Difference between revisions of "Ben Bagdikian"

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'''Ben Haig Bagdikian''' (born [[1920]], [[Marash]], [[Ottoman Empire]]; now in [[Turkey]]) is an American educator and journalist of [[Armenian]] descent. Bagdikian has made journalism his profession since [[1941]]. He is a significant [[United States|American]] media critic and the dean emeritus of the [[University of California, Berkeley|University of California at Berkeley's]] Graduate School of Journalism. He is considered one of the most respected figures in American journalism. In [[1983]] Bagdikian published ''The Media Monopoly'', which revealed the fast-moving media conglomeration that was putting more and more media corporations in fewer and fewer hands with each new merger. This work has been updated through six editions (through [[2000]]) before being renamed ''The New Media Monopoly,'' and is considered a crucial resource for knowledge about media ownership.
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'''Ben-hur Haig Bagdikian'''<ref>{{cite book|last1=Taft|first1=William H.|title=Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Journalists|date=2016|publisher=Routledge|isbn=9781317403258|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=fecsCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=BAGDIKIAN,+Ben+Haig 19]}}</ref> (January 30, 1920 – March 11, 2016) was an [[Armenian Americans|Armenian-American]] journalist, news media critic and commentator,<ref>{{cite news|last1=Collins|first1=Glenn|title=Variety's New Look for New Readers|url=https://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/21/arts/variety-s-new-look-for-new-readers.html?pagewanted=all|work=[[The New York Times]]|date=21 February 1989|quote=Ben Bagdikian, the media commentator...}}</ref> and university professor.
  
==Books by Bagdikian==
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An [[Armenian Genocide]] survivor, Bagdikian moved to the United States as an infant and began a journalism career after serving in [[World War II]]. He worked as a local reporter, investigative journalist and foreign correspondent for ''[[The Providence Journal]]''. During his time there, he won a [[Peabody Award]] and a [[Pulitzer Prize]]. In 1971, he received parts of the ''[[Pentagon Papers]]'' from [[Daniel Ellsberg]] and successfully persuaded ''[[The Washington Post]]'' to publish them despite objections and threats from the [[Richard Nixon]] administration. Bagdikian later taught at the [[University of California, Berkeley]] [[University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism|Graduate School of Journalism]] and served as its dean from 1985 to 1988.
* ''In the Midst of Plenty: A New Report on the Poor in America'', Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
 
* ''The Information Machines: Their impact on Men and the Media'', New York: Harper, 1971, ISBN 0060902582
 
* ''The Effete Conspiracy and Other Crime by the Press'', New York: Harper, 1974. ISBN 0060903430
 
* ''Caged: Eight Prisoners & Their Keepers'', New York: Harper, 1976. ISBN 0060101741
 
* ''The Media Monopoly'', Boston: Beacon Press, 1983. ISBN 0807061794
 
** New Edition with extensions ''The New Media Monopoly'', Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. ISBN 0807061875
 
* ''Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life, and Profession'', Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. ISBN 0807070661
 
