For almost 40 years, the most feared man in Washington was not the President, not the head of the FBI, not even the head of the Internal Revenue Service. It was a columnist whose only weapon was his typewriter. His disclosures drove men from public life, and destroyed the power and influence of others who remained in office.
President Franklin Rooaevelt called him “a chronic liar.” President Harry Tinaman used vulgar language to describe him. But few others had the courage to criticize him. His name was Drew Pearson, and his column appeared in more than 700 newspapers.
His widow has just permitted the posthumous publication of a book entitled THE DREW PEARSON DIARIES. For some 20 years, Pearson kept a secret diary which contains the news items he suppressed and did not print in his newspaper column.
The DIARIES reveal an interesting pattern of bias. By day, Pearson’s newspaper column kept up a steady stream of attack on anti-Communist leaders such as Senators Joseph McCarthy and Thomas Dodd. But the derogatory information which Pearson gathered about internationalists was kept from the public and written only in his secret diary.
For example, by day, Pearson’s newspaper columns were urging Senator Tom Hennings’ Committee to block the seating of Joseph McCarthy in the U.S. Senate; but at night, Pearson wrote in his secret diary that he had a hard time getting Hennings to do this because Hennings was drunk for weeks. Exasperated, Pearson wrote: “Tom [Hennings] is still not sober. He has been sleeping all day and getting up in the evening to drink again.”
The Pearson DIARIES tell how General Dwight Eisenhower wanted to divorce his wife and marry his chauffeur, a pretty young WAC named Kay Summersby; and was only prevented from doing so by his boss. General George Marshall. The Pearson DIARIES reveal the extramarital affairs of Senator Arthur Vandenberg, the leading sponsor of U.S. membership in the United Nations.
The Pearson DIARIES tell that One-Worlder Wendell Willkie said that Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek was the only woman he had ever been in love with, and that he was going to try and take her back with him to the United States. The Pearson DIARIES reveal that Winston Churchill floated in brandy, and was dead drunk during his conference with President Roosevelt when they wrote the Atlantic Charter. Maybe this is the reason why the document called the Atlantic Charter was never actually signed at that famous Roosevelt-Churchill meeting.
Investigative reporting is one of the great features of the free press we enjoy in the United States. But THE DREW PEARSON DIARIES prove that his newspaper columns were highly selective. It would appear that some reporters only expose the wrongdoing of those with whom they disagree.