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February 1998

Rebecca West & the FBI

by Carl Rollyson

On Rebecca West's FBI file & what it tells us

On October 19, 1992, I wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigation requesting under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to see Rebecca West’s file. I had made a similar request for Lillian Hellman’s file, and after several months—with help from my congressman—I received hundreds of pages of reports on Hellman’s activities.[1] She had belonged to several Communist Front organizations. She had been involved in labor union drives in California. She was an outspoken leftist and was often called a Stalinist. Most dramatically, she had had an affair with John Melby, a foreign service officer she had met in the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Even after names had been blacked out, the file was a fund of information. It contained accounts from informants and interviews with Hellman’s friends and associates. This was ra ...

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Carl Rollyson is Professor of Journalism at Baruch College, CUNY. He is at work on a biography of Amy Lowell.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 16 February 1998, on page 12

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The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll,

Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.

The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.