The suggestion was dropped. Cooper, Kent Cooper , To keep possibly wavering colleagues in line, McConniek entered an application for membership for an afternoon daily in the Chicago area. The Tribune had no afternoon edition nor were there plans to start such a paper.
The circulation front was bleak as well. The newspaper started out selling about , copies, but sales fell to less than one-fourth of that total after several weeks. Becker, Marshall Field , , , The Sun was in such dire straits that several of McCormick's advisers suggested that he not block Field's AP membership and simply let Field drown in his bills. Waldrop, McCormick of Chicago , Roosevelt personally had requested the Justice Department to intervene on behalf of a friend in Chicago.
See also Gies, Colonel of Chicago , —4. No doubt the president was interested in the suit and in helping Field.
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Roosevelt did specifically approve the justice Department's action. And, in another context, Interior Secretary Harold L. The monetary formula was set at the meeting. The AP board of directors was not satisfied with the simple majority vote to override the protest rights recommended by the bylaws committee and suggested dropping the four-fifths vote required since AP's founding to a two-thirds vote.
The bylaws committee prevailed on the vote requirement. In February , members again considered the monetary compensation to be paid by applicants seeking memberships in fields where protest rights were involved. A study had shown a dramatic difference between the 10 percent of the total assessment figure and that for three times the current assessment. Members voted to have new applicants pay only 10 percent of the total assessment since Walter E.
Knight, interestingly, saw the bylaw reform dealing with the election of the board of directors as the most important change enacted by the Associated Press. John S.
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Knight, letter to author, 12 June The board was virtually self-perpetuating: no limits existed on the number of terms a member could serve, and many of the earliest members of the Associated Press could cast weighted votes in the elections for directors, thus, perhaps, slowing reform. Although votes were east, only members were present. The other votes were cast by proxies, which had been earnestly sought by both McCormick and Field.
Eleanor Patterson was also excluded from membership. The Associated Press's involvement in interstate commerce was established in a U. Supreme Court decision, Associated Press v. National Labor Relations Board , U. This case involved the right of an Associated Press employee to orgaize for the American Newspaper Guild. One of the arguments used by the AP was that the employee's activities overrode the impartiality necessary for a journalist.
The government used this supervisory role of the media's business operations in the antitrust suit as it attempted to become the protector of First Amendment rights from those within the press community who would abuse them. Press comment against the suit was naturally hostile. Record, One way around existing protest rights was to purchase an AP membership from a newspaper that had gone out of business or that was not using the membership.
Transfer prices, as indicated in the suit, were very high. Hearst refused the offer, claiming that the membership was needed for his Sunday edition. Tebbel, An American Dynasty , Many AP members carried their memberships on their corporate ledgers as assets of equally high value. So dominant was the Associated Press in the morning newspaper field that the Justice Department found that every morning newspaper with a circulation of 25, or more had access to AP service—except the Chicago Sun. All eighteen members of the board and their newspapers were named as specific defendants in the suit.
All other members of the Associated Press were named as defendants as a class. An abbreviated version of the statement was carried as a news story. Newspaper attitudes toward the government then reflected those of the business community, which was concerned about government intervention for the public good.
McCormick's view of government intervention was shown in a series of newspaper articles that began running in the Tribune in January Attorney General Biddle came under increasing fire for not suspending the suit. Such criticism may have peaked in when he announced that the Department of Justice had postponed the trial of twenty-four antitrust cases and the investigation of two more for the duration of the war.
Knight bought the Daily News from Knox's estate in and continued he printing agreement. In , Field bought the Chicago Times —and its printing plant. Such a purchase had been suggested when Field first considered entering the Chicago market and, had he followed this suggestion, the Associated Press antitrust case might have been avoided.
For a few months in late and early , Field issued a tabloid edition of the Sun in the morning and of the Times in the afternoon.
