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Intellectual Heft: A.J. Liebling as an Opponent of Anti-Intellectualism in American Journalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Intellectual Heft: A.J. Liebling as Opponent of Anti-Intellectualism 23. Conclusion As much as Liebling addressed the four categories of anti-intellectualism discussed in this paper, he always maintained a special contempt for the pseudo-intellectual, or the intellectual who attempts to criticize without benefit of a properly supportive level of intelligence. In a November, 1946 Wayward Press, Liebling takes on Charles Gotthart, a Chicago Tribune writer assigned to cover New York (Liebling, being cheeky, calls him a foreign correspondent). Gotthart wrote about several New York papers, and complained that they had gone pink—i.e., had become overrun with Communist ideas. This is Liebling’s main beef with Gotthart, so most of this column fits into Liebling’s defense against populist anti-elitism. But Liebling ends his piece by exposing Gotthart’s buffoonery, because, as Slate’s Jack Shafer points out, Liebling “made readers laugh, but for a reason: A window opens when a man laughs, a window through which you can insert an idea” (Shafer, 2004). As for Gotthart’s buffoonery, Liebling picks on the Trib writer’s assessment of the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, weekly magazines that Gotthart believes have gone “pink.” Liebling then quotes the Gotthart original: “Lacking in qualities inspired by the Midwest brand of Americanism, these weeklies fail to offer their readers anything remotely approaching the physical content of a good Sunday newspaper. The CHICAGO SUNDAY TRIBUNE, FOR EXAMPLE, weighs 32 ounces; these magazines, five.” (1946d, p. 88) Liebling continues: The italics are mine; I use them because I immediately realized that Gotthart had discovered a tangible basis for the appraisal of journalistic values, and, what was equally important, a procedure for its application. Under Gotthart’s Law, it was

Authors: Lerner, Kevin.
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Intellectual Heft: A.J. Liebling as Opponent of Anti-Intellectualism 
As much as Liebling addressed the four categories of anti-intellectualism discussed in 
this paper, he always maintained a special contempt for the pseudo-intellectual, or the 
intellectual who attempts to criticize without benefit of a properly supportive level of intelligence. 
In a November, 1946 Wayward Press, Liebling takes on Charles Gotthart, a Chicago Tribune 
writer assigned to cover New York (Liebling, being cheeky, calls him a foreign correspondent). 
Gotthart wrote about several New York papers, and complained that they had gone pink—i.e., 
had become overrun with Communist ideas. This is Liebling’s main beef with Gotthart, so most 
of this column fits into Liebling’s defense against populist anti-elitism. But Liebling ends his 
piece by exposing Gotthart’s buffoonery, because, as Slate’s Jack Shafer points out, Liebling 
“made readers laugh, but for a reason: A window opens when a man laughs, a window through 
which you can insert an idea” (Shafer, 2004).  
As for Gotthart’s buffoonery, Liebling picks on the Trib writer’s assessment of the 
Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s, weekly magazines that Gotthart believes have gone “pink.” 
Liebling then quotes the Gotthart original: 
“Lacking in qualities inspired by the Midwest brand of Americanism, these 
weeklies fail to offer their readers anything remotely approaching the physical 
content of a good Sunday newspaper. The CHICAGO SUNDAY TRIBUNE, FOR 
EXAMPLE, weighs 32 ounces; these magazines, five.” (1946d, p. 88) 
Liebling continues: 
The italics are mine; I use them because I immediately realized that Gotthart had 
discovered a tangible basis for the appraisal of journalistic values, and, what was 
equally important, a procedure for its application. Under Gotthart’s Law, it was 

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