Cook for permission to cite or to exerpt these materials for scholarly
Refereed paper: Russell J. Cook, Dorothy Fuldheims Activist
Journalism and the Kent State Shootings, History Division of
the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication,
Boston, Aug. 1991.
Local television news commentator Dorothy Fuldheim was extremely popular
in Cleveland during her thirty-seven year career, despite her controversial
opinions. Her condemnation of the killing of four students at nearby
Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard drew a virulent audience
response and threatened her career as a journalist. After the roots
of Fuldheim's activist journalism are revealed in her youth and early
years, Fuldheim's activities in May, 1970, are recounted, and her activist
journalism is explained in terms of a model of journalists, news orientation.
At least five forces discourage activist television journalists (people
who use TV to promote their views on issues of the day): (1) a strong
professional tradition, reinforced by government regulation, in favor
of balanced reporting; (2) the high economic stakes involved in risking
the audience's wrath on controversial issues, which naturally lead to
conservatism; (3) time constraints, which force gatekeepers to eliminate
longer interpretive news reports; (4) the higher cost of interpretive
reporting as compared to spot news; and (5) the paucity of news people
with the background, competence, and power to tackle news interpretation.
The few journalists who have the power and prestige to overcome these
anti-activist forces in television news have accomplished some of American
television's finest achievements. The paradigm of network television
activist journalists was Edward R. Murrow, who produced "Harvest
of Shame," the 1960 Columbia Broadcasting System exposé
of the migrant farm workers plight. The paradigm of activist journalist
in local television news was Dorothy Fuldheim. She was one of the original
employees of WEWS-TV, operated in Cleveland, Ohio, by Scripps-Howard
Broadcasting Company. WEWS was Scripps-Howard's first television property,
which inherited the initials of company founder E.W. Scripps.2
She became the first woman to anchor television news when WEWS signed
on the air for the first time on December 17, 1947. She anchored the
WEWS evening news until 1957.She soon shifted to her forté --
news analysis, interviews, and commentaries. She did interviews on Inside
Cleveland Today from 1948 to 1949. She did daily fifteen-minute news
analyses on Views on the News from 1949 to 1951, then on Highlights
of the News from 1951 to 1966. From 1957 to 1964, she co-hosted the
One Oclock Club, a ninety-minute daytime talk show. From 1957
until her retirement in 1984, her commentaries became a daily part of
the weekday evening and 11:00 p.m. news. From 1958 until retirement,
she also provided interviews for the noon news. She retired after suffering
a stroke at the age of 91. She died in Cleveland in 1989.4
Fuldheim relished controversy. "She keeps the citizenry seething,"
wrote TV Guide reviewer Maurice Condon in 1966; "Cleveland loves
Dorothy Fuldheim or, perhaps, just loves to hate her.115 By the early
1930s, she was known as a militant birth control advocate and as an
opponent of public railroads and utilities. In 1946 she profiled Lenin
on her Cleveland radio program and declared the Soviet goal of world
domination. Listeners' accusations that she was a communist made the
front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Her TV commentaries expressed
both her adamant opposition to the death penalty and her advocacy of
castration for "sex fiends.6
After interviewing American prisoners of war released by communist China
in 1955, she asked: "Could you--a loyal American--be made to spout
Communist propaganda against your own country, or confess to crimes
you never committed? I think the answer may be yes."7
In 1970 viewers were pleased when she ejected "Chicago Seven"
radical Jerry Rubin during a TV interview after Rubin referred to the
police as "pigs." A fan wrote: "Cheers to that redoubtable
redhead, Dorothy Fuldheim of WEWS-TV. She has what many of her peers
