One in this series of programs that examines the news media. Hosted by Hodding Carter, this program consists of two segments: "Freedom From Information," which debates whether classified government information is a valid security measure or a form of censorship; and the "Back Page" feature, which looks at how minorities are underrepresented in the media. "Freedom From Information" begins with clips of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and John F. Kennedy complaining about government leaks. Hodding Carter talks with Acting Press Secretary Larry Speakes, who defends Reagan's recent directive to plug up leaks by explaining that it is a security measure, not an attack on the rights of the press. In a discussion among columnist Jack Anderson, Barrie Dunsmore of ABC News, and John Lofton of Conservative Digest, Anderson calls the increased number of classified documents "censorship" and Lofton says that some of Anderson's past stories were a threat to national security. In the "Back Page" segment, Professor Robert Lichter of George Washington University relates the findings of a recent survey that showed that members of the news media are mainly white, male, liberal northeasterners. Karen Elliot House of The Wall Street Journal and Carolyn Craven, formerly of National Public Radio, discuss what it is like to be a minority in this field. Lichter and Carter debate whether the lack of minority representation in the media leads to slanted news coverage.

(This series ran regularly on PBS from 1981 to 1984; occasional special editions aired thereafter.)


  • DATE: February 19, 1982 Friday 9:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:28:52
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:03860
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Freedom of the press
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1981-1984


  • Ned Schnurman … Executive Producer
  • Joseph M. Russin … Senior Producer
  • Roger Kranz … Producer, "Freedom From Information"
  • Katherine Carpenter … Producer, "Freedom From Information"
  • Jane Stoddard … Associate Producer, "Freedom From Information"
  • Tom DeVries … Producer, "Back Page"
  • Chet Lishawa … Director
  • Hodding Carter … Chief Correspondent, Reporter, Host
  • Jack Anderson
  • Carolyn Craven
  • Barrie Dunsmore
  • Karen Elliot House
  • Robert Lichter
  • John Lofton
  • Larry Speakes