  
===As editor===
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Bagdikian was a noted critic of the news media.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=ix}} His 1983 book ''The Media Monopoly'', warning about the growing [[concentration of media ownership|concentration of corporate ownership of news organizations]], went through several editions and influenced, among others, [[Noam Chomsky]]. Bagdikian has been hailed for his ethical standards and has been described by [[Robert W. McChesney]] as one of the finest journalists of the 20th century.
* "Man's Contracting World in an Expanding Universe", ''Proceedings of the Brown University Convocation held in Providence, RI October 21-23, 1959'', Brown University, 1960.
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* "The Shame Of The Prisons", ''The Washington Post national report'', with Leon Dash, 1972.
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==Personal life==
* ''The Memoir of Lydia Bagdikian'', by Lydia Bagdikian, Berkeley, California: Private printing. Based on notebook diaries of Ben Bagdikian's older sister Lydia, 1997.
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===Background===
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Ben-Hur Haig Bagdikian,<ref name="WaPo"/><ref name="Pietsch"/> born in [[Marash]], [[Ottoman Empire]], on January 30, 1920, was the fifth and youngest child of Aram Toros "Theodore" Bagdikian{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=1}} (1882−1957) and Dudeh "Daisy" Uvezian (1886−1923).<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> He had four sisters.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=4}} His mother's family was well-off, while his father came from a peasant family. He did graduate work at the [[American University of Beirut]].{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=1}} The family was mostly based in [[Tarsus, Mersin|Tarsus]], where his father taught physics and chemistry at [[Saint Paul's Church, Tarsus|St. Paul's College]] in [[Tarsus, Mersin|Tarsus]], run by Boston [[Congregational church|Congregationalists]].<ref name="Pietsch"/><ref name="harvardsquarelibrary"/>{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=1}} His family knew English well.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=7}} His father also spoke Armenian, Turkish, Arabic, and learned the Biblical languages.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=10}}
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His family left Marash on February 9, 1920, just ten days after Ben was born. They left during the [[Armenian Genocide]],<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> as Turkish forces reached the city, while the French retreated.{{sfn|DiCanio|2002|p=67}} While escaping persecution, Bagdikian was dropped in the snow in the mountains while the family was climbing. Only an infant, he was thought to be dead. He was picked up when he began to cry.<ref name="WaPo"/><ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> They arrived, first, in Boston and subsequently settled in [[Stoneham, Massachusetts]]. His father was a pastor at several Armenian churches in the Boston area (in [[Watertown, Massachusetts|Watertown]], [[Cambridge, Massachusetts|Cambridge]]) and [[Worcester, Massachusetts|Worcester]]. He had taken courses at the [[Harvard Divinity School]] and had been ordained.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=8}} His mother was diagnosed with [[tuberculosis]] almost immediately after arrival in Boston and died three years later, after spending some time hospitalized in [[sanatorium]]s.<ref name="Pietsch"/>{{sfn|DiCanio|2002|pp=67-69}}
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Bagdikian was known throughout his life as Ben, though his baptismal name was Ben-Hur, after the Christian-themed historical novel ''[[Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ]]'' by [[Lew Wallace]].<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> Bagdikian grew up during the [[Great Depression]], which, according to [[Robert D. McFadden]], enforced a "passion for social justice that shaped his reporting."<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> He described himself as an "Armenian overlaid by, of all things, the culture of [[New England]] [[Yankee]]."<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/>
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===Religion===
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Due to his father's role, Bagdikian regularly attended sermons and "disliked the avenging God of the Old Testament and was outraged when Abraham was prepared to obey the order to sacrifice his son as a gesture of faith."<ref name="harvardsquarelibrary"/> Later in adulthood, Bagdikian became a member of the [[First Unitarian Church of Providence (Rhode Island)|First Unitarian Church of Providence]], a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Rhode Island.<ref name="harvardsquarelibrary"/>
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===Education and military service===
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Bagdikian initially aspired to become a doctor because of his mother's illness and his father's collection of books on [[pulmonary diseases]] that he read.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=19}} He graduated from [[Stoneham High School]] in 1937.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=187}} He thereafter attended [[Clark University]], in Worcester, Massachusetts, as a [[pre-medical]] student.<ref name="harvardsquarelibrary"/> He was editor of ''The Clark News'', the college newspaper. He renamed it to ''The Clark Scarlet'', based on the school's colors. The university president, [[Wallace Walter Atwood]], suspected it was too closely associated with [[communism]].<ref name="clarku">{{cite news|first=Jim|last=Keogh|title=Ben Bagdikian '41 championed the public's right to know|url=https://clarknow.clarku.edu/2016/03/16/ben-bagdikian-41-championed-the-publics-right-to-know/|work=clarku.edu|publisher=[[Clark University]]|date=16 March 2016|access-date=19 January 2019|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20190119161059/https://clarknow.clarku.edu/2016/03/16/ben-bagdikian-41-championed-the-publics-right-to-know/|archive-date=19 January 2019|url-status=bot: unknown}}()</ref>{{sfn|Rubens|2011|pp=20-21}} Having taken many chemistry courses he sought to apply for a job as a chemist upon graduating from Clark in 1941.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=187}}<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> He had the opportunity to work as a lab assistant at [[Monsanto]] in Springfield, Massachusetts.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=22}}
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He served as a navigator ([[first lieutenant]]) in the [[United States Army Air Forces]] from May 1942 to January 1946.<ref name="agbu">{{cite book|author1=Our Boys Committee|title=Armenian-American Veterans of World War II|date=1951|publisher=[[Armenian General Benevolent Union]] of America|location=New York|page=[https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015029136465;view=1up;seq=189;size=125 173]}}<!-- https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/imgsrv/image?id=mdp.39015029136465;seq=189;width=850 --></ref><ref name="nyt McFadden"/> He had volunteered to joined the Air Forces immediately after the [[attack on Pearl Harbor]] in December 1941.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=32}}
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===Marriages===
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Bagdikian married Elizabeth (Betty) Ogasapian in 1942, with whom he had two sons: Aram Christopher "Chris" Bagdikian (1944−2015) and Frederick, Jr. "Eric" Bagdikian (born 1951). They divorced in 1972.<ref name="Pietsch"/><ref name="nyt McFadden"/> His second marriage, to [[Betty Medsger]], a ''[[The Washington Post|Washington Post]]'' reporter, ended in divorce as well.<ref name="WaPo"/> His third wife was Marlene Griffith, whom he married in 1983.<ref name="Pietsch"/><ref name="nyt McFadden"/>
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===Death===
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Bagdikian died at his home in [[Berkeley, California]], on March 11, 2016, aged 96.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/><ref>{{cite news|title=Ben H. Bagdikian dies at 96; journalist who helped publish the Pentagon Papers|url=http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ben-bagdikian-20160311-story.html|work=[[Los Angeles Times]]|publisher=via [[Associated Press]]|date=11 March 2016}}</ref> A memorial service was held at the [[Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley]] on June 2, 2016.<ref>{{cite web|title=Memorial service to be held July 2 for Ben Bagdikian|url=https://journalism.berkeley.edu/ben-bagdikian/|website=journalism.berkeley.edu|publisher=[[UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism]]|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171014191849/https://journalism.berkeley.edu/ben-bagdikian/|archivedate=14 October 2017|date=23 June 2016}}</ref>
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==Career==
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Throughout his career, Bagdikian contributed to more than 200 national magazines and journals.<ref name="whoswho"/>
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During his college years Bagdikian worked as a reporter for the ''Worcester Gazette'' and ''[[The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts)|Springfield Morning Union]]''.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=19}}<ref name="sfgate"/> After World War II he briefly joined the staff of ''Flying Traveler'', a magazine for private flying in New York.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=37}}
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===''The Providence Journal''===
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Bagdikian began working for the ''[[Providence Journal]]'' in 1947 as a reporter and [[Washington, D.C.|Washington]] bureau chief. He also served as a local reporter. Bagdikian and ''Journal'' editor and publisher Sevellon Brown won a [[Peabody Award]] in 1951 for their "most exacting, thorough and readable check-up of broadcasts" of [[Walter Winchell]], [[Drew Pearson (journalist)|Drew Pearson]], and [[Fulton Lewis]], leading TV and radio commentators.<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/><ref name="WaPo"/> He was a member of the staff that received the [[1953 Pulitzer Prize|1953]] [[Pulitzer Prize]] [[Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, Edition Time|for Local Reporting, Edition Time]] for coverage of a bank robbery in [[East Providence, Rhode Island|East Providence]] (including an ensuing police chase and hostage standoff) that resulted in the death of a patrolman.<ref name="providencejournal"/><ref name="nyt McFadden"/> Bagdikian later described the paper as one of the better papers, besides their pro-[[Republican Party (United States)|Republican]] and [[Union busting|anti-union]] editorials.{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=43}}
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As a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, he covered the [[Suez Crisis]] in the fall of 1956 riding with an Israeli tank crew.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> In 1957, Bagdikian covered the [[civil rights movement]], especially the [[Little Rock Nine|crisis]] in [[Little Rock, Arkansas]].<ref>{{cite news|title=Ben Bagdikian, journalist who helped publish the Pentagon Papers, dies|url=https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/11/ben-bagdikian-pentagon-papers-journalist-dies|work=[[The Guardian]]|publisher=via [[Associated Press]]|date=12 March 2016}}</ref> In the fall of that year he traveled to the South with black reporter James "Jim" N. Rhea<ref name="providencejournal"/><ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> to cover the widespread discontent of the whites with the [[Brown v. Board of Education|Supreme Court order to desegregate public schools]].{{sfn|DiCanio|2002|p=70}}
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===Freelance===
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Bagdikian began a freelance career after leaving the ''Providence Journal'' in 1961.<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> He researched media matters at the [[Library of Congress]] with the [[Guggenheim Fellowship]] he was awarded in 1961.<ref name="Guggenheim"/><ref name="sfgate"/> Subsequently, he was a Washington-based contributing editor of ''[[The Saturday Evening Post]]'' from 1963 to 1967. He also wrote for ''[[The New York Times Magazine]]'' when he focused on social issues, such as poverty, housing, and migration. Bagdikian researched news media at the [[RAND Corporation]] in 1969–70 and published a book titled ''The Information Machines: Their Impact on Men and the Media'' in 1971․ Edwin B. Parker of Stanford University praised the report for its readability, and breadth and depth of Bagdikian's "perception of technological and economic trends and his insight into potential social and political consequences."<ref>{{cite journal|last1=Parker|first1=Edwin B.|title=Reviewed Work: The Information Machines: Their Impact on Men and the Media. by Ben H. Bagdikian|journal=[[Public Opinion Quarterly]]|date=Autumn 1971|volume=35|issue=3|pages=504–505|jstor=2747948}}</ref>
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===''The Washington Post''===
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Bagdikian joined ''[[The Washington Post]]'' in 1970 and later served as its assistant managing editor and in 1972 its second [[ombudsman]] as a representative of the readers.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/><ref name="WaPo"/>