lack, courage and good taste."8
In 1973 she consoled a sobbing Judge Robert L. Steele on the air the
same day that he was indicted for murdering his wife. "Any man
who's innocent would react the same way," she said. She drew "scores
of complaints" that the interview lacked objectivity.9 Steele was
later convicted of murder, but she never admitted she was wrong about
In 1980 she was attacked at a civic club meeting by two political activists,
who leapt on stage in the middle of Fuldheim's speech and threw a cream
pie in her face. "I thought everyone loved me," she said.11
The activists apparently did not love her: "'She's not a harmless
old lady . . . but a sturdy war horse of a dying system, and she got
her just desserts.1"12 A bodyguard from the TV station accompanied
her for months after the incident.13 in 1974 Cleveland Press columnist
Bill Barrett wrote that she was "full of passion and the itch for
raising hell."14 She was known for giving and receiving barbs with
equal aplomb. WEWS sportscaster Gib Shanley noted her eighty-sixth birthday:
"Dorothy doesn't have an enemy in the whole world. They're all
dead."15 But she had the last laugh. In 1983 at a massive outdoor
gala in her honor, she enjoyed ten minutes of standing ovation, then
gibed, "Well, I was just as good last year, and they didn't do
a damn thing for me."16
In 1980 a colleague linked Fuldheim's passion to her high energy level:
Dorothy is the most vital person I've ever met or known. She amazes
me. And she seems to encourage everyone around her . . . as well as
ev-eryone on the other side of the tube . . . to be as vital and involved
as she is herself. Dorothy is an activist. Well, most people can't be,
of course. And she knows that. But she still seems to believe that they
can, all be deeply involved, concerned, committed. She has eternal hope.
Controversy seemed to help her career rather than hurt it. In 1976 Plain
Dealer columnist George Condron wrote, "While no one can align
himself with all the viewpoints she has expressed over the years, she
surely never failed to be provocative. Her . . . commentary has often
made the Cleveland media the envy of other cities."18
She accumulated hundreds of civic and professional honors, which came
at an increasing rate as she worked into her seventies, eighties, and
nineties. In 1983 the local and national media reported her new three-year
employment contract with WEWS-TV. "'I know of no other firm,,"
boasted company president Donald Perris, "'which has a 90-year-old
employee who demanded a raise"19
Cleveland adored her. WEWS was called "Dorothy's station."20
In 1979 an anonymous viewer called her "the mother of Cleveland";
anoth-er said, "She's my encyclopedia." she received more
than 500 birthday cards for her eighty-sixth birthday, plus an extra
100 cards and letters a month early when Johnny Carson announced the
wrong date. Twenty-five thousand fans requested copies of her commentary,
entitled "An Ode to the House I Live In on My Eighty-Sixth Birthday."21
Civic groups extolled Fuldheim: Her subject matter covers the total
span of issues from politics to ecology, from arts to economics. Her
erudition and breadth of concern astound and enlighten her audiences;
her ability to perceive and communicate the sense of an issue [is] legendary."22
In 1973 the Jewish National Fund Council of Cleveland honored her by
planting the Dorothy Fuldheim Forest in Israel: "May you live long
to see the verdure of the growing forest which will bear you name, and
see the fruits of your efforts to bring about a better world.23
The profession showed its admiration: "Her insights have . . .
enhanced our city and the minds of its citizens," wrote Press columnist
George Condon in 1976.24 In 1979 an anonymous Cleveland TV news competitor
was more grudging in his praise: "She ought to be yanked off the
tube. She's no commentator. . . . She'll take a stand on an issue and
hell will freeze over before she'll admit she's been wrong. That's just
plain irresponsible journalism. She's a fraud. But people love her,
and you can't help but give her credit.25
Her interview guests praised her. "You're great! You're magnificent!
