WOR-Mutual – Dedication of Freedom Of The Press Statue – New York World’s Fair – April 22, 1939 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
It would only seem natural, with all the saber rattling and threats from Fascist dictators in 1939, that we be reminded (in a big way) of what Freedom of The Press was all about. And what better place to do it than the New York World’s Fair of 1939.
The 1939–40 New York World’s Fair was a world’s fair held at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States. It was the second-most expensive American world’s fair of all time, exceeded only by St. Louis’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Many countries around the world participated in it, and over 44 million people attended its exhibits in two seasons. It was the first exposition to be based on the future, with an opening slogan of “Dawn of a New Day”, and it allowed all visitors to take a look at “the world of tomorrow”.
When World War II began four months into the 1939 World’s Fair, many exhibits were affected, especially those on display in the pavilions of countries under Axis occupation. After the close of the fair in 1940, many exhibits were demolished or removed, though some buildings were retained for the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair, held at the same site.
We needed to be reminded then (as we still need to be reminded) that Press Freedom is crucial to a functioning and democratic society. Of course, these days the rules are being a bit bent to include Freedom to fabricate the news, Freedom to invent the News and Freedom to distort the news. But that’s a moral question, I suppose – and with Freedom comes responsibility; to infuse that responsibility with a sense of integrity and facts.
But don’t let’s quibble . . . .
In 1939 Freedom of The Press was a crucial and necessary Freedom in the gradually deteriorating world around us.
Here is that dedication, as it was carried live by WOR-AM in New York and broadcast via the Mutual Broadcasting System on April 22, 1939.