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In March , he combined the two into a tabloid morning newspaper, the Sun-Times. The U. International News Service v. Associated Press , U. Justice Louis D. Brandeis dissented from that opinion, opening the way for development of the argument that news-gathering agencies might be clothed with a public interest that required them to serve all potential customers.
McCormick enjoyed drawing parallels between contemporary journalistic problems and difficulties encountered by the press in history. In fact, he wrote a book on the subject, The Freedom of the Press New York , , in which he traced the evolution of that freedom from English experience. Prairie Farmer Publishing Co. The American Civil Liberties Union declined to enter the ease because the group saw no civil liberties issue involved.
New York Times , 9 July , Some queries raised interesting points. The government, for instanee, asked McCormick about his actions prior to the initial vote on Field's application and disecovered that McCormick's representatives were trying to obtain proxies against Field's application at the same time that the FBI was trying to find out what the colonel was doing to keep Field out of the AP. The responses also revealed that AP members received at least two proxy requests from McCormick because so many proxy forms were being distributed by various individuals that members were signing multiple forms, thus negating the form's value.
Record, — For his part, McCormick tried to determine whether Field had requested Justice Department assistance befor or after his application for membership was rejected. Record, 80— The Department of Justice also wanted the exclusive news-sharing pact between the Associated Press and its Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Press, declared illegal because its provisions kept non-AP members from obtaining news of Canada.
The Marshall Fields: The Evolution of an American Business Dynasty
Associated Press , 52 F. Paul, Minn. Although the comments may have been radical for legal decisions, the idea that the federal government should intervene in press operations to ensure a full and free flow of information to the public had been gaining increasing popularity with critics of media performance throughout the s. The AP antitrust suit simply gave the judicial community an opportunity to put some of the critics' theories into action.
The suggested judgment required the abolition of consideration of competitive potential when membership applications were voted on. The Justice Department also asked the court to retain jurisdiction to ensure that the bylaw changes were enacted and followed. The Associated Press had submitted a proposed judgment as well. Its proposal was longer than that of the Justice Department and dealt with the agency's perception of certain facts—among them that some newspapers had been founded and prospered without AP service and that, although the Associated Press served 81 percent of the daily morning newspapers with 96 percent of the circulation, the United Press was used by 40 percent of the morning papers with 64 percent of the circulation.
Both items apparently sought to dispell the notion of AP indispensability to a successful newspaper operation. No action was taken on the resolution. The years surrounding the AP case were filled with ASNE efforts to promote worldwide freedom of information, giving rise to speculation that the editors did not see the antitrust action as a threat to freedom of information at home. See Blanchard , Margaret A. The oral arguments apparently led the news service to expect a favorable decision.
This assessment was based on the tenor of questioning from the bench and on what observers perceived to be a division of opinion among the justices. Robert U. Parties to the suit voiced some concern immediately after the oral arguments that the Supreme Court would send the case back to the lower court to be tried on its merits. A sampling of law review articles on the subject reveals both praise for holding that the Associated Press was violating antitrust law and derision for the invention of new antitrust doctrine.
The Associated Press Antitrust Suit: A Philosophical Clash over Ownership of First Amendment Rights
June : — The AP board maintained that the ruling was confusing and impossible to implement. Part of this confusion stemmed from the order to rewrite the membership application bylaws. The AP was told to do this, but the news agency was not told what language the Court would find acceptable.
McCormick was not the only journalist seeking congressional relief from judicial intrusion. David Lawrence of United States News , another conservative fearful of government influence on the press, told members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in that the First Amendment had become outdated.
Washington, D. Lasch was chief editorial writer for Field's Chicago Sun. Mason, a member of the House since , served the twelfth congressional district of Illinois. Although an actual connection between the two is difficult to find, Mason and McCormick were, at the least, philosophical soulmates. Mason's maiden speech on the floor of the House attacked President Roosevelt's plan to add justices to the Supreme Court.
The Illinois representative opposed the New Deal, lend-lease, membership in the United Nations, and foreign aid.