American Journalism, the peer-reviewed quarterly journal of the American Journalism Historians Association, has awarded its 2020 "Article of the Year" prize to Stephen Bates, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Bates's study, "Prejudice and the Press Critics: Robert McCormick's Assault on the Hutchins Commission," appeared in the Fall 2019 edition of the journal.
The article relates the story behind a 642-page angry rebuttal to A Free and Responsible Press, the 1947 Hutchins report. Bates notes that although Prejudice and the Press, which was underwritten by Chicago Tribune publisher Colonel Robert McCormick, "is meandering, snide and suffused with red-baiting, it effectively rebuts a key foundation of A Free and Responsible Press."
Bates said that he first came across Prejudice and the Press while researching his forthcoming book about the Hutchins report.
"I loved the story behind it, but I didn't have space for much of it in my book," he explained. "I'm delighted that American Journalism was able to publish the article, and I'm honored to have it recognized. I hope it brings more attention to the debates that the Hutchins Commission sparked, some of which are still raging today."
An Aristocracy of Critics: Luce, Hutchins, Niebuhr, and the Committee That Redefined Freedom of the Press, published by Yale University Press, is slated for release Oct. 27. The preeminent thinkers who comprised the Hutchins Commission "spent three years wrestling with subjects that are as pertinent as ever: partisan media and distorted news, activists who silence rather than rebut their opponents, conspiracy theories spread by shadowy groups, and the survivability of American democracy in a post-truth age," according to the publisher.
Bates will be officially recognized for his scholarship at AJHA's Virtual 2020 National Conference, its 39th annual convention, which will be held Oct. 2-3.