PRESIDENT MAY MAKE REASONABLE REGULATIONS OF THE PRESS DURING WARTIME
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, April 20, 1917, the United States Senate voted to censor news in the American press during wartime. An amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917*, which would have nullified a section on press censorship, was defeated by a vote of 40 to 34. The majority of Senators voting against the amendment were Democrats.
Under the press censorship section, the President of the United States may make "reasonable regulations" concerning the publication of information relating to military plans and movements. If the regulations were not followed, heavy penalties would be applied.
The President's censor, George Creel**, would be responsible for formulating the reasonable regulations of the press.
*The Espionage Act of 1917 went into effect on June 15, 1917. It punished acts of interference with foreign relations & foreign commerce. The act also set punishment for espionage.
**George Edward Creel (1876-1953) was born in Lafayette County, MO. His father was a captain in the Confederate army during the Civil War. GEC became owner & editor of The Independent, a Kansas City newspaper. During WWI, he served as head of the US Committee on Public Information, popularly known as the Creel Committee.
"SENATE VOTES TO CENSOR NEWS IN AMERICAN PRESS," The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 21, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/