Air (1935). He was reunited with Whale in Bride of Frankenstein (1935), in which he had a brief speaking part and also worked as a stuntman.

Brennan's parts remained small in Party Wire (1935), Spring Tonic (1935), The Gay Lady (1935), Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935), and Welcome Home (1935). He did a short, The Perfect Tribute (1935) and was in George Stevens' Alice Adams (1935), but his scenes were deleted.

He could be seen in We're in the Money (1935) and She Couldn't Take It (1935).

Move to Supporting Actor Edit

Brennan finally moved up to significant roles with a decent part in Goldwyn's Barbary Coast (1935), directed by Howard Hawks and an uncredited William Wyler. [13] "That really set me up", he said later. [6]

He followed it with small appearances in Metropolitan (1935) and Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935).

He had one of the leads in Three Godfathers (1936) playing one of the title outlaws.

He had a small role in These Three (1936) with Wyler and a bigger one in Walter Wanger's The Moon's Our Home (1936) and Fury (1936), directed by Fritz Lang.

First Oscar: Come and Get It (1936) Edit

Brennan's breakthrough part came when cast by Howard Hawks as Swan Bostrom in the period film Come and Get It (1936), playing the sidekick of Edward Arnold who eventually marries the girl Arnold abandons (played by Frances Farmer). Producer Sam Goldwyn fired Hawks during filming and replaced him with William Wyler. Brennan's performance earned him the first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Brennan followed it with support parts in Banjo on My Knee (1936) at Fox, She's Dangerous (1937), and When Love is Young (1937). Goldwyn announced him for a role in The Real Glory in 1936, but he ended up not appearing in the final film. [14]

Brennan had his first lead role in Affairs of Cappy Ricks (1937) at Republic Pictures. He followed it with the co-starring part in Fox's Wild and Woolly (1937), billed second after Jane Withers. He was in The Buccaneer (1938), directed by Cecil B. DeMille. [15]

Brennan portrayed town drunk and accused murderer Muff Potter in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938).

Brennan followed it with The Texans (1938), Mother Carey's Chickens (1938), and Goldwyn's The Cowboy and the Lady (1938) with Gary Cooper – the first time Brennan played Cooper's sidekick.

Second Oscar: Kentucky (1938) Edit

Brennan won his second Best Supporting Oscar for Kentucky (1938), a horse racing film from 20th Century Fox with Loretta Young.

He supported Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939). Brennan also appeared in Melody of Youth (1939), and Stanley and Livingstone (1939) at Fox. [12] At MGM he was in Joe and Ethel Turp Call on the President (1939).

Throughout his career, Brennan was frequently called upon to play characters considerably older than he was. The loss of many teeth in the 1932 accident, rapidly thinning hair, thin build, and unusual vocal intonations all made him seem older than he was. He used these features to great effect. In many of his film roles, Brennan wore dentures in MGM's Northwest Passage (1940) – a film set in the late 18th century – he wore a dental prosthesis which made him appear to have rotting and broken teeth. Brennan was billed third in Northwest Passage after Spencer Tracy and Robert Young.

Zanuck at Fox announced he wanted to make The Man from Home, once a vehicle for Will Rogers, with Brennan. [16] Instead Brennan was top-billed in Fox's Maryland (1940), an attempt to repeat the success of Kentucky. [17] Brennan said he had been working constantly since Christmas 1937. "I'm just plain punch drunk", he said. [18]

Third Oscar: The Westerner (1940) Edit

Brennan had one of his best ever roles in Goldwyn's The Westerner (1940), playing the villainous Judge Roy Bean opposite Gary Cooper. William Wyler directed and the film earned Brennan another Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Goldwyn bought Trading Post to be a vehicle for Brennan but it was never made. [19]

Instead he supported Deanna Durbin in Nice Girl? (1941), then Cooper again in Frank Capra's Meet John Doe (1941) and Hawks' Sergeant York (1941). Sergeant York, which earned Brennan a fourth Oscar nomination, was an enormous hit. He could also be seen in This Woman is Mine (1941), as a sea captain.

Brennan played the top-billed lead in Swamp Water (1941), the first American film by the director Jean Renoir, a drama also featuring Walter Huston and starring Dana Andrews. He was in Rise and Shine (1941) then played the reporter Sam Blake, who befriended and encouraged Lou Gehrig (played by Cooper) in Pride of the Yankees (1942).

Brennan was in some war films, Stand By for Action (1942) and Hangmen Also Die! (1943), in which he played a Czechoslavak professor. He was in Slightly Dangerous (1943), The Last Will and Testament of Tom Smith (1943, a short), and Goldwyn's Russia-set war epic The North Star (1943). [20]

He was top billed in a follow up to Kentucky and Maryland at Fox, Home in Indiana (1944).

Brennan was particularly skilled in playing the sidekick of the protagonist or the "grumpy old man" in films such as To Have and Have Not (1944), the Hawks-directed Humphrey Bogart film which introduced Lauren Bacall.

Brennan was a comic pirate in the Bob Hope film The Princess and the Pirate (1944). He was teamed with John Wayne for the first time since both men obtained stardom in Dakota (1945), directed by Joseph Kane. He supported Bette Davis in A Stolen Life (1946) and was in a musical at Fox, Centennial Summer (1946), where he played a family paterfamilias.

Westerns roles Edit

Brennan returned to villainy as Old Man Clanton in My Darling Clementine (1946), opposite Henry Fonda for director John Ford.

