The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America

By Richard C. Cortner | Go to book overview

tax of 2 percent put on every dollar the poor man gets and spends," the Progress claimed, "so it was felt that they should be glad to take a dose of their own medicine. They will pay only the same amount that they wanted the poor man to pay, and they can better afford it." The Kingfish himself also again defended the newspaper tax as a tax on lying, "at 2 cents a lie." In response, however, the Hammond Courier, which had just published a generally favorable article on Senator Long and Governor Allen, sent a check for twenty-five cents to the state treasury for the "twelve-and-a-half lies" it had published in the Long-Allen article.75

Editor & Publisher meanwhile continued to exhort the Louisiana newspapers to stand united in a fight against the newspaper tax and to challenge it in the courts. Demagogues in other states would soon adopt the Kingfish's tactics against the press, it warned, if his "assault is not met by united and militant press action." Long's attempt to regiment and intimidate the Louisiana press, it predicted, would begin "one of the fiercest battles that the roughneck demagogue has experienced." "An injunction should be sought to prevent the collection of the tax," Editor & Publisher advised. "The press and the nation must stand solidly with the Louisiana newspapers in this fight, for other brazen demagogues will follow any Long success.""Here is the challenge," it declared. "Meet it with the sure process of law if necessary carried to the U.S. Supreme Court!" A resort to the courts seemed logical since any attempt at redress regarding the newspaper tax was doomed to failure in the Long-dominated political process in Louisiana. But in the summer of 1934 it remained to be seen if the newspapers would follow Editor & Publisher's advice and thereby open a new chapter in the battle between Huey Long and the Louisiana press.76


NOTES
1.
T. Harry Williams, Huey Long ( New York: Knopf, 1969), p. 107.
2.
Ibid., pp. 429-30.
3.
Ibid., pp. 642, 692-93, 701.
4.
Ibid., pp. 662-63.
5.
American Progress, Nov. 16, 1933, p. 1.
6.
Ibid., Aug. 24, 1933, pp. 1, 4.
7.
Ibid.; William Ivy Hair, The Kingfish and His Realm ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991), p. 303; Glen Jeansonne, Messiah of the Masses: Huey P. Long and the Great Depression ( New York: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 127.
8.
American Progress, Sept. 14, 1933, p. 1.
9.
Ibid., Oct. 19, 1933, pp. 1, 6.
10.
Ibid.
11.
Ibid.
12.
Ibid.
13.
Ibid.

-92-

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The Kingfish and the Constitution: Huey Long, the First Amendment, and the Emergence of Modern Press Freedom in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Political Science ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: Huey Long, the Press, and the First Amendment in 1930 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 - The Kingfish and the "Lying Newspapers" of Louisiana 19
  • Notes 44
  • Chapter 3 - The Kingfish Goes National 47
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter 4 - Guiding the Newspapers in the "Path of Rectitude": Censorship by Taxation 67
  • Notes 92
  • Chapter 5 - The Press Counterattacks 95
  • Notes 116
  • Chapter 6 - The Grosjean Case before the Three-Judge Court 119
  • Notes 148
  • Chapter 7 - The Appeal to the Supreme Court 149
  • Notes 171
  • Chapter 8 - Epilogue 175
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliographical Essay 187
  • Index 191
  • About the Author 197
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