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In June 1971 Bagdikian, as the assistant managing editor for national news at the ''Post'', met with [[Daniel Ellsberg]], a military analyst, who passed him 4,000 pages of the ''[[Pentagon Papers]]'', excerpts from which were published by ''The New York Times'' days earlier and halted by a federal judge.<ref name="WaPo"/> While the ''Post'' lawyers and management were opposed,{{sfn|Witcover|1971|p=11}} Bagdikian argued strongly in favor of publication of the documents despite pressure from the Nixon administration not to on national security grounds.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> Bagdikian famously stated: "the (only) way to assert the right to publish is to publish."<ref name="WaPo"/><ref>{{cite book|last1=Flink|first1=Stanley E.|title=Sentinel Under Siege: The Triumphs and Troubles of America's Free Press|date=1997|publisher=[[Westview Press]]|isbn=9780813333441|page=[https://archive.org/details/sentinelundersie00flin_0/page/61 61]|url=https://archive.org/details/sentinelundersie00flin_0/page/61}}</ref><ref>{{cite book|last1=Graham|first1=Katharine|authorlink1=Katharine Graham|editor1-last=King|editor1-first=Elliot|editor2-last=Chapman|editor2-first=Jane L.|editor2-link=Jane Chapman|title=Key Readings in Journalism|chapter=[[Personal History]]|date=2012|publisher=Routledge|isbn=9781135767679|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=QSKCxz7DKcwC&pg=PA248&lpg=PA248&dq=the+only+way+to+assert+the+right+to+publish+is+to+publish 248]}}</ref><ref>{{cite book|last1=Ungar|first1=Sanford J.|authorlink1=Sanford J. Ungar|title=The Papers and the Papers|url=https://archive.org/details/paperspapersacco00ungarich|url-access=registration|date=1972|publisher=[[E. P. Dutton]]|location=New York|page=[https://archive.org/details/paperspapersacco00ungarich/page/144 144]}}</ref>{{sfn|Hayes|2008|p=56}} The first part was published by the ''Post'' on June 18, 1971.{{sfn|Witcover|1971|p=12}} [[William Rehnquist]] phoned ''Post'' executive editor [[Ben Bradlee]] and threatened him with prosecution if the publication of the documents was not stopped. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court [[New York Times Co. v. United States|decided]] 6–3 that "to exercise [[prior restraint]], the Government must show sufficient evidence that the publication would cause a 'grave and irreparable' danger."<ref name="WaPo"/>
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Just months after the publication of the ''Pentagon Papers'' Bagdikian became an undercover inmate at the [[State Correctional Institution – Huntingdon|Huntingdon State Correctional Institution]], a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania, to expose the harsh prison conditions.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> With permission from the attorney general of Pennsylvania, he disguised himself as a murderer to observe the prison life without the knowledge of anyone inside the prison. He remained there for six days and his eight-part series on the conditions of the prison were published in the ''Post'' from January 29 to February 6, 1972.<ref>{{cite web|title="The Shame of the Prisons"- Ben Bagdikian - Washington Post|url=http://dlib.nyu.edu/undercover/shame-prisons-ben-bagdikian-washington-post|publisher=[[New York University]] |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171014182524/http://dlib.nyu.edu/undercover/shame-prisons-ben-bagdikian-washington-post|archivedate=14 October 2017}}</ref> He reported "widespread racial tension behind bars, outbursts of violence, open 'homosexualism' and an elaborate, yet fragile, code of etiquette." Bagdikian and ''Post'' reporter [[Leon Dash]] published the series first as a report in 1972 and later as a book (1976).<ref>{{cite book |last1=Bagdikian |first1=Ben H. |title=Caged: Eight Prisoners and Their Keepers |date=1976 |publisher=[[Harper (publisher)|Harper & Row]] |isbn=978-0060101749 |url=https://archive.org/details/cagedeightprison0000bagd }}</ref><ref name="WaPo"/>
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Bagdikian left the ''Post'' in August 1972 after clashing with Bradlee "as a conduit of outside and internal complaints."<ref name="WaPo"/><ref>{{cite book|last1=Nemeth|first1=Neil|title=News Ombudsmen in North America: Assessing an Experiment in Social Responsibility|chapter=The News Ombudsman at the Washington Post|date=2003|publisher=[[Greenwood Publishing Group]]|pp=[https://books.google.am/books?id=zCffxlaFbnkC&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=Bagdikian+washington+post+1972 50, 60]|isbn=9780313321368}}</ref>
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===UC Berkeley===
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Bagdikian wrote for the ''[[Columbia Journalism Review]]'' from 1972 to 1974.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> He taught at [[University of California, Berkeley]] from 1976 until his retirement in 1990. He taught courses such as Introduction to Journalism and Ethics in Journalism.<ref>{{cite news|last1=Pao|first1=Roann|title=Ben Bagdikian, reporter and former campus Graduate School of Journalism dean, dies at 96|url=http://www.dailycal.org/2016/03/14/ben-bagdikian-reporter-former-campus-graduate-school-journalism-dean-dies-96/|work=[[The Daily Californian]]|agency=[[University of California, Berkeley]]|date=14 March 2016}}</ref> He was the dean of the [[UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism]] from 1985 to 1988.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/><ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> He was named Professor Emeritus upon departure.<ref>{{cite book|last1=Silverblatt|first1=Art|last2=Enright Eliceiri|first2=Ellen M.|title=Dictionary of Media Literacy|date=1997|publisher=[[Greenwood Publishing Group]]|isbn=9780313297434|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=SxuLleZCuVUC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=professor+emeritus+Bagdikian 19]}}</ref>
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==Media criticism==
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{{quote box
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| width  = 26%
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| align  = right
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| quote  = "Never forget that your obligation is to the people. It is not, at heart, to those who pay you, or to your editor, or to your sources, or to your friends, or to the advancement of your career. It is to the public."
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| source = &nbsp;—Bagdikian to students<ref name="nyt McFadden"/><ref name="Nichols nation"/> }}
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In an interview with [[PBS]]'s ''[[Frontline (U.S. TV series)|Frontline]]'' Bagdikian stated that while the [[First Amendment to the United States Constitution|First Amendment]] allows newspapers to print anything, especially unpopular things, newspapers have an implied moral obligation to be responsible, because of their power on popular opinion and because the First Amendment was "framed with the supposition that there would be multiple sources of information."<ref name="frontline"/>
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Bagdikian was an early advocate of in-house critics, or ombudsmen in newspapers, who he believed, would "address public concerns about journalistic practices."<ref name="WaPo"/> He described the treatment of news about tobacco and related health issues as "one of the original sins of the media," because "for decades, there was suppression of medical evidence ... plain suppression."<ref name="frontline"/> Bagdikian criticized the wide use of [[Source (journalism)#Anonymous sources|anonymous sources]] in news media, the acceptance of government narratives by reporters, particularly on "national security" grounds.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> Bagdikian formulated a law, dubbed the Bagdikian Law of Journalism: "The accuracy of news reports of an event is inversely proportional to the number of reporters on the scene."<ref name="nyt McFadden"/>
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He was a harsh critic of TV news and the celebrity status of news anchors, which he argued, was the "worst thing that can happen to a journalist." He noted, "The job of the celebrity is to be observed, to make sure others learn about him or her, to be the object of attention rather than an observer."<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> Bagdikian stressed the importance of local media. He argued that only locally based journalism can adequately report the local issues and candidates, otherwise "voters become captives of the only alternative information, paid political propaganda, or no information at all."<ref name="Nichols nation"/> Regarding online journalism, Bagdikian stated that although there is "lots of junk on it, but it’s still an outlet for an independent with no money but plenty of ingenuity and skill, like [[MoveOn.org]]. It’s not controlled by the corporations. Not yet."<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/>
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Bagdikian was a regular ''New York Times'' reader, and appreciated ''[[The Nation]]'', ''[[The Progressive]]'', alternative radio, ''[[The New York Review of Books]]''; he also read ''[[Time (magazine)|Time]]'' and ''[[Newsweek]]'' to "get a view of the total picture most magazine readers are getting." He also occasionally read the ''[[National Review]]'' and ''[[The Weekly Standard]]'' "to know what the right is thinking." Bagdikian recommended ''The Nation'', ''The Progressive'' and ''Newsweek'' for those who wanted to stay informed but have limited time to do so.<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/>
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In 1987 Bagdikian testified on the effects of profit on news reporting before the [[United States House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology|House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology]], along with economist [[John Kenneth Galbraith]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Telecommunications Professor John Galbraith and Professor Ben Bagdikian testified on the effects of profit on news reporting.|url=https://www.c-span.org/video/?172148-1/telecommunications|website=c-span.org|publisher=[[C-SPAN]]|date=28 April 1987}}</ref> Both Galbraith and Bagdikian voiced their concerns about the takeover of TV networks by large corporations.<ref>{{cite news |title=Corporations Threaten TV, Witnesses Say |url=https://www.nytimes.com/1987/04/29/arts/corporations-threaten-tv-witnesses-say.html |work=[[The New York Times]] |date=29 April 1987}}</ref>
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==Publications==
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Bagdikian's first book, ''In the Midst of Plenty: The Poor in America'', was published in 1964 by [[Beacon Press]] and covered various categories of poverty in America, including the [[Social and economic stratification in Appalachia|poor in Appalachia]], the elderly in Los Angeles, men in [[flophouse]]s in Chicago, and others.<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> His studies at the [[RAND Corporation]] produced two books: ''The Information Machines: Their Impact on Men and the Media'' and ''The Effete Conspiracy and Other Crimes by the Press'', published by [[Harper & Row]] in 1971 and 1972, respectively.<ref>{{cite web|last1=Ellis|first1=Justin|title=Summer Reading 2013: “The Information Machines: Their Impact on Men and the Media” by Ben H. Bagdikian (1971)|url=http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/08/summer-reading-2013-the-information-machines-their-impact-on-men-and-the-media-by-ben-h-bagdikian-1971/|website=niemanlab.org|publisher=[[Nieman Foundation for Journalism|Nieman Journalism Lab]]|date=7 August 2013}}</ref>
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His memoir, ''Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life and Profession'', was published by Beacon Press in 1995.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/><ref>{{cite news|last1=Lochner|first1=Tom|title=Former UC Berkeley journalism Dean Ben Bagdikian dies at 96|url=http://www.times-standard.com/article/zz/20160311/NEWS/160318399|work=[[Times-Standard]]|date=11 March 2016|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171014092826/http://www.times-standard.com/article/zz/20160311/NEWS/160318399|archivedate=14 October 2017}}</ref>
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===''The Media Monopoly''===