Brennan followed this with parts in Nobody Lives Forever (1946) at Warners, [21] and a girl-and-dog story at Republic, Driftwood (1947).

He did another Americana film at Fox, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1948), then was in one of the best films in his career, Red River (1948), playing John Wayne's sidekick for Howard Hawks.

After supporting Robert Mitchum in Blood on the Moon (1948) he played another kindly father role in The Green Promise (1949). Brennan was billed second to Rod Cameron in Brimstone (1949), directed by Kane, and he supported Gary Cooper in Task Force (1949).

The Wild Blue Yonder (1951) was a non-Western, a war film. So too was Lure of the Wilderness (1952), a remake of Swamp Water with Brennan reprising his role, though given less screen time on this occasion.

Brennan was in Sea of Lost Ships (1953) with John Derek, Drums Across the River (1954) with Audie Murphy, The Far Country (1954) with James Stewart, and Four Guns to the Border (1954) with Rory Calhoun. [22] He had a good part in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) at MGM.

Work on television Edit

Brennan began to work on television, guest starring on episodes of Screen Directors Playhouse, Lux Video Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse, Ethel Barrymore Theater, Cavalcade of America, and The Ford Television Theatre. He played an old outlaw, Joe, in the 1956 episode, "Vengeance Canyon", on Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre. In the story line, Joe tries to convince a young Clint Harding (Ben Cooper), that vengeance is not productive. Sheb Wooley played another outlaw, Brock, this episode. [23]

He appeared as himself as a musical judge in the 1953–1954 ABC series Jukebox Jury. Brennan later said he preferred doing television to movies because there were not "long lay offs between jobs." [11]

He continued to appear in movies such as Gunpoint! (1955) and The Proud Ones (1956) and was in a short about Israel, Man on a Bus (1955).

Brennan was in "Americana" films such as Glory (1956), Come Next Spring (1956) and in Batjac's Good-bye My Lady (1956) with 14-year-old Brandon deWilde with whom he recorded The Stories of Mark Twain that same year. In the latter film he was top billed and directed by William Wellman but the film was not widely seen. [24]

He appeared in The Way to the Gold (1957) and was in a big hit playing Debbie Reynolds's grandfather in the romantic comedy Tammy and the Bachelor (1957).

Brennan was given another lead role in God Is My Partner (1957), a low budget movie that was a surprise hit. [25]

The Real McCoys Edit

Brennan had resisted overtures to star in a regular TV series but relented for The Real McCoys, a sitcom about a poor West Virginia family that relocated to a farm in Southern California. [26] It was a hit and ran from 1957 to 1963. [27]

Brennan continued to appear in films and other TV shows during the series' run such as Colgate Theatre and another Howard Hawks' picture, Rio Bravo (1959), in support to John Wayne and Dean Martin.

After five years on ABC, The Real McCoys switched to CBS for a final season. Brennan joined with the series creator, Irving Pincus, to form Brennan-Westgate Productions. [24] The series was co-produced with Danny Thomas's Marterto Productions. It also featured Richard Crenna, Kathleen Nolan, Lydia Reed, and Michael Winkelman. [28]

For Brennan Productions, Brennan starred in Shoot Out at Big Sag (1962). He appeared as a villainous river pirate up against James Stewart in MGM's epic How the West Was Won (1963).

Singing career Edit

Brennan's success with The Real McCoys led to him making a few recordings, the most popular being "Old Rivers", about an old farmer and his mule, which was released as a single in 1962 by Liberty Records with "The Epic Ride of John H. Glenn" on the flip side. "Old Rivers" peaked at number five in the U.S. Billboard chart, making the 67 year-old Brennan the oldest living person to have a Top 40 hit at the time, in fact, the oldest living person to have a top 5 hit. [29] At age 68, Brennan reached the Top 40 again, this time with "Mama Sang a Song" on November 17, 1962.

In his music, he sometimes worked with Allen "Puddler" Harris, a Louisiana native who was a member of the original Ricky Nelson Band.

After The Real McCoys ended, Brennan provided the voice for a cartoon of The Shooting of Dan McGrew.

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Walter Brennan among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [30]

Other TV roles and Disney Edit

Brennan starred as the wealthy executive Walter Andrews in the short-lived 1964–1965 ABC series The Tycoon, with Van Williams.

Brennan had a support part in Those Calloways (1965), his first movie for the Disney Organisation, where he was again paired with Brandon deWilde. He had a small role in The Oscar (1966).

In 1967, he starred in another ABC series, The Guns of Will Sonnett (1967–1969), as an older man in search of his gunfighter son, James Sonnett, with his grandson, Jeff, played by Dack Rambo. It ran for two seasons. [31]

Brennan was top billed in Disney's The Gnome-Mobile (1967) and did a pilot for a TV series Horatio Alger Jones that was not picked up. [32]

After a support role in Who's Minding the Mint? (1967) he returned to Disney for The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).

Brennan had an excellent part as the villain in Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) with James Garner.

Later career Edit

He joined the second season of the CBS sitcom To Rome with Love (1969–1971), with John Forsythe. [33] This was Brennan's last television series as a member of the permanent cast, although he did make a number of appearances on Alias Smith and Jones. [34]

Around this time he also starred in the TV movies The Young Country (1970), Two for the Money (1972) and Home for the Holidays (1972). He was announced for a Western, One Day in Eden [34] but it does not appear to have been made.

