This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Begins with the disclaimer that he knows little about the stock market. The saying "everybody was in the market" was used to spread the blame. Talks about the Walter Winchell case. Winchell mentioned certain stocks as being "good buys." Sunday night tips caused great deal of action. Seldes talks about the last of these occasions. Specialists were called in to prevent a peculiar event from arising. Winchell used his own broadcast time slot to defend himself to the public. Had a representative to talk with him. No disagreement about the facts in the case. Winchell used his right to defend himself. Take this right away and you take away the right of free speech. We begin to wonder whether the first amendment applies in all of its aspects. Do we need a new charter to spell out the responsibilities in broadcasting in radio and television? The saying "somebody crying 'fire' in a crowded theater" assumes that there was no fire. But if there was a fire, then it would save lives. Does the right to say a stock is good include the right to say a stock is bad? Do the physics of television overcome the political morality of the first amendment? Haven't we created by television a new kind of authority without responsibility? Loaning money to Britain. One of the most important things we can do is educate people to listen critically. There is a greater effort in reading than in looking and listening. Propaganda comes to us when are critical senses are comparitively low. Newspapers are not fundamentally an entertainment medium. Radio and television are entertainment with a modicum of fact.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70369
Municipal archives id: LT6407