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In 1983 Bagdikian authored a widely cited and acclaimed work,<ref>{{cite book|last1=Collins|first1=Ronald K. L.|last2=Chaltain|first2=Sam|authorlink1=Ronald K. L. Collins|authorlink2=Sam Chaltain|title=We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free: Stories of Free Expression in America|date=2011|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=9780195175721|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=wo8RDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA337 337]|quote=He is the author of the widely acclaimed book The Media Monopoly.}}</ref> ''The Media Monopoly'', which was published by [[Beacon Press]] after it was rejected by [[Simon & Schuster]].<ref>{{cite news|last1=McDowell|first1=Edwin|title=Censhorship raised in book dispute|url=https://www.nytimes.com/1983/04/09/books/censorship-raised-in-book-dispute.html|work=[[The New York Times]]|date=9 April 1983}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|title=An independent Boston publisher said Wednesday it would not...|url=https://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/04/07/An-independent-Boston-publisher-said-Wednesday-it-would-not/3676418539600/|agency=[[United Press International]]|date=7 April 1983}}</ref> [[Richard E. Snyder]], Simon & Schuster's president, was, according to Bagdikian, "vehemently opposed to the manuscript, because, among other reasons, [Snyder] felt it made all corporations look bad."<ref>{{cite news|last=Hacker|first=Andrew|authorlink=Andrew Hacker|title=Our Ministry of Information|url=https://www.nytimes.com/1983/06/26/books/our-ministry-of-information.html?pagewanted=all|work=[[The New York Times]]|date=26 June 1983}}</ref> The book examines the increasing concentration of the media in the US in the hands of corporate owners, which, he argued, threatened freedom of expression and independent journalism. He wrote that some 50 corporations controlled what most people in the United States read and watched.<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> Bagdikian argued that "media power is political power."<ref>{{cite web|title=Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly (Beacon Press, 1983)|url=https://journalism.nyu.edu/publishing/archives/portfolio/books/book46.html|website=journalism.nyu.edu|publisher=[[New York University]]|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171016112641/https://journalism.nyu.edu/publishing/archives/portfolio/books/book46.html|archivedate=16 October 2017}}</ref> The book went into 5 more editions—in 1987, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2000. In 2004, ''The New Media Monopoly'' was published, essentially the 7th edition of the original.<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/> In 2000 Bagdikian stated, "Every edition has been considered by some to be alarmist and every edition ends up being too conservative."<ref>{{cite news|last1=Zuckerman|first1=Laurence|title=Questions Abound as Media Influence Grows for a Handful|url=https://mobile.nytimes.com/2000/01/13/business/media-megadeal-the-power-questions-abound-as-media-influence-grows-for-a-handful.html|work=[[The New York Times]]|date=13 January 2000}}</ref> In this latest version, Bagdikian wrote that the number of corporations controlling most of the media decreased to five: [[The Walt Disney Company|Disney]], [[News Corporation (1980–2013)|News Corporation]], [[WarnerMedia|Time Warner]], [[Viacom (1952–2006)|Viacom]], and [[Bertelsmann]].<ref>{{cite book|last1=Mirrlees|first1=Tanner|title=Global Entertainment Media: Between Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Globalization|date=2013|publisher=Routledge|isbn=9781136334658|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=bKnNISWnoMQC&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=Bagdikian+2004+five+news+corporation 77]}}</ref> He argued, "This gives each of the five corporations and their leaders more communications power than was exercised by any despot or dictatorship in history."<ref name="nyt McFadden"/>
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The book became a "standard text for many college classes"<ref>{{cite news|last1=Streshinsky|first1=Maria|title="Is Basic Social Justice Really a Matter of Personal Opinion?"|url=https://www.motherjones.com/media/2016/03/ben-bagdikian-tribute/|work=[[Mother Jones (magazine)|Mother Jones]]|date=15 March 2016|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171015135721/https://www.motherjones.com/media/2016/03/ben-bagdikian-tribute/|archivedate=15 October 2017}}</ref> and, along with ''[[Manufacturing Consent]]'' by [[Edward S. Herman]] and [[Noam Chomsky]], in the opinion of [[Neil Henry (journalist)|Neil Henry]], is a work that is the "most widely cited scholarly work about the effects of economics on modern news media practices, including market and political pressures that determine news content."<ref>{{cite book|last1=Henry|first1=Neil|authorlink1=Neil Henry (journalist)|title=American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media|date=2007|publisher=University of California Press|isbn=9780520931541|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=pCP569gGM0AC&pg=PA12&dq=chomsky++Bagdikian 12]}}</ref> The book was criticized by some for alleged bias and inaccuracies.<ref>{{cite news|last1=Shafer|first1=Jack|authorlink1=Jack Shafer|title=The Media Monotony|url=http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/press_box/2004/08/the_media_monotony.html|work=[[Slate (magazine)|Slate]]|date=4 August 2004}}</ref> ''[[The Christian Science Monitor]]'', though accepting such problems, declared that it is a "groundbreaking work that charts a historic shift in the orientation of the majority of America's communications media—further away from the needs of the individual and closer to those of big business."<ref>{{cite news|last1=Manuel|first1=Bruce|title=Dangers of media concentration|url=https://www.csmonitor.com/1983/0810/081003.html|work=[[The Christian Science Monitor]]|date=10 August 1983}}</ref>
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==Political views==
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Bagdikian was a self-proclaimed advocate for [[social justice]].{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=ix}} He described the [[McCarthyism|McCarthy era]] as "very reactionary."{{sfn|Rubens|2011|p=43}} In 1997 Bagdikian opined that "criticizing capitalism has never been a popular subject in the general news."<ref>{{cite news|last1=Wines|first1=Michael|authorlink1=Michael Wines|title=Looking for Something to Say About Nothing|url=https://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/13/weekinreview/looking-for-something-to-say-about-nothing.html|work=[[The New York Times]]|date=13 April 1997}}</ref> In the [[2000 U.S. presidential election]] Bagdikian endorsed [[Ralph Nader]], the [[Green Party of the United States|Green Party]] [[Ralph Nader presidential campaign, 2000|candidate]]. He was a founding member of the grassroots network Armenians for Nader. He stated: "I think Ralph Nader has already powerfully defined the issues in this campaign and has had influence on the positions of both major party candidates."<ref>{{cite news|title="Armenians for Nader" Committeee<!--sic--> Formed|url=http://asbarez.com/43527/armenians-for-nader-committeee-formed/|work=[[Asbarez]]|date=1 September 2000}}</ref> He argued that "there's a natural hostility among corporate organizations toward Nader, because they see him as the person who's embarrassed them endlessly and sees them as part of the national political problem."<ref>{{cite web|last1=Welch|first1=Matt|authorlink1=Matt Welch|title=Ralphing on the Media|url=http://www.ojr.org/ojr/workplace/1017962759.php|publisher=Online Journalism Review|date=3 November 2000}}</ref>
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He appeared on [[KPFK]] along with [[Serj Tankian]] and [[Peter Balakian]] on April 24, 2005 to talk about the Armenian Genocide.<ref>{{cite web|title=KPFK 90.7 to Air Program on Armenian Genocide|url=http://asbarez.com/52089/kpfk-907-to-air-program-on-armenian-genocide/|website=[[Asbarez]]|date=22 April 2005}}</ref>
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The [[Federal Bureau of Investigation]] (FBI) had a 200-page file on Bagdikian spanning from 1951 to 1971. One document described him as well known in FBI files as a "writer who has criticized the FBI in the past. He has made snide remarks relative to" FBI director [[J. Edgar Hoover]] and "some of his work has been described [specifically, by Hoover] as 'utter bunk'."<ref>{{cite web|last1=Leopold|first1=Jason|authorlink1=Jason Leopold|title=Government officials have long watched journalists who pissed them off.|url=https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/paame7/heres-what-j-edgar-hoover-called-fake-news-v24n7|publisher=[[Vice News]]|archiveurl=https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:CkTfokv4a9oJ:https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/paame7/heres-what-j-edgar-hoover-called-fake-news-v24n7+&cd=38&hl=hy&ct=clnk&gl=am|archivedate=14 October 2017|date=7 September 2017}}</ref> When Bagdikian requested all his FBI record under the [[Freedom of Information Act (United States)|Freedom of Information Act]] in 1975, the FBI withheld records on the part he played in the Pentagon Papers case. They were not released until 2018.<ref>{{cite web |last1=Rosenfeld |first1=Seth |authorlink1=Seth Rosenfeld |title=The FBI’s secret investigation of Ben Bagdikian and the Pentagon Papers |url=https://www.cjr.org/investigation/ben-bagdikian-pentagon-papers.php |publisher=[[Columbia Journalism Review]] |date=29 August 2018}}</ref>
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 +
==Legacy and recognition==
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[[C. Edwin Baker]] describes Bagdikian as "probably the most quoted, certainly one of the most acute, commentators on media ownership."<ref>{{cite book|last1=Baker|first1=C. Edwin|authorlink1=C. Edwin Baker|title=Media Concentration and Democracy: Why Ownership Matters|date=2006|publisher=[[Cambridge University Press]]|isbn=9781139461030|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=yxA1Cc8pB3UC&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=probably+the+most+quoted+certainly+one+of+the+most 54]}}</ref> Arthur S. Hayes, [[Fordham University]] professor, wrote in his 2008 book ''Press Critics Are the Fifth Estate'' that Bagdikian has been "farsighted, inspirational, influential, long lasting, and a forerunner."{{sfn|Hayes|2008|p=54}}<ref name="WaPo"/> Sociologist [[Alfred McClung Lee]] praised Bagdikian as having the virtues of both an investigative journalist and a participant-observing social scientist.<ref>{{cite journal|last1=McClung Lee|first1=Alfred|authorlink1=Alfred McClung Lee|title=Reviewed Work: The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian|journal=[[Contemporary Sociology]]|date=March 1984|volume=13|issue=2|pages=173–174|publisher=[[American Sociological Association]]|jstor=2068881}}</ref> [[Robert D. McFadden]] of ''[[The New York Times]]'' called Bagdikian "a celebrated voice of conscience for his profession, calling for tougher standards of integrity and public service in an era of changing tastes and technology."<ref name="nyt McFadden"/> Edward Wasserman, the dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism at the time of his death, Bagdikian was a "major figure in 20th century US journalism and journalism education, and we’re all his beneficiaries."<ref>{{cite news|last1=Kennedy|first1=Mark|title=Ben Bagdikian, 96; helped publish Pentagon Papers|url=https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/obituaries/2016/03/12/ben-bagdikian-mourned-major-figure-journalism/uoGVQzlkPpUoEscX89HKGN/story.html|work=[[The Boston Globe]]|date=13 March 2016}}</ref><ref name="sfgate"/> [[Jeff Cohen (media critic)|Jeff Cohen]], the founder of the media watch group [[Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting]] (FAIR) stated:
 +
{{quote frame|From Day One, no journalist more influenced FAIR’s standard media critique than Ben Bagdikian. The first edition of his ''Media Monopoly'' was our bible.<ref>{{cite web|last1=Cohen|first1=Jeff|authorlink1=Jeff Cohen (media critic)|title=Ben Bagdikian, Visionary|url=http://fair.org/home/ben-bagdikian-visionary/|publisher=[[Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting]]|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171005184437/http://fair.org/home/ben-bagdikian-visionary/|archivedate=5 October 2017|date=12 March 2016}}</ref>}}
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[[Robert W. McChesney]], who cites Bagdikian as one of the strongest influences on him, called Bagdikian one of the finest journalists of the 20th century.{{sfn|McChesney|2008|p=23}} McChesney argued that Bagdikian was "certainly accorded more respect by working journalists" than Herman and Chomsky, the authors of ''Manufacturing Consent'', due to their perceived radicalism, in contrast to Bagdikian's liberal views.{{sfn|McChesney|2008|p=517}} Progressive journalist and writer [[John Nichols (journalist)|John Nichols]], writing for ''[[The Nation]]'', called Bagdikian a "pioneering media reformer."<ref name="Nichols nation"/> In an interview with ''[[Democracy Now!]]'', he said of Bagdikian :
 +
{{quote frame|He was our great inspiration. [...] If you were to ask Noam Chomsky and so many other folks who have really identified the challenges of media today, they all go back to Bagdikian, this incredible journalist, an Armenian-American immigrant who became the best in his field and then stepped out of his field, became a critic and a commentator, and essentially said, "Look, this monopolization is going to put so much power in a handful of corporate elites that we will begin to lose journalism." Clearly, that has happened.<ref name="democracynow"/>}}
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The ''Pentagon Papers'' controversy at ''The Washington Post'' was recounted in the [[Steven Spielberg]] film ''[[The Post (film)|The Post]]'' (2017), where Bagdikian was played by [[Bob Odenkirk]].<ref>{{cite web |last1=Ciampaglia |first1=Dante A. |title='Better Call Saul' Star Bob Odenkirk Talks Playing 'Washington Post Reporter Ben Bagdikian in 'The Post' |url=https://www.newsweek.com/better-call-saul-star-bob-odenkirk-talks-playing-washington-post-reporter-ben-754659 |website=[[Newsweek]] |date=22 December 2017}}</ref>
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 +
===Awards and honors===
 +
*[[Peabody Award]] (1950)<ref>{{cite web|title=Providence Journal, Its Editor and Publisher, Sevellon Brown, and Ben Bagdikian, Reporter for the Series of Articles Analyzing the Broadcasts of Top Commentators|url=http://www.peabodyawards.com/award-profile/special-award-for-a-series-of-articles-analyzing-the-broadcasts-of-top-comm|website=peabodyawards.com}}</ref>
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*[[Pulitzer Prize]] [[Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting|for Local Reporting, Edition Time]] (staff contributor; [[1953 Pulitzer Prize|1953]])<ref>{{cite web|title=The 1953 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Local Reporting - Edition time|url=http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/editorial-staff-1|website=pulitzer.org|publisher=The Pulitzer Prizes}}</ref>
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*[[The Hillman Prize|Hillman Prize]] (1956) for his series on [[civil liberties]]<ref>{{cite web|title=The Hillman Prize Previous Honorees|url=http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/hillman-prizes/us/honorees?field_category_value=All&field_year_value=All&field_honoree_value=&page=13&order=field_year&sort=desc|website=hillmanfoundation.org}}</ref>
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*[[Guggenheim Fellowship]] (1961)<ref name="Guggenheim">{{cite news|title=Ben H. Bagdikian|url=https://www.gf.org/fellows/all-fellows/ben-h-bagdikian/|work=gf.org|publisher=[[John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation]]}}</ref>
 +
*[[James Madison Award]] (1998)<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet"/><ref name="whoswho"/>
 +
 