He started filming Herbie Rides Again (1973) for Disney but fell ill and had to be replaced. [35]

Brennan's last screen appearance was in the Western Smoke in the Wind (1975), directed by Joseph Kane.

In 1920, Brennan married Ruth Caroline Wells (1897-1997). They had three children in their 54 year marriage. Lademan's husband, Dixon McCully Lademan, was a captain in the U.S. Navy in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Brennan's son Arthur Wells "Big Mike" Brennan and his wife, Florence Irene (Whitman) Brennan, lived in Joseph, Oregon.

In 1940, Brennan purchased the 12,000-acre Lightning Creek Ranch, 20 miles north of Joseph, Oregon. He built the Indian Lodge Motel, a movie theater, and a variety store in Joseph, and continued going there between film roles until his death. Some members of his family continue to live in the area.

Brennan, a Roman Catholic, did not publicize his own religious affiliation, but declared, "I'm too old not to be a religious fella. [. ] It appears we are losing something a lot of people made a lot of sacrifices for." [36] In 1964, Brennan spoke at "Project Prayer", a rally attended by 2,500 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The gathering, hosted by Anthony Eisley, sought to flood Congress with letters in support of mandatory school prayer, following two decisions of the Supreme Court in 1962 and 1963 that had struck down the practice of mandatory prayer in public schools as being in conflict with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. [36]

Brennan spent his last years mostly in retirement at his ranch in Moorpark in Ventura. He died of emphysema at the age of 80 in Oxnard, California. [37] His remains were interred at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Film historians and critics have long regarded Brennan as one of the finest character actors in motion picture history. While the roles he was adept at playing were diverse, he is probably best remembered for his portrayals in Western movies, such as Judge Roy Bean in The Westerner, trail hand Nadine Groot in Red River, and Deputy Stumpy in Rio Bravo. He was the first actor to win three Academy Awards and remains the only person to have won Best Supporting Actor three times. However, he remained somewhat embarrassed as to how he won the awards in the early years of the Academy Awards, extras were given the right to vote. Brennan was popular with the Union of Film Extras, and since their numbers were overwhelming, he won every time he was nominated. His third win led to the disenfranchisement of the union from Oscar voting. Following this change, Brennan lost his fourth Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1941 for Sergeant York (the award went to Donald Crisp for How Green Was My Valley).

In all, Brennan appeared in more than 230 film and television roles during a career that spanned nearly five decades. For his contributions to the film industry, he has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6501 Hollywood Boulevard. [38] In 1970, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, where his photograph hangs prominently.


In its current incarnation, The New Republic has been unambiguously to the left and is often critical of the Democratic establishment and strongly in favor of universal health care. In The American Conservative, Telly Davidson wrote that "its love letters to the Bernie Bro and Millennial Marxist movements and its attacks on Hillary and the Democratic establishment from the left, instead of from the right, bring back memories of its decidedly radical days in the '30s and '40s". [9] [ undue weight? – discuss ] In May 2019, it published a roundtable on socialism where three of four contributions were favorable, while the owner and editor-in-chief, Win McCormack, wrote a more dismissive piece. [10] In February 2019, staff writer Alex Shephard wrote that "it doesn't make political sense to put bumpers on hypothetical policies, which dampens voter enthusiasm. Pragmatism doesn't track as a legislative argument, either". [11] In June 2019, staff writer Alex Pareene wrote: "All the while, Democratic leaders continue to campaign and govern from a crouched, defensive position even after they win power. They have bought into the central ideological proposition, peddled by apparatchiks and consultants aligned with the conservative movement, that America is an incorrigible "center-right" nation, and they have precious little strategy or inclination to move that consensus leftward—to fight, in other words, to change the national consensus the sort of activity that was once understood as 'politics'". [12]

Early years Edit

The New Republic was founded by Herbert Croly, Walter Lippmann, and Walter Weyl through the financial backing of heiress Dorothy Payne Whitney and her husband, Willard Straight, who maintained majority ownership. The magazine's first issue was published on November 7, 1914. The magazine's politics were liberal and progressive, and as such concerned with coping with the great changes brought about by middle-class reform efforts designed to remedy the weaknesses in America's changing economy and society. The magazine is widely considered important in changing the character of liberalism in the direction of governmental interventionism, both foreign and domestic. The most important of them was the emergence of the U.S. as a great power on the international scene. In 1917, TNR urged America's entry into the Great War on the side of the Allies.

One consequence of the war was the Russian Revolution of 1917. During the interwar years, the magazine was generally positive in its assessment of the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin. However, the magazine changed its position after the Cold War began in 1947, and in 1948, its leftist editor, Henry A. Wallace, departed to run for president on the Progressive ticket. After Wallace, the magazine moved toward positions more typical of mainstream American liberalism. Throughout the 1950s, the publication was critical of both Soviet foreign policy and domestic anticommunism, particularly McCarthyism. During the 1960s, the magazine opposed the Vietnam War but also often criticized the New Left.

