Katharine Graham, establishment rebel?
Jenny Brown
August 2001

Amid all the accolades by the rich and powerful for Katharine Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post who died July 17 ("Graham remembered for humor, grace" Gainesville Sun, July 24) we'd like to add a note of discord. Graham is credited with the publication of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate investigation that led to Richard Nixon's resignation, but there is much evidence that she was not a great defender of free speech, but rather a staunch defender of the establishment, the liberal wing of which worried that the war in Vietnam would lead to instability. Graham and editor Ben Bradlee, according to a biography so unofficial it was supressed, led the Post in alliances with the CIA agenda in Europe and elsewhere, union-busted at the paper, and used the influence of the Post not in the interests of journalistic integrity but in the service of the rich and powerful who now sing her praises.

Deborah Davis' book, Katherine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire, was "pulled from the bookstores and pulped" in 1979 after Graham objected to it. Davis, a noted investigative reporter, fought back, suing the publishers for censoring her book, and won. It was reissued by Sheridan Square Press in 1991. The book is available at the Civic Media Center ( 1021 W. University Ave.) for those who would like to get an outside view of this quintessential insider.

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