 +
Bagdikian received honorary degrees, among others, from<ref name="whoswho"/> [[Brown University]] (Doctor of Humane Letters, 1961),<ref>{{cite web|title=Honorary Degrees: 1900s|url=https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/corporation/1900s|website=brown.edu}}</ref> [[Clark University]] (Doctor of Letters, 1963),<ref name="clarku"/> Berkeley Citation from [[University of California, Berkeley]] (equivalent of an honorary degree, 1990),<ref>{{cite web|title=Berkeley Citation – Past Recipients|url=https://awards.berkeley.edu/berkeley-citation/recipients|website=berkeley.edu}}</ref><ref name="sfgate"/> [[University of Rhode Island]] (Doctor of Letters, 1992).<ref>{{cite web|title=Honorary Degree Recipients|url=http://web.uri.edu/commencement/honorary-degree-recipients/|website=uri.edu}}</ref> He was the [[commencement speech|commencement speaker]] of the 1972 Journalism Convocation of [[Northwestern University]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Northwestern University Commencement Speakers, 1892-2016|url=http://sites.northwestern.edu/jco124/files/2016/06/Commencement-and-Convocation-Speakers-rj2w3u.pdf|website=northwestern.edu|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171006225355/http://sites.northwestern.edu/jco124/files/2016/06/Commencement-and-Convocation-Speakers-rj2w3u.pdf|archivedate=6 October 2017}}</ref>
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The fellowship program of the progressive magazine ''[[Mother Jones (magazine)|Mother Jones]]'' is named for Bagdikian due to his "professional record, his personal integrity, and his commitment to social justice."<ref>{{cite news|title=About Ben Bagdikian|url=https://www.motherjones.com/about/about-ben-bagdikian/|work=[[Mother Jones (magazine)|Mother Jones]]|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171005184912/https://www.motherjones.com/about/about-ben-bagdikian/|archivedate=5 October 2017}}</ref>
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Bagdikian was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame on October 30, 2016. According to the board he had "long and significant ties to Rhode Island."<ref>{{cite news|title=Newsman Ben Bagdikian among 14 inducted into RI Heritage Hall of Fame|url=http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20161030/newsman-ben-bagdikian-among-14-inducted-into-ri-heritage-hall-of-fame|work=[[The Providence Journal]]|date=30 October 2016}}</ref>
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 +
==References==
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{{reflist|refs=
 +
 