Until the late 1960s, the magazine had a certain "cachet as the voice of re-invigorated liberalism," in the opinion of the commentator Eric Alterman, who has criticized the magazine's politics from the left. That cachet, Alterman wrote, "was perhaps best illustrated when the dashing, young President Kennedy had been photographed boarding Air Force One holding a copy." [13]

Peretz ownership and eventual editorship, 1974–1979 Edit

In March 1974, the magazine was purchased for $380,000 [13] by Martin Peretz, a lecturer at Harvard University, [14] from Gilbert A. Harrison. [13] Peretz was a veteran of the New Left but had broken with the movement over its support of various Third World liberationist movements, particularly the Palestine Liberation Organization. Harrison continued editing the magazine and expected Peretz to let him continue running the magazine for three years. However, by 1975, when Peretz became annoyed at having his own articles rejected for publication while he was pouring money into the magazine to cover its losses, he fired Harrison. Much of the staff, including Walter Pincus, Stanley Karnow, and Doris Grumbach, was fired or quit and were replaced largely by recent Harvard graduates, who lacked journalistic experience. Peretz became the editor and served in that post until 1979. In 1980, it endorsed the moderate Republican John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent, rather than the Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. As other editors were appointed, Peretz remained editor-in-chief until 2012. [13]

Kinsley and Hertzberg editorships, 1979–1991 Edit

Michael Kinsley, a neoliberal, was editor (1979–1981, 1985–1989), alternating twice with the more leftleaning Hendrik Hertzberg (1981–1985 1989–1991). Kinsley was only 28 years old when he first became editor and was still attending law school. [13]

In the 1980s, the magazine generally supported President Ronald Reagan's anticommunist foreign policy, including his provision of aid to the Nicaraguan Contras. The magazine's editors also supported both the Gulf War and the Iraq War and, reflecting its belief in the moral efficacy of American power, intervention in "humanitarian" crises, such as those in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo during the Yugoslav Wars.

It was widely considered a "must read" across the political spectrum. An article in Vanity Fair judged it "the smartest, most impudent weekly in the country" and the "most entertaining and intellectually agile magazine in the country." According to Alterman, the magazine's prose could sparkle and the contrasting views in its pages were "genuinely exciting." He added, "The magazine unarguably set the terms of debate for insider political elites during the Reagan era." [13]

The magazine won the respect of many conservative opinion leaders. Twenty copies were sent by messenger to the Reagan White House each Thursday afternoon. Norman Podhoretz called the magazine "indispensable, " and George Will called it "currently the nation's most interesting and most important political journal." National Review described it as "one of the most interesting magazines in the United States." [13]

Credit for its influence was often attributed to Kinsley, whose wit and critical sensibility were seen as enlivening, and Hertzberg, a writer for The New Yorker and speechwriter for Jimmy Carter.

Hertzberg and Kinsley alternated as editor and as the author of the magazine's lead column, "TRB from Washington." Its perspective was described as center-left in 1988. [15]

A final ingredient that led to the magazine's increased stature in the 1980s was its "back of the book" or literary, cultural and arts pages, which were edited by Leon Wieseltier. Peretz discovered Wieseltier, then working at Harvard's Society of Fellows, and installed him in charge of the section. Wieseltier reinvented the section along the lines of The New York Review of Books and allowed his critics, many of them academics, to write longer, critical essays, instead of simple book reviews. Alterman calls the selection of Wieseltier "probably. Peretz's single most significant positive achievement" in running the magazine. Despite changes of other editors, Wieseltier remained as cultural editor. Under him the section was "simultaneously erudite and zestful," according to Alterman." [13]

Sullivan editorship, 1991–1996 Edit

In 1991, Andrew Sullivan, a 28-year-old gay, self-described conservative from Britain, became editor. He took the magazine in a somewhat more conservative direction, but the majority of writers remained liberal or neoliberal. Hertzberg soon left the magazine to return to The New Yorker. Kinsley left the magazine in 1996 to found the online magazine Slate. [13]

In 1994, Sullivan invited Charles Murray to contribute a 10,000-word article, excerpted from his coauthored book The Bell Curve. The article, which contended that "African Americans score differently from whites on standardized tests of cognitive ability," proved to be very controversial and was published in a special issue together with many responses and critiques. [16] The magazine also published a very critical article by Elizabeth McCaughey about the Clinton administration's health care plan, commonly known as "Hillarycare" because of its close association with First Lady Hillary Clinton. Alterman described the article as "dishonest, misinformed," and "the single most influential article published in the magazine during the entire Clinton presidency. [13] James Fallows of The Atlantic noted the article's inaccuracies and said, "The White House issued a point-by-point rebuttal, which The New Republic did not run. Instead it published a long piece by McCaughey attacking the White House statement." [17] Sullivan also published a number of pieces by Camille Paglia. [13]

Ruth Shalit, a young writer for the magazine in the Sullivan years, was repeatedly criticized for plagiarism. After the Shalit scandals, the magazine began using fact-checkers during Sullivan's time as editor. One was Stephen Glass. When later working as a reporter, he was later found to have made up quotes, anecdotes, and facts in his own articles. [13]

Kelly, Lane, Beinart, Foer, Just editorships, 1996–2012 Edit

After Sullivan stepped down in 1996, David Greenberg and Peter Beinart served jointly as acting editors. After the 1996 election, Michael Kelly served as editor for a year. During his tenure as editor and afterward, Kelly, who also wrote the TRB column, was intensely critical of Clinton. [13] Writer Stephen Glass, who had been a major contributor under Kelly's editorship, was later shown to have falsified and fabricated numerous stories, which was admitted by The New Republic after an investigation by Kelly's successor, Charles Lane. Kelly had consistently supported Glass during his tenure, including sending scathing letters to those challenging the veracity of Glass's stories. [18] (The events were later dramatized in the feature film Shattered Glass, adapted from a 1998 report by H.G. Bissinger.)