You're beautiful!" wrote a corporate executive in 1969.26 In 1972
the Navy secretary wrote, "You are terrific! No wonder you have
such a following in the entire Cleveland area."27 In 1973 New York
Governor Nelson Rockefeller wrote, "Rarely have I been interviewed
by anybody who presented the challenge you offered last Wednesday. I
think your viewers are indeed fortunate. You should be on national television
so that the entire nation could benefit from your insight and wisdom."28
When asked why she did not accept lucrative job offers from the networks,
29 Fuldheim of ten cited her employers strong vote of confidence
during the most traumatic public rejection of her career. She got an
overwhelmingly negative audience reaction to her commentary on the deaths
of four Kent State University students by Ohio National Guard in May
1970. WEWS backed her position without hesitation.30 Despite a massive,
virulent response from angry conservative viewers, the station's audience
ratings were maintained, her popularity returned, and her strong stand
added to her reputation for uncompromising integrity.31
The Kent State backlash seemed to refute Fuldheim's claim that "I
know my audience."32 At risk were her credibility and the financial
standing of the station. It seemed bizarre that a television personality
who enjoyed a large following, who regularly heard from viewers, and
who frequently spoke at public gatherings could have been so out of
touch with public opinion. However, Fuldheim was an activist journalist
attempting to lead, rather than follow, the audience on Kent State and
other important public issues. Her activism gave her a kind of public
opinion myopia. She assumed that the audience would follow her lead.
It did not.
In the June 1983 Journalism Monographs, Professor Hugh Culbertson listed
the distinguishing traits of activist journalists. They are more concerned
about sins of omission--failing to reveal the whole truth--and are less
concerned with sins of commission--making factual errors. They likely
to write longer news pieces and model themselves after scholars in their
use of libraries, computer databases, and other research tools. They
prefer to gain space for news interpretation by cutting into spot news
instead of human interest news, which shows relevance. They emphasize
international and national news at the expense of local news, because
they believe their causes to have universal significance. Above all,
activist news people seek to lead rather than follow the public on the
issues of the day.33
The goals of this research are: (1) to identify Dorothy Fuldheim as
an activist journalist; (2) to interpret Fuldheim's May 1970 clash with
the public as that of a news activist acting in best conscience to fulfill
her responsibility to the public; and (3) to recognize the implications
of her work for the future of television news.
From her first day on the air, Dorothy Fuldheim was an exception to
the norm of television news. She began her television career at fifty-four,
an age when many people begin to anticipate retirement. Throughout her
tenure at WEWS-TV in Cleveland from 1947 to 1984, she was much older
than her colleagues, had seen more of the world, and tended more to
regard life as a sweep of historical change. Her gender in a male-dominated
business, her intellect, and her striking personal appearance reinforced
her personal and professional uniqueness. But more than her status and
skills, Fuldheim's ethical and spiritual ideals shaped her career.
She frequently antagonized Clevelanders with statements on busing, welfare,
the Middle East, inflation, the mayor's office, prostitution, and the
death penalty. The roots of her zeal to take controversial postures
within a consensus-oriented medium can be found in her strongly held
tenets of American virtue, which she promoted actively because of a
sense of obligation to the community.34
She was born Dorothy Violet Schnell35 in 1893 in Passaic, New Jersey,
to impoverished German-Jewish immigrant parents. The family was so poor
that her infant sister, a victim of strep throat, was buried in an orange
crate because the family could not afford a coffin. Though she was destined
for affluence and power, poverty was always with her and restrained
her grasp, as she confided in 1966:
A great wall divided the children who could afford to buy a bowl of
soup for three cents . . . and those of us who had no money for such
luxuries. A wall that grew in size and became part of our consciousness,
that left us too shy to try to scale it; a wall that clouded our vision
and influenced our existence.36
Much later, Fuldheim may have balked at leaping another wall--the jump
from local to network levels. Belying her lack of confidence, she asserted
in 1980, I probably should have moved onto New York . . . a bigger
field, bigger audience, bigger money. I should have done that. But it
doesn't gnaw at me. 37
Her loyalty to WEWS was not the only force that kept her in Cleveland.
Financial security was the other. She called it "freedom from anxiety."38
She had the financial burden of caring for her invalid granddaughter.
Network people were paid more than she, but they tended to come and
go. "The mortality rate in this business is very high; I must be
doing something right."39 She was mildly impatient with rich people.