 +
<ref name="nyt McFadden">{{cite news|last1=McFadden|first1=Robert D.|authorlink1=Robert D. McFadden|title=Ben H. Bagdikian, Reporter of Broad Range and Conscience, Dies at 96|url=https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/12/business/media/ben-h-bagdikian-reporter-of-broad-range-and-conscience-dies-at-96.html?_r=1|work=[[The New York Times]]|date=11 March 2016}}</ref>
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<ref name="WaPo">{{cite news|last1=Schudel|first1=Matt|title=Ben H. Bagdikian, journalist with key role in Pentagon Papers case, dies at 96|url=https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/ben-h-bagdikian-media-critic-and-journalist-with-key-role-in-pentagon-papers-case-dies-at-96/2016/03/11/9515bb8c-e7bb-11e5-bc08-3e03a5b41910_story.html|work=[[The Washington Post]]|date=11 March 2016}}</ref>
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<ref name="democracynow">{{cite news|last1=Goodman|first1=Amy|authorlink1=Amy Goodman|title=Remembering Journalist & Media Critic Ben Bagdikian, Author of "The Media Monopoly"|url=https://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/16/remembering_journalist_media_critic_ben_bagdikian|work=[[Democracy Now!]]|date=16 March 2016}}</ref>
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 +
<ref name="providencejournal">{{cite news|last1=Jablon|first1=Robert|title=Media commentator Ben Bagdikian dies at 96; shared Pulitzer at Providence Journal|url=http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20160312/media-commentator-ben-bagdikian-dies-at-96-shared-pulitzer-at-providence-journal|work=[[The Providence Journal]]|date=12 March 2016}}</ref>
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<ref name="berkeleydailyplanet">{{cite news|last1=Bryant|first1=Dorothy|title=Bagdikian’s Long Journey to Journalistic Heights|url=http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2004-06-01/article/18986|work=[[Berkeley Daily Planet]]|date=1 June 2004|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171005180123/http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2004-06-01/article/18986?headline=Bagdikian-s-Long-Journey-to-Journalistic-Heights--By-Dorothy-Bryant-Special-to-the-Planet|archivedate=5 October 2017}}</ref>
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<ref name="whoswho">{{cite book|editor1-last=Sleeman|editor1-first=Elizabeth|title=International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004|chapter=Bagdikian, Ben Haig|date=2003|publisher=[[Taylor & Francis]]|isbn=9781857431797|page=[https://books.google.am/books?id=phhhHT64kIMC&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=bagdikian 28]|edition=19th}}</ref>
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 +
<ref name="sfgate">{{cite news|last1=Nolte|first1=Carl|authorlink1=Carl Nolte|title=Ben Bagdikian, noted media critic, dies at 96|url=http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Ben-Bagdikian-noted-media-critic-dies-at-96-6884955.php|work=[[San Francisco Chronicle]]|date=11 March 2016|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171005183012/http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Ben-Bagdikian-noted-media-critic-dies-at-96-6884955.php|archivedate=5 October 2017}}</ref>
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 +
<ref name="Nichols nation">{{cite news|last1=Nichols|first1=John|authorlink1=John Nichols (journalist)|title=Ben Bagdikian Knew That Journalism Must Serve the People—Not the Powerful|url=https://www.thenation.com/article/ben-bagdikian-knew-that-journalism-must-serve-the-people-not-the-powerful/|work=[[The Nation]]|date=14 March 2016}}</ref>
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 +
<ref name="Pietsch">{{cite web|author1=T. W. Pietsch III|title=Baghdikian Family Genealogy|url=http://faculty.washington.edu/twp/files/pdf/Bagdikian.pdf|website=washington.edu|publisher=[[University of Washington]]|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171005181751/http://faculty.washington.edu/twp/files/pdf/Bagdikian.pdf|archivedate=5 October 2017}}</ref>
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<ref name="harvardsquarelibrary">{{cite book|editor1-last=Vetter|editor1-first=Herbert F.|title=Notable American Unitarians 1936-1961|location=Cambridge, Massachusetts|date=2007|publisher=Harvard Square Library|isbn=978-0-6151-4784-0|pages=[https://books.google.am/books?id=w5vIopoWMaUC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=bagdikian 12–13]}} [https://web.archive.org/web/20171015135710/http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/ben-h-bagdikian/ archived text]</ref>
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<ref name="frontline">{{cite web|title=Smoke in the Eye: Interview with Ben Bagdikian|url=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/smoke/interviews/bagdikian.html|website=[[Frontline (U.S. TV series)|Frontline]]|publisher=[[PBS]]|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20171017201541/http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/smoke/interviews/bagdikian.html|archivedate=17 October 2017|date=1996}}</ref>
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 +
}}
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==Bibliography==
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*{{cite book|last=McChesney|first=Robert W.|authorlink=Robert W. McChesney|title=The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas|date=2008|publisher=[[New York University Press]]|isbn=9781583671610|ref=harv}}
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*{{cite book|last1=DiCanio|first1=Margaret|title=Memory Fragments from the Armenian Genocide: A Mosaic of a Shared Heritage|chapter=Ben Bagdikian|publisher=[[iUniverse|Mystery and Suspense Press]]|location=New York|isbn=0-595-23865-3|pages=[https://books.google.am/books?id=Ku12fw9–GLsC&pg=PA66&lpg=PA66&dq=Bagdikian 66–73]|year=2002|ref=harv}}
 +
*{{cite journal|last=Witcover|first=Jules|authorlink=Jules Witcover|title=Two weeks that shook the press|journal=[[Columbia Journalism Review]]|date=September 1971|volume=10|issue=3|pp=7–15|url=https://search.proquest.com/openview/487774f2a8e061caa3349a4d93dc2b96/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1817229|ref=harv}}
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*{{cite book|last=Hayes|first=Arthur S.|title=Press Critics are the Fifth Estate: Media Watchdogs in America|date=2008|publisher=[[Greenwood Publishing Group|Praeger]]|isbn=9780275999100|ref=harv}}
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*{{cite web |last1=Rubens |first1=Lisa |title=Ben H. Bagdikian |url=http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/narrators/bagdikian_ben.html |year=2011|publisher=Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, [[University of California, Berkeley]] |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20190114090010/http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/roho/ucb/text/bagdikian_ben.pdf |archivedate=14 January 2019|ref=harv}}
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
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*{{C-SPAN|Ben Bagdikian}}
 