Chuck Lane held the editor's position between 1997 and 1999. During Lane's tenure, the Stephen Glass scandal occurred. Peretz has written that Lane ultimately "put the ship back on its course," for which Peretz said he was "immensely grateful." But Peretz later fired Lane, who learned of his ouster when a Washington Post reporter called him for a comment. [13]

Peter Beinart, a third editor who took over when he was 28 years old, [13] followed Lane. He served as editor from 1999 to 2006.

In the early 2000s, the TNR added Buzz weblogs &c., Iraq'd, and Easterblogg, replaced in 2005 with the sole blog The Plank. The Stump was added in 2007 and covered the 2008 presidential election.

The magazine remained well known, with references to it occasionally popping up in popular culture. Lisa Simpson was once portrayed as a subscriber to The New Republic for Kids. Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons', once drew a cover for The New Republic. [19] In the pilot episode of the HBO series Entourage, which first aired on July 18, 2004, Ari Gold asks Eric Murphy: "Do you read The New Republic? Well, I do, and it says that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about."

Franklin Foer took over from Beinart in March 2006. The magazine's first editorial under Foer said, "We've become more liberal. We've been encouraging Democrats to dream big again on the environment and economics. " [13] Foer is the brother of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything Is Illuminated (2002).

Other prominent writers who edited or wrote for the magazine in those years include senior editor and columnist Jonathan Chait, Lawrence F. Kaplan, John Judis and Spencer Ackerman. [13]

Political stances under Peretz Edit

The New Republic gradually became much less left-wing under Peretz, [20] which culminated in the editorship of the conservative Andrew Sullivan. The magazine was associated with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and "New Democrats," such as Bill Clinton and Joseph Lieberman, who received the magazine's endorsement in the 2004 Democratic primary.

In the 21st century, the magazine gradually shifted left but was still was more moderate and hawkish than conventional liberal periodicals. Policies supported by both The New Republic and the DLC in the 1990s were increased funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit program, the reform of the federal welfare system, and supply-side economics, especially the idea of reducing higher marginal income tax rates, which in the later Peretz years received heavy criticism from senior editor Jonathan Chait. [21]

Foreign policy stances under Peretz Edit

Support for Israel was a strong theme: "Support for Israel is deep down an expression of America's best view of itself." [13] According to the journalism professor Eric Alterman:

Nothing has been as consistent about the past 34 years of The New Republic as the magazine's devotion to Peretz's own understanding of what is good for Israel. It is really not too much to say that almost all of Peretz's political beliefs are subordinate to his commitment to Israel's best interests, and these interests as Peretz defines them almost always involve more war. [13]

Unsigned editorials prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq expressed strong support for military action and cited the threat of facilities for weapons of mass destruction as well as humanitarian concerns. In the first years of the war, editorials were critical of the handling of the war but continued to justify the invasion on humanitarian grounds although they no longer maintained that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed any threat to the United States. In the November 27, 2006 issue, the editors wrote:

At this point, it seems almost beside the point to say this: The New Republic deeply regrets its early support for this war. The past three years have complicated our idealism and reminded us of the limits of American power and our own wisdom. [22]

Peretz sells remaining shares and buys magazine back from CanWest Edit

Until February 2007, The New Republic was owned by Martin Peretz, New York financiers Roger Hertog and Michael Steinhardt, and Canadian media conglomerate Canwest. [23]

In late February 2007, Peretz sold his share of the magazine to CanWest, which announced that a subsidiary, CanWest Media Works International, had acquired a full interest in the publication. Peretz retained his position as editor-in-chief. [24]

In March 2009, Peretz and a group of investors, led by the former Lazard executive Laurence Grafstein and including Michael Alter, [25] bought the magazine back from CanWest, which was on the edge of bankruptcy. Frank Foer continued as editor and was responsible for the day-to-day management of the magazine, and Peretz remained editor-in-chief. [26]

New format Edit

Starting with the March 19, 2007 issue, the magazine implemented major changes:

  • Decreased frequency: the magazine went to publishing twice a month, or 24 times a year. This replaced the old plan of publishing 44 issues a year. The magazine described its publication schedule as "biweekly," with specified "skipped publication dates." There were ten of these in 2010.
  • New design and layout: Issues featured more visuals, new art and other "reader friendly" content. Warnock typeface throughout was accented by woodcut-style illustrations.
  • More pages and bigger size: Issues became bigger and contained more pages.
  • Improved paper: Covers and pages became sturdier.
  • Increased newsstand price: Although the subscription prices did not change, the newsstand price increased from $3.95 to $4.95.
  • Website redesign: The website offered more daily content and new features. [27][28]Richard Just took over as editor of the magazine on December 8, 2010.

