Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The political evolution of George Creel: from progressive propagandist to conservative collaborator

Note for a Planned Article
(comments welcome; draft, not for citation)

Woodrow Wilson loyalist George Creel, a progressive journalist in his youth, became increasingly conservative, if not reactionary, as he aged. Moving to California in the 1920's after serving as chairman of the first U.S. government propaganda agency,

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the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919), he became involved in the Golden State's politics, failing to get the Democratic nomination for governor in 1934. Although he briefly served in the the Works Progress Administration and had aspired to play a role in USG propaganda during World War II, he became increasingly suspicious of New Deal big government and turned into a strongly anti-communist critic of the Roosevelt-Truman foreign policy. In the early 1950s he supported Richard Nixon for California senator and approved, as the Creel papers the Library of Congress document, Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-Red crusade. After Nixon was elected to the Senate, he invited Creel to lunch; the signed invitation can be found in the Creel Papers at the Library of Congress. Creel died in 1953 at age 77. Here's what he wrote (at age 71) in his autobiography, Rebel at Large (p. 370) on present-day "liberalism":

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