Their advantages gave them the privilege of liberal politics. Her liberalism
was by conviction. "All this nonsense about it being easier for
a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter
heaven is sheer rubbish. No one believes that; if we do, our conduct
certainly invalidates any such belief.40
When she was seven, Fuldheim's family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Like many urban underclass children of the turn of the century, she
was chronically ill with diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles, and other
maladies, so books became her companions. "Most of my childhood
was made up of reading. I lived in an imaginary world. It was far more
delightful than the real. 41 Perris, a close colleague and personal
friend at WEWS, believed that her lifelong dedication to reading contributed
to her ability to enrapture her audience:
When Dorothy Fuldheim would come to tell you about a little child who
had been abused and made to work in a sweat shop long hours in an unventilated
room for a candy bar, she did it knowing that Charles Dickens had gone
before. John Steinbeck had gone before. Jacob Riis had gone before.
Therefore, when she spoke, all of those images came up in the viewer's
mind. . . . It was emotionally stirring. That's why it worked. 4
Her dedication to reading was lifelong. In 1974, a year after her personal
archives were established at the Kent State University Library, she
voiced her support of public libraries in a letter to Kent State library
fund raiser Hyman Kritzer: "I am very pleased to have you use my
name on the Advisory Council if it can be of any service to you, but
I am distressed at the withdrawal of funds from our public libraries.
I think this would be a great tragedy. With all best regards, Dorothy
Fuldheim, News Analyst."43
At twelve, she got a job selling dresses in a department store. Fuldheim
the teen became fascinated with dresses, perfumes, and other feminine
fineries that perpetually exceeded her grasp as a youth. Her appearance
practically be came a fetish. A half century later, as a TV celebrity
who depended on an elaborate wardrobe, she would add seventy-five dresses
a year to her closet, purchased a dozen at a time. Skin allergies kept
her from using make-up, but she loved perfume. "The first money
I earned I spent on perfume. . . . I would have gone hungry rather than
give up the perfume."44
Her first role model was her vivacious and ravishing Aunt Molly, the
subject of Fuldheim's1976 book, Three And a Half Husbands. Molly suffered
the ill luck of having three mates die in a span of five years, leaving
her with nine stepsons to support. She was so convinced of her bad luck
that she refused a fourth suitor, who nonetheless remained faithful
to her. Molly symbolized the rugged individualist to Fuldheim. "That's
why I love my Aunt Molly's memory, and that's why I think she was a
far greater woman than many who lead what is described as a virtuous
Fuldheim applied herself in school, attended Milwaukee Normal College,
and graduated with a teaching degree in 1912. After four years of teaching,
she turned to acting on the Milwaukee stage. I had all this emotion
within me, and had to find a release for it."46 After some minor
roles, a Chicago producer picked her for the lead in Romeo and Juliet.
other roles followed. "I never was an objective performer, always
subjective. It was the only way I could play the part."47 Her theater
experience was doubly dramatic, for just after war's end in 1918 social
reformer and peace advocate Jane Addams attended one of her performances,
liked what she saw, and asked Fuldheim to deliver a lecture in Philadelphia.
Addams made a strong impression on her: "She spoke to me of her
dream that man some day would walk the path of a warless world with
peace shining like a benediction. Few people would say no to this wonderful
Fuldheim's keen memory, empathetic acting style, and literary interests
were ideally suited for the lecture circuit, which, in the pre-television
era was the public's way to see celebrities. "I went anywhere in
Ohio for twenty-five dollars. . . . I got to know people. "49 Her
brain was a sponge for facts, which sooner or later come to bear. She
likened it to a cupboard filled with extra rations.50
Her theater work and many years as a public speaker taught her the value
of deliberate enunciation. She would later scold WEWS announcer Bob
Dale for saying "DOR-THY" instead of "DOR-O-THY."
In 1979 rhetorician Judith Reisman observed that Fuldheim's body language
added to her persuasiveness: "Ms. Fuldheim not only