Chris Hughes ownership and editorial crisis, 2012–2016 Edit

On March 9, 2012, Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, was introduced as the New Republic's majority owner and Editor-in-Chief. [29] Under Hughes, the magazine became less focused on "The Beltway," with more cultural coverage and attention to visuals. It stopped running an editorial in every issue. Media observers noted a less uniformly pro-Israel tone in the magazine's coverage than its editorial stance during Peretz's ownership. [30]

On December 4, 2014, Gabriel Snyder, previously of Gawker and Bloomberg, replaced Franklin Foer as editor. The magazine was reduced from twenty issues per year to ten and the editorial offices moved from Penn Quarter, Washington DC, to New York, where it was reinvented as a "vertically integrated digital-media company." [31] The changes provoked a major crisis among the publication's editorial staff and contributing editors. The magazine's literary editor, Leon Wieseltier, resigned in protest. Subsequent days brought many more resignations, including those of executive editors Rachel Morris and Greg Veis nine of the magazine's eleven active senior writers legal-affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen the digital-media editor six culture writers and editors and thirty-six out of thirty-eight contributing editors (including Paul Berman, Jonathan Chait, William Deresiewicz, Ruth Franklin, Anthony Grafton, Enrique Krauze, Ryan Lizza, Sacha Z. Scoblic, Helen Vendler, Sean Wilentz). In all, two-thirds of the names on the editorial masthead were gone. [31]

The mass resignations forced the magazine to suspend its December 2014 edition. Previously a weekly for most of its history, it was immediately before suspension published ten times per year [32] with a circulation of approximately 50,000. [2] The company went back to publishing twenty issues a year, and editor Gabriel Snyder worked with staff to reshape it.

In the wake of the editorial crisis, Hughes indicated that he intended to stay with The New Republic over the long term, telling an NPR interviewer of his desire to make sure the magazine could produce quality journalism "hopefully for decades to come." [33] He published an open letter about his "commitment" to give the magazine "a new mandate for a new century." [5] However, on January 11, 2016, Hughes put The New Republic up for sale. [34] In another open letter, he said, "After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic." [5]

Win McCormack ownership, 2016 to present Edit

In February 2016, Win McCormack bought the magazine from Hughes [7] and named Eric Bates, the former executive editor of Rolling Stone, as editor. In September 2017, Bates was demoted from his leadership role to a masthead title of "editor at large." J.J. Gould then served as editor for just over a year [35] until December 2018. In November 2017, Hamilton Fish V, the publisher since McCormack's acquisition of the magazine, resigned amid allegations of workplace misconduct. [36] Kerrie Gillis was named publisher in February 2019 [37] and Chris Lehmann, formerly the editor in chief of The Baffler, [38] was named editor April 9, 2019. [39] Within months his management style faced public criticism [40] [41] for his hiring process of an Inequality Editor, posted on June 28. Within weeks, another scandal erupted, with Lehmann facing even harsher criticism from the public and the media for his decision to publish a controversial op-ed by Dale Peck called "My Mayor Pete Problem." The op-ed was retracted, with Lehmann commenting in a separate statement: "The New Republic recognizes that this post crossed a line, and while it was largely intended as satire, it was inappropriate and invasive." [42] In March 2021 it was announced that Lehmann would be departing his role as editor and would be replaced by Michael Tomasky [43]

Print circulation in the 2000s Edit

The New Republic's average paid circulation for 2009 was 53,485 copies per issue.

The New Republic average monthly paid circulation
Year Avg. Paid Circ. % Change
2000 [44] 101,651
2001 [44] 88,409 −13.0
2002 [45] 85,069 −3.8
2003 [46] 63,139 −25.8
2004 [47] 61,675 −2.3
2005 [48] 61,771 +0.2
2006 [49] 61,024 −1.2
2007 [50] 59,779 −2.0
2008 [51] 65,162 +9.0
2009 [51] 53,485 −18.0
2010 [52] NR NR

The New Republic's last reported circulation numbers to media auditor BPA Worldwide were for the six months ending on June 30, 2009.

Online Edit

According to Quantcast, the TNR website received roughly 120,000 visitors in April 2008, and 962,000 visitors in April 2012. By June 9, 2012, the TNR website's monthly page visits dropped to 421,000 in the U.S. and 521,000 globally. [53] As of April 16, 2014, the TNR website's Quantcast webpage contains the following messages: "This publisher has not implemented Quantcast Measurement. Data is estimated and not verified by Quantcast. " and "We do not have enough information to provide a traffic estimate. " and "Traffic data unavailable until this site becomes quantified." [54] Demographically, data show that visitors tend to be well educated (76% being college graduates, with 33% having a graduate degree), relatively affluent (55% having a household income of over $60,000 and 31% having a six figure income), white (83%), and more likely to be male (61%). Eighty two percent were at least 35 years old with 38% being over the age of 50. [55]

Michael Straight Edit

New Republic editor Michael Whitney Straight (1948 to 1956) was later discovered to be a spy for the KGB, recruited into the same network as Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, and Anthony Blunt. [56] Straight's espionage activities began at Cambridge during the 1930s he later claimed that they ceased during World War II. Later, shortly before serving in the Kennedy administration, he revealed his past ties and turned in fellow spy Anthony Blunt. In return for his cooperation, his own involvement was kept secret and he continued to serve in various capacities for the US Government until he retired. Straight admitted his involvement in his memoirs however, subsequent documents obtained from the former KGB after the fall of the Soviet Union indicated that he drastically understated the extent of his espionage activities. [57] [58]

Ruth Shalit plagiarism Edit

In 1995, writer Ruth Shalit was fired for repeated incidents of plagiarism and an excess of factual errors in her articles. [59]

Stephen Glass scandal Edit

In 1998, features writer Stephen Glass was revealed in a Forbes Digital investigation to have fabricated a story called "Hack Heaven". A TNR investigation found that most of Glass's stories had used or been based on fabricated information. The story of Glass's fall and TNR editor Chuck Lane's handling of the scandal was dramatized in the 2003 film Shattered Glass, based on a 1998 article in Vanity Fair. [60]

