This is the story of a famous, glamorous, pioneering female journalist and human rights advocate who was shunned and forgotten for criticizing the treatment of Palestinians in the creation of the Israeli state. A 90 minute documentary from Alternate Focus.
For three decades, amid the sweeping events of the first half of the twentieth century, no journalist was more controversial, more iconoclastic, or more quoted than Dorothy Thompson. At the pinnacle of her career, Thompson’s syndicated news column, “On the Record”—one of the longest-running columns ever—reached millions of people around the globe. She was heard by millions more in her regular NBC radio broadcasts, and her stories appeared in The New York Tribune, Ladies Home Journal, and The Saturday Evening Post. Her persona was honored by Katharine Hepburn in the 1942 movie Woman of the Year, and in 1939, in a Time magazine cover story, was named the most influential woman in America next to Eleanor Roosevelt.
We live in an information age, with news broadcast around the clock on multiple platforms. People are bombarded with stories, yet there seem to be some topics that are off limits. Why are certain stories untold and those that dare to tell them silenced? Dorothy Thompson was one such person who was prominent over 70 years ago. In this film, we will explore issues of partisan journalism, free speech, gender equity, and persecution as seen through a historical lens. Fascinating in showing the nascent globalization of news coverage, and the role of women in reporting, this film is a timely examination of the vital role Dorothy Thompson played in our culture’s journalistic past and how it relates to these issues today. Her story is important in that it is relevant to the state of our media today, and will appeal to students of journalism, civil liberties, refugee issues, nonpartisan issues, and anyone interested in looking at the role that media has played, and continues to play, in the shaping of cultural reality.
Passionate in her beliefs, Thompson was, for more than thirty years, a highly visible torchbearer for world causes ranging from the plight of Jewish refugees from Hitler to feminism,the suffering ofthe Palestinians, and nuclear disarmament. Devotedly loyal to and loving toward her friends, in her feuds with her detractors—including Charles Lindberg, Clare Boothe Luce, and even Eleanor Roosevelt—she could be fierce and unforgiving. Allies and enemies alike, however, acknowledged Thompson’s commitment to her causes, as well as the wit and dramatic style with which she served them. Thompson was a magnetic, largerthan life figure who helped to define an age.