Quotable: Robert Scheer on truth and press freedom

“You know, AJ Liebling said, ‘Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.’ Well, I now own at least half of one, along with Zuade Kaufman, my publisher. So, you know, you can land on your feet. Your show, which, you know, a lot of us listen to as mainstream media now. And my wife, for instance, she’s a deputy editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, she sits in her parking lot listening to your show before she goes into her meetings. So alternative media is no longer really alternative, and we’re no longer that dependent upon newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times, for our information. You know, go to BuzzFlash or The Nation or TruthOut or TruthDig. There are many, many sites, as you’re well aware. So, I don’t want people to think, ‘Wow! They were able to silence me.’ Nonsense.

“Did they try to silence? Yes. The Tribune Company took over the Los Angeles Times. There are issues of media conglomeration. This was a newspaper that I had worked for for 30 years. The interviews in this book, with the exception of the Playboy interview with Jimmy Carter, were all done for the Los Angeles Times. I was nominated by the paper some 20 times for Pulitzer Prizes. You know, I was a finalist. So, you know, I had a very good relationship with this paper. Chicago Tribune, the Tribune Company took it over. They’re very conservative. The publisher definitely was ideologically opposed to my view. I was attacked by Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, sometimes nightly on O’Reilly. I mean, he called me the most dangerous columnist in the world or something.

“And I think that one of the problems is that I got it right. Now, that doesn’t give me any satisfaction. I would have been much happier if we could go into Iraq, and democracy would flourish, there would be no casualties, the oil revenue would pay for everything, the country was reborn as a democracy. I mean, I think most people who are against the war would have been very happy to have been proved wrong. But to have had your column ended after you got it right all those years, it shows where the paper is. “

–Robert Scheer, interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, July 10, 2006

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