Lee Siegel Edit

In 2006, long-time contributor, critic, and senior editor Lee Siegel, who had maintained a blog on the TNR site dedicated primarily to art and culture, was revealed by an investigation to have collaborated in posting comments to his own blog under an alias aggressively praising Siegel, attacking his critics and claiming not to be Lee Siegel when challenged by an anonymous detractor on his blog. [61] [62] The blog was removed from the website and Siegel was suspended from writing for the print magazine. [63] He resumed writing for TNR in April 2007. Siegel was also controversial for his coinage "blogofascists" which he applied to "the entire political blogosphere", though with an emphasis on leftwing or center-left bloggers such as Daily Kos and Atrios. [64]

Spencer Ackerman Edit

In 2006, associate editor Spencer Ackerman was fired by editor Franklin Foer. Describing it as a "painful" decision, Foer attributed the firing to Ackerman's "insubordination": disparaging the magazine on his personal blog, [65] saying that he would "skullfuck" a terrorist's corpse at an editorial meeting if that was required to "establish his anti-terrorist bona fides" and sending Foer an e-mail where he said—in what according to Ackerman was intended to be a joke—he would “make a niche in your skull” with a baseball bat. Ackerman, by contrast, argued that the dismissal was due to “irreconcilable ideological differences.” He believed that his leftward drift as a result of the Iraq War and the actions of the Bush administration was not appreciated by the senior editorial staff. [66] Within 24 hours of being fired by The New Republic, Ackerman was hired as a senior correspondent for a rival magazine, The American Prospect.

Scott Thomas Beauchamp controversy Edit

In July 2007, after The New Republic published an article by an American soldier in Iraq titled "Shock Troops", allegations of inadequate fact-checking were leveled against the magazine. Critics alleged that the piece contained inconsistent details indicative of fabrication. The identity of the anonymous soldier, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, was revealed. Beauchamp was married to Elspeth Reeve, one of the magazine's three fact-checkers. As a result of the controversy, the New Republic and the United States Army launched investigations, reaching different conclusions. [67] [68] [69] In an article titled "The Fog of War", published on December 1, 2007, Franklin Foer wrote that the magazine could no longer stand behind the stories written by Beauchamp. [70] [71]

Pete Buttigieg article Edit

On July 12, 2019, gay writer Dale Peck wrote an article for The New Republic critical of Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate, in which he repeatedly referred to Buttigieg as "Mary Pete", which he described as the "gay equivalent of Uncle Tom", saying, "Pete and I are just not the same kind of gay." The article went on to describe the candidate as a "fifteen-year-old boy in a Chicago bus station wondering if it's a good idea to go home with a fifty-year-old man so that he'll finally understand what he is." [72] The piece was harshly received by some media figures [73] and the center of controversy. [74]

  1. Bruce Bliven (1930–1946) (1946–1948) (1948–1956) (1956–1975) (1975–1979) (1979–1981 1985–1989) (1981–1985 1989–1991) (1991–1996) (1996–1997) (1997–1999) (1999–2006) (2006–2010 2012–2014)
  2. Richard Just (2010–2012)
  3. Gabriel Snyder (2014–2016)
  4. Eric Bates (2016–2017) (2017–2018)
  5. Chris Lehmann (2019–2021) (2021–Present)

Before Wallace's appointment in 1946, the masthead listed no single editor in charge but gave an editorial board of four to eight members. Walter Lippmann, Edmund Wilson, and Robert Morss Lovett, among others, served on this board at various times. The names given above are the first editor listed in each issue, always the senior editor of the team.

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After his discharge from the Army, Pincus spied on American students abroad for the Central Intelligence Agency, writing an article which appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on February 18, 1967, the headline, "How I Traveled Abroad on C.I.A. Subsidy. "I had been briefed in Washington on each of them," he wrote "None was remotely aware of CIA's interest."

Pincus worked at the copy desk of the Wall Street Journal's Washington edition, leaving in 1959 to become Washington correspondent for three North Carolina newspapers. In an 18-month sabbatical he took in 1962, he directed his first of two investigations for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under J. William Fulbright. The investigations into foreign government lobbying led to a revision of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. In 1963, he joined the Washington Star, and in 1966 he moved to the Washington Post, where he worked till 1969. In 1969 till 1970 he directed another investigation for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, looking into U.S. military and security commitments abroad and their effect on U.S. foreign policy, which eventually led to the McGovern-Hatfield amendment to end the Vietnam War. [4]

In 1973 Pincus tried to establish a newspaper, aiming at university towns with bad local newspapers, but without success. [5] Believing that he would later buy the magazine, [6] he had become executive editor of The New Republic in 1972, where he covered the Watergate Senate hearings, the House impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon and the Watergate trial. In 1975, after he was fired from the New Republic, [7] he went to work as consultant to NBC News and later CBS News, developing, writing or producing television segments for network evening news, magazine shows and hour documentaries, and joined the Washington Post the same year. [4]

At the Washington Post, Pincus reports on intelligence, defense and foreign policy. [8] He has written about a variety of news subjects ranging from nuclear weapons and arms control to political campaigns to the American hostages in Iran to investigations of Congress and the Executive Branch. For six years he covered the Iran-contra affair. He covered the intelligence community and its problems arising out of the case of confessed spy Aldrich Ames, allegations of Chinese espionage at the nuclear weapons laboratories. [4]

Pincus attended Georgetown Law School part-time beginning in 1995 and graduated in 2001, at the age of sixty-eight. [9] He has been a visiting lecturer at Yale University and since 2002 has taught a seminar at Stanford University's Stanford-in-Washington program. [ citation needed ]

