Ex-Newsweek Top Editor Osborn Elliott a Left-Wing Reagan-Basher

Osborn Elliott, the top editor of Newsweek  from 1961 to 1976 and Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism from 1979 to 1986, passed away last Sunday at age 83 (Monday, September 29 Washington Post obituary). He was retired when the Media Research Center was founded in 1987, but he didn't hesitate in 1992 and 1995 to express his hostility to conservatives and he serves as a reminder that the Angry Left populated the highest levels of the mainstream news media long before the blogosphere gave them new venues.

He helped to organize a “Save Our Cities” rally in 1992 where he accused Republicans of having “savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services,” denounced “Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery” and charged: “We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight.” (Screen shot is from that Saturday, May 16, 1992 event.)

Three years later he equated “Reaganism” with “social Darwinism” as he castigated journalists for being too nice to Reagan: “By failing to...adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us.”

The two quotes from the archive of the MRC's Notable Quotables:
"We hold accountable Republicans who have savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services. We hold accountable Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery...We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight."
-- Osborn Elliott, Newsweek editor-in-chief from 1961-76, in his speech as co-chairman of the "Save Our Cities" rally, May 16, 1992.

"By allowing a kind of social Darwinism -- aka Reaganism -- to go mostly unchallenged, and by failing on the other hand to adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us. These include a deficit that hobbles us and a debt load that will bend us low for years to come."
-- Former Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Osborn Elliott in the John Hershey Memorial Lecture, quoted in the March/April 1995 Columbia Journalism Review.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center