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January 26, 2015


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I can find no mention of this on the web but there was a liberal alternative to the Republic circa 1962 called The Arizona Journal. It was published by Robert Morrison, a Democrat who had been the state attorney general from 1955 to 1960. In 1958, he ran for governor against Paul Fannin. The Republic ran a smear campaign against him, alleging a youthful bad check charge, and Fannin won easily. Morrison's post-political revenge was that newspaper, something Democrats had long yearned for. Unfortunately, it was understaffed and undercapitalized, lasting only about one year.

Mecham's motivation for starting The Evening American, which was an afternoon newspaper, came after the Republic/Gazette endorsed Carl Hayden in the 1962 US Senate race. Mecham was the GOP nominee having beaten the establishment candidate Stephen Shadegg in the primary. The Republic was not liberal in any sane person's mind. It was, however, pragmatic:. It knew the 85 year-old Hayden was crucial to the passage of the CAP. Mecham, a John Bircher in all but name, saw a conspiracy. He did get 45% of the votes against Hayden, which was stunning given Mecham's pygmy stature in Arizona political life.

Eugene Pulliam was ridiculed and hated fervently by Democrats. He was not merely conservative but hard-right by the standards of that era. Growing up, I recall everyone trying to come with a mocking name for his newspapers (the Repulsive! The Kazoo!). His editorial page seemed to relish fighting yesterday's battles as if western civilization itself were at stake. His son-in-law, Michael Padev, wrote columns extolling Generalissimo Franco, a preoccupaton that mystified most people under 70. I did find this little nugget online, which is suggestive of Pulliam's hardliner instincts: http://www.leagle.com/decision/197531124ArizApp287_1237.xml/PHOENIX%20NEWSPAPERS,%20INC.%20v.%20CHURCH

Pulliam was crusty and seldom benign but he oversaw Arizona civic life like the Grand Seigneur he thought should be running things. His freaky-right politics were more paleo-conservative than today's Randian fervor. Eventually, the Republic mellowed but only briefly before the Grim Reaper of the Internet began its mass extinction. Today, we can see politics in Arizona as informed mostly by the rage and grievances of old white people against their perceived loss of privileges. Arizona is utterly different but its politics has revived an eerie resemblance to yesterday's tinfoil obsessions. Everything old is new again.

Golly gee whiz...
Such a simpler time.
Nowadays it takes 900 million to choke the life out of Democracy.

As a native Phoenician nearing 60, these retrospectives always make me sad for the present and future. And yet I continue reading them.

It's tempting, but wrong, to don rose colored glasses and wistfully yearn for the better days. But at least back then the area had a unique identity. Full of characters both good and evil, but home grown. Now, immigrants like McCain are what pass for leaders. Would it really be so hard to transplant Rose Mofford's brain into a 20-something's body?

I came across the word agitprop the other day. Agitprop:Political propaganda, disseminated through literature, drama, art, or music. Also usually associated with communism.

Your history of news papers and the inherent political persuasion of the publications is interesting.

The internet is fascinating.

About a week after I started delivering the Republic as a twelve year-old, my Dad told me that if I was going to throw it on peoples' porches, the least I could do was know what was in it.
It started a habit that's now lasted almost 60 years.
I'll never forget the four years that I got up at four every morning to peddle my bike and deliver it.

Phoenix was also the last stop on the way to the big time for many TV/radio people. Jonathan Brandmeier refined his act in the early 80s in the "Valley of the Loons."

Jon, I'm surprised you left out John Kolbe, who was Ev Mecham's worst nightmare, and Tom Fitzpatick, who was everyone's worst nightmare. Was there was any memory of them when you were at the Republic?


Of course there was. It was difficult to start naming the many stars and great writers without slighting a whole bunch. Where to cut it off? Thanks for mentioning these.

You forget the ultimate democrat disaster- AzScam.

That did more to put a cap in the democratic party, and thus we have had 25 years of the republican party.

Big winner, http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20140215ex-governor-hull-recalls-azscam.html

Yeah, but it really bagged the D party, and Fife used it to roll pretty hard at the next election, in spite of his own soon to be jailed troubles.

Now we start right off with Tobin stopping enforcement. Meh. Nice campaign payback, bayybe.

I could talk more, but I think I will just watch this stuff start turning sour.

The funny part is Ducey thinks he can be Prez in 6 years, but he doesn't get he is going to own the massive failures of state government, lock, stock, and barrel. And yet we can just cut it more, and expect it will work better!!!

Can blame J-no anymore, but the past administration will be good for some nice splats- and the leg is deluded.

On the media landscape it's worth mentioning the Arizona Journal, which published briefly in the early '60s, and was a "liberal-progressive" alternative to the Pulliam papers and Ev Meacham's right-wing Evening American. Its publisher was Thane Read, a friend of my mother's.

Pulliam wasn't always a knee-jerk right-winger. I remember in 1968 the Republic didn't take sides between Nixon and Humphrey in the presidential election. "Just don't vote for George Wallace" was its prescription.

In a city of seven million on a great day in January, how many papers is normal for a large city in the US we need more responsibly planned reporting and a few other editorials of any issue to be reviewed appropriately - like science research and also for instance getting bids on construction - things need review by many,

I used to ride to work with my father in 1972-1973. He always had on a radio show in the early morning, 5AM. I believe the radio show was the Len Engibretsen show.
It may have been KTAR? KOY?
Anywhere I can find more information about that program and topics, music, etc?

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