Involvement in the Plame affair

In October 2003, Pincus cowrote a story for the Washington Post which described a July 12, 2003 conversation between an unnamed administration official and an unnamed Washington Post reporter. The official told the reporter that Iraq war critic Joe Wilson's wife Valerie Plame worked for the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) nonproliferation division, and suggested that Plame had recommended her husband to investigate reports that Iraq's government had tried to buy uranium in Niger. It later became clear that Pincus himself was the Post reporter in question. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald issued a grand jury subpoena to Pincus on August 9, 2004, in an attempt to discover the identity of Pincus' secret informant. On August 20, 2004, the Post filed a motion to quash the subpoena, but after Pincus' source came forward to speak with investigators, Pincus gave a deposition to Fitzgerald on September 15, 2004 he recounted the 2003 conversation to Fitzgerald but still did not name the administration official. [10] In a public statement afterward, Pincus said that the special prosecutor had dropped his demand that Pincus reveal his source. [ citation needed ] On February 12, 2007, Pincus testified in court that it was then White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, swerving off topic during an interview, who had told him of Plame's identity. [11] Pincus was interviewed about his involvement in the Plame affair, and his refusal to identify his source, in the first episode of Frontline's "News War". [7]

In Contempt of Court

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer "found Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus in contempt Wednesday [November 15, 2005], saying the journalist must reveal his government sources for stories about the criminal investigation of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee."

Collyer said "'in order to avoid a repetition of the Judith Miller imbroglio,' Pincus must contact his sources to inform them of the court's order in case they wish to release him from his pledge of confidentiality," Pete Yost reported in the November 16, 2005, Washington Post.

Umoc193's Blog

Given all the scandals plaguing the Obama administration lately it would not surprise me if some of my regular readers had not pondered my silence on possibly the biggest and most serious one, the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance of phone records and internet traffic.

I suppose a few of my critics may surmise this is due to my “Messiah”…Obama….having it occur on his watch, maybe literally.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Drone attacks on suspected terrorists off the battleground
  • Drug sniffing dogs at ostensibly routine traffic stops
  • New York City’s “stop and frisk” campaign that is racist and a highly ineffective police tactic.
  • Police departments morphing into paramilitary organizations
  • The Patriot Act
  • The War On Terror
  • The wanding of patrons entering PNC Park for baseball games
  • Guantanamo Bay
  • The Supreme Court broadening the powers of police to search and seize sans warrants
  • The Pittsburgh Marathon’s undue security concerns in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • The question as to whether to interrogate Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without providing the requisite Miranda warning.
  • The war in Iraq
  • The war in Afghanistan

Folks, these are all related to each other and to the NSA surveillance activities. How are they related? Because each of them tests Americans’ willingness to have its Constitution twisted to achieve the illusion …more a mirage actually…of greater security in the wake of 9/11.

Yet, there is no consensus among politicians, professional pundits nor the American public that all of these are bad. Review the comments on these pages anent drone strikes or the Miranda issue. Some of my readers who generally share my point of view were adamantly opposed to my positions on those topics.

Even the NSA surveillance has drawn mixed reviews with some polls showing that the majority of Americans are not troubled by these actions and even such natural political enemies of Obama like Lindsey Graham figuratively shrugging them off.

Importantly most of these measures did not sudenly pop up under Obama save for any issues that have arisen due to specific events during his Presidency.

PRISM is the system that the NSA uses to access information from nine internet services. It is now probably the cause of the greatest upset. Why who knew that stuff we put on the internet could be seen by others?

In fact PRISM has existed since the waning days of the Bush administration and the access NSA has is

…governed by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was enacted in 2008. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tacitly admitted PRISM’s existence in a blog post last Thursday. A classified PowerPoint presentation leaked by Edward Snowden states that PRISM enables “collection directly from the servers” of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and other online companies.

That article also relates the tale of YAHOO’s failed anti-PRISM lawsuit in a secret case from 2008.

Objections to these policies and actions are frequently dependent upon who holds title to the ox and/or the political identity of its gorer.

Case in point. The brilliant and visionary Sean Hannity saw the value in the NSA surveillance in a land and time far far away from the one we inhabit at this moment. But, given the change in the powers that be in the interim this surveillance now is destined to destroy life as we know it. Just view the video found in this link.

Nonetheless when we have reason to believe the targets of these extra security measures are members of a suspect group our hackles are in complete retreat.

Thus you see support for needless and unjustified wars, for unlawful inprisonment of persons suspected of but not charged with terrorism, for intrusions upon our personal space when in public, and all the other offenses committed in the name of our protection.

Yeah, the Boston Marathon bombing was a horrible thing but the two incompetent misfits managed to kill two people with their bomb. In the past week or so we have witnessed two instances of a lone nut killing at least four people in Santa Monica and St.Louis without generating any belief we should cower under our school desks or head for the air raid shelter in the basement..

Walter Pincus has a piece in the Washington Post in which he briefly explores the history of surveillance in the U.S.

I have never forgotten one thought in a lecture I heard at Yale University back in the early 1950s when Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., was carrying on his anti-communist witch hunt. Professor Harry R. Rudin declared that the two peoples most willing to trade civil liberties for personal security were the Germans and the Americans. Sixty-plus years later, I think the reaction to 9/11 that we still see proves again that Mr. Rudin was right.

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