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bagdikian Wikipedia article]
 
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bagdikian Wikipedia article]
  

Latest revision as of 12:15, 13 February 2020

Ben_Bagdikian&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png Ben Bagdikian Mars symbol.svg
Bagdikian.jpg
'
Birthplace Marash
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Birth date 30 January 1920
Death place Berkeley
Death date 2016/03/11
Death year 2016
Dialects Western Armenian
Ancestral villages Marash
Awards Pulitzer Prize, Peabody Prize
Major works The Media Monopoly

Ben-hur Haig Bagdikian[1] (January 30, 1920 – March 11, 2016) was an Armenian-American journalist, news media critic and commentator,[2] and university professor.

An Armenian Genocide survivor, Bagdikian moved to the United States as an infant and began a journalism career after serving in World War II. He worked as a local reporter, investigative journalist and foreign correspondent for The Providence Journal. During his time there, he won a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize. In 1971, he received parts of the Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg and successfully persuaded The Washington Post to publish them despite objections and threats from the Richard Nixon administration. Bagdikian later taught at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and served as its dean from 1985 to 1988.

Bagdikian was a noted critic of the news media.Template:Sfn His 1983 book The Media Monopoly, warning about the growing concentration of corporate ownership of news organizations, went through several editions and influenced, among others, Noam Chomsky. Bagdikian has been hailed for his ethical standards and has been described by Robert W. McChesney as one of the finest journalists of the 20th century.

Personal life

Background

Ben-Hur Haig Bagdikian,[3][4] born in Marash, Ottoman Empire, on January 30, 1920, was the fifth and youngest child of Aram Toros "Theodore" BagdikianTemplate:Sfn (1882−1957) and Dudeh "Daisy" Uvezian (1886−1923).[5] He had four sisters.Template:Sfn His mother's family was well-off, while his father came from a peasant family. He did graduate work at the American University of Beirut.Template:Sfn The family was mostly based in Tarsus, where his father taught physics and chemistry at St. Paul's College in Tarsus, run by Boston Congregationalists.[4][6]Template:Sfn His family knew English well.Template:Sfn His father also spoke Armenian, Turkish, Arabic, and learned the Biblical languages.Template:Sfn

His family left Marash on February 9, 1920, just ten days after Ben was born. They left during the Armenian Genocide,[5] as Turkish forces reached the city, while the French retreated.Template:Sfn While escaping persecution, Bagdikian was dropped in the snow in the mountains while the family was climbing. Only an infant, he was thought to be dead. He was picked up when he began to cry.[3][7] They arrived, first, in Boston and subsequently settled in Stoneham, Massachusetts. His father was a pastor at several Armenian churches in the Boston area (in Watertown, Cambridge) and Worcester. He had taken courses at the Harvard Divinity School and had been ordained.Template:Sfn His mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis almost immediately after arrival in Boston and died three years later, after spending some time hospitalized in sanatoriums.[4]Template:Sfn

Bagdikian was known throughout his life as Ben, though his baptismal name was Ben-Hur, after the Christian-themed historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace.[7] Bagdikian grew up during the Great Depression, which, according to Robert D. McFadden, enforced a "passion for social justice that shaped his reporting."[5] He described himself as an "Armenian overlaid by, of all things, the culture of New England Yankee."[7]

Religion

Due to his father's role, Bagdikian regularly attended sermons and "disliked the avenging God of the Old Testament and was outraged when Abraham was prepared to obey the order to sacrifice his son as a gesture of faith."[6] Later in adulthood, Bagdikian became a member of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Rhode Island.[6]

Education and military service

Bagdikian initially aspired to become a doctor because of his mother's illness and his father's collection of books on pulmonary diseases that he read.Template:Sfn He graduated from Stoneham High School in 1937.Template:Sfn He thereafter attended Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts, as a pre-medical student.[6] He was editor of The Clark News, the college newspaper. He renamed it to The Clark Scarlet, based on the school's colors. The university president, Wallace Walter Atwood, suspected it was too closely associated with communism.[8]Template:Sfn Having taken many chemistry courses he sought to apply for a job as a chemist upon graduating from Clark in 1941.Template:Sfn[7] He had the opportunity to work as a lab assistant at Monsanto in Springfield, Massachusetts.Template:Sfn

He served as a navigator (first lieutenant) in the United States Army Air Forces from May 1942 to January 1946.[9][5] He had volunteered to joined the Air Forces immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.Template:Sfn

Marriages

Bagdikian married Elizabeth (Betty) Ogasapian in 1942, with whom he had two sons: Aram Christopher "Chris" Bagdikian (1944−2015) and Frederick, Jr. "Eric" Bagdikian (born 1951). They divorced in 1972.[4][5] His second marriage, to Betty Medsger, a Washington Post reporter, ended in divorce as well.[3] His third wife was Marlene Griffith, whom he married in 1983.[4][5]

Death

Bagdikian died at his home in Berkeley, California, on March 11, 2016, aged 96.[5][10] A memorial service was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley on June 2, 2016.[11]

Career

Throughout his career, Bagdikian contributed to more than 200 national magazines and journals.[12]

During his college years Bagdikian worked as a reporter for the Worcester Gazette and Springfield Morning Union.Template:Sfn[13] After World War II he briefly joined the staff of Flying Traveler, a magazine for private flying in New York.Template:Sfn

The Providence Journal

Bagdikian began working for the Providence Journal in 1947 as a reporter and Washington bureau chief. He also served as a local reporter. Bagdikian and Journal editor and publisher Sevellon Brown won a Peabody Award in 1951 for their "most exacting, thorough and readable check-up of broadcasts" of Walter Winchell, Drew Pearson, and Fulton Lewis, leading TV and radio commentators.[7][3] He was a member of the staff that received the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, Edition Time for coverage of a bank robbery in East Providence (including an ensuing police chase and hostage standoff) that resulted in the death of a patrolman.[14][5] Bagdikian later described the paper as one of the better papers, besides their pro-Republican and anti-union editorials.Template:Sfn

As a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, he covered the Suez Crisis in the fall of 1956 riding with an Israeli tank crew.[5] In 1957, Bagdikian covered the civil rights movement, especially the crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas.[15] In the fall of that year he traveled to the South with black reporter James "Jim" N. Rhea[14][7] to cover the widespread discontent of the whites with the Supreme Court order to desegregate public schools.Template:Sfn

Freelance

Bagdikian began a freelance career after leaving the Providence Journal in 1961.[7] He researched media matters at the Library of Congress with the Guggenheim Fellowship he was awarded in 1961.[16][13] Subsequently, he was a Washington-based contributing editor of The Saturday Evening Post from 1963 to 1967. He also wrote for The New York Times Magazine when he focused on social issues, such as poverty, housing, and migration. Bagdikian researched news media at the RAND Corporation in 1969–70 and published a book titled The Information Machines: Their Impact on Men and the Media in 1971․ Edwin B. Parker of Stanford University praised the report for its readability, and breadth and depth of Bagdikian's "perception of technological and economic trends and his insight into potential social and political consequences."[17]

The Washington Post

Bagdikian joined The Washington Post in 1970 and later served as its assistant managing editor and in 1972 its second ombudsman as a representative of the readers.[5][3]

In June 1971 Bagdikian, as the assistant managing editor for national news at the Post, met with Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst, who passed him 4,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers, excerpts from which were published by The New York Times days earlier and halted by a federal judge.[3] While the Post lawyers and management were opposed,Template:Sfn Bagdikian argued strongly in favor of publication of the documents despite pressure from the Nixon administration not to on national security grounds.[5] Bagdikian famously stated: "the (only) way to assert the right to publish is to publish."[3][18][19][20]Template:Sfn The first part was published by the Post on June 18, 1971.Template:Sfn William Rehnquist phoned Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and threatened him with prosecution if the publication of the documents was not stopped. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court decided 6–3 that "to exercise prior restraint, the Government must show sufficient evidence that the publication would cause a 'grave and irreparable' danger."[3]

Just months after the publication of the Pentagon Papers Bagdikian became an undercover inmate at the Huntingdon State Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania, to expose the harsh prison conditions.[5] With permission from the attorney general of Pennsylvania, he disguised himself as a murderer to observe the prison life without the knowledge of anyone inside the prison. He remained there for six days and his eight-part series on the conditions of the prison were published in the Post from January 29 to February 6, 1972.[21] He reported "widespread racial tension behind bars, outbursts of violence, open 'homosexualism' and an elaborate, yet fragile, code of etiquette." Bagdikian and Post reporter Leon Dash published the series first as a report in 1972 and later as a book (1976).[22][3]

Bagdikian left the Post in August 1972 after clashing with Bradlee "as a conduit of outside and internal complaints."[3][23]

