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A Test of the News

A Test of the News is a 1920 study done by Walter Lippmann, a US journalist, and Charles Merz, later editorial page editor of The New York Times. They examined press coverage of the Bolshevik revolution for a three-year period beginning with the overthrow of the tsar in February 1917. They used The New York Times as their source because of its reputation for accurate reporting.[1]

Their study came out as a forty two page supplement to The New Republic in August 1920 and demonstrated that the Times' coverage was neither unbiased nor accurate. They concluded that the paper's news stories were not based on facts, but were "dominated by the hopes of the men who composed the news organizations." The paper cited events that did not happen, atrocities that never took place, and reported no fewer than 91 times that the Bolshevik regime was on the verge of collapse. "The news about Russia is a case of seeing not what was, but what men wished to see," Lippmann and Merz charged. "The chief censor and the chief propagandist were hope and fear in the minds of reporters and editors."[1]


  1. ^ a b Steel, Ronald (May 1, 1999). Walter Lippmann and the American Century. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-7658-0464-6. 

2. "A Test of the News" from The New Republic