UC Berkeley

Bagdikian wrote for the Columbia Journalism Review from 1972 to 1974.[5] He taught at University of California, Berkeley from 1976 until his retirement in 1990. He taught courses such as Introduction to Journalism and Ethics in Journalism.[24] He was the dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism from 1985 to 1988.[5][7] He was named Professor Emeritus upon departure.[25]

Media criticism

Template:Quote box

In an interview with PBS's Frontline Bagdikian stated that while the First Amendment allows newspapers to print anything, especially unpopular things, newspapers have an implied moral obligation to be responsible, because of their power on popular opinion and because the First Amendment was "framed with the supposition that there would be multiple sources of information."[26]

Bagdikian was an early advocate of in-house critics, or ombudsmen in newspapers, who he believed, would "address public concerns about journalistic practices."[3] He described the treatment of news about tobacco and related health issues as "one of the original sins of the media," because "for decades, there was suppression of medical evidence ... plain suppression."[26] Bagdikian criticized the wide use of anonymous sources in news media, the acceptance of government narratives by reporters, particularly on "national security" grounds.[5] Bagdikian formulated a law, dubbed the Bagdikian Law of Journalism: "The accuracy of news reports of an event is inversely proportional to the number of reporters on the scene."[5]

He was a harsh critic of TV news and the celebrity status of news anchors, which he argued, was the "worst thing that can happen to a journalist." He noted, "The job of the celebrity is to be observed, to make sure others learn about him or her, to be the object of attention rather than an observer."[5] Bagdikian stressed the importance of local media. He argued that only locally based journalism can adequately report the local issues and candidates, otherwise "voters become captives of the only alternative information, paid political propaganda, or no information at all."[27] Regarding online journalism, Bagdikian stated that although there is "lots of junk on it, but it’s still an outlet for an independent with no money but plenty of ingenuity and skill, like MoveOn.org. It’s not controlled by the corporations. Not yet."[7]

Bagdikian was a regular New York Times reader, and appreciated The Nation, The Progressive, alternative radio, The New York Review of Books; he also read Time and Newsweek to "get a view of the total picture most magazine readers are getting." He also occasionally read the National Review and The Weekly Standard "to know what the right is thinking." Bagdikian recommended The Nation, The Progressive and Newsweek for those who wanted to stay informed but have limited time to do so.[7]

In 1987 Bagdikian testified on the effects of profit on news reporting before the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, along with economist John Kenneth Galbraith.[28] Both Galbraith and Bagdikian voiced their concerns about the takeover of TV networks by large corporations.[29]

Publications

Bagdikian's first book, In the Midst of Plenty: The Poor in America, was published in 1964 by Beacon Press and covered various categories of poverty in America, including the poor in Appalachia, the elderly in Los Angeles, men in flophouses in Chicago, and others.[7] His studies at the RAND Corporation produced two books: The Information Machines: Their Impact on Men and the Media and The Effete Conspiracy and Other Crimes by the Press, published by Harper & Row in 1971 and 1972, respectively.[30]

His memoir, Double Vision: Reflections on My Heritage, Life and Profession, was published by Beacon Press in 1995.[5][31]

The Media Monopoly

In 1983 Bagdikian authored a widely cited and acclaimed work,[32] The Media Monopoly, which was published by Beacon Press after it was rejected by Simon & Schuster.[33][34] Richard E. Snyder, Simon & Schuster's president, was, according to Bagdikian, "vehemently opposed to the manuscript, because, among other reasons, [Snyder] felt it made all corporations look bad."[35] The book examines the increasing concentration of the media in the US in the hands of corporate owners, which, he argued, threatened freedom of expression and independent journalism. He wrote that some 50 corporations controlled what most people in the United States read and watched.[5] Bagdikian argued that "media power is political power."[36] The book went into 5 more editions—in 1987, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2000. In 2004, The New Media Monopoly was published, essentially the 7th edition of the original.[7] In 2000 Bagdikian stated, "Every edition has been considered by some to be alarmist and every edition ends up being too conservative."[37] In this latest version, Bagdikian wrote that the number of corporations controlling most of the media decreased to five: Disney, News Corporation, Time Warner, Viacom, and Bertelsmann.[38] He argued, "This gives each of the five corporations and their leaders more communications power than was exercised by any despot or dictatorship in history."[5]

The book became a "standard text for many college classes"[39] and, along with Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, in the opinion of Neil Henry, is a work that is the "most widely cited scholarly work about the effects of economics on modern news media practices, including market and political pressures that determine news content."[40] The book was criticized by some for alleged bias and inaccuracies.[41] The Christian Science Monitor, though accepting such problems, declared that it is a "groundbreaking work that charts a historic shift in the orientation of the majority of America's communications media—further away from the needs of the individual and closer to those of big business."[42]

Political views

Bagdikian was a self-proclaimed advocate for social justice.Template:Sfn He described the McCarthy era as "very reactionary."Template:Sfn In 1997 Bagdikian opined that "criticizing capitalism has never been a popular subject in the general news."[43] In the 2000 U.S. presidential election Bagdikian endorsed Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate. He was a founding member of the grassroots network Armenians for Nader. He stated: "I think Ralph Nader has already powerfully defined the issues in this campaign and has had influence on the positions of both major party candidates."[44] He argued that "there's a natural hostility among corporate organizations toward Nader, because they see him as the person who's embarrassed them endlessly and sees them as part of the national political problem."[45]

He appeared on KPFK along with Serj Tankian and Peter Balakian on April 24, 2005 to talk about the Armenian Genocide.[46]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had a 200-page file on Bagdikian spanning from 1951 to 1971. One document described him as well known in FBI files as a "writer who has criticized the FBI in the past. He has made snide remarks relative to" FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and "some of his work has been described [specifically, by Hoover] as 'utter bunk'."[47] When Bagdikian requested all his FBI record under the Freedom of Information Act in 1975, the FBI withheld records on the part he played in the Pentagon Papers case. They were not released until 2018.[48]

Legacy and recognition

C. Edwin Baker describes Bagdikian as "probably the most quoted, certainly one of the most acute, commentators on media ownership."[49] Arthur S. Hayes, Fordham University professor, wrote in his 2008 book Press Critics Are the Fifth Estate that Bagdikian has been "farsighted, inspirational, influential, long lasting, and a forerunner."Template:Sfn[3] Sociologist Alfred McClung Lee praised Bagdikian as having the virtues of both an investigative journalist and a participant-observing social scientist.[50] Robert D. McFadden of The New York Times called Bagdikian "a celebrated voice of conscience for his profession, calling for tougher standards of integrity and public service in an era of changing tastes and technology."[5] Edward Wasserman, the dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism at the time of his death, Bagdikian was a "major figure in 20th century US journalism and journalism education, and we’re all his beneficiaries."[51][13] Jeff Cohen, the founder of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) stated: Template:Quote frame

Robert W. McChesney, who cites Bagdikian as one of the strongest influences on him, called Bagdikian one of the finest journalists of the 20th century.Template:Sfn McChesney argued that Bagdikian was "certainly accorded more respect by working journalists" than Herman and Chomsky, the authors of Manufacturing Consent, due to their perceived radicalism, in contrast to Bagdikian's liberal views.Template:Sfn Progressive journalist and writer John Nichols, writing for The Nation, called Bagdikian a "pioneering media reformer."[27] In an interview with Democracy Now!, he said of Bagdikian : Template:Quote frame

The Pentagon Papers controversy at The Washington Post was recounted in the Steven Spielberg film The Post (2017), where Bagdikian was played by Bob Odenkirk.[52]

Awards and honors

Bagdikian received honorary degrees, among others, from[12] Brown University (Doctor of Humane Letters, 1961),[56] Clark University (Doctor of Letters, 1963),[8] Berkeley Citation from University of California, Berkeley (equivalent of an honorary degree, 1990),[57][13] University of Rhode Island (Doctor of Letters, 1992).[58] He was the commencement speaker of the 1972 Journalism Convocation of Northwestern University.[59]

The fellowship program of the progressive magazine Mother Jones is named for Bagdikian due to his "professional record, his personal integrity, and his commitment to social justice."[60]

Bagdikian was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame on October 30, 2016. According to the board he had "long and significant ties to Rhode Island."[61]

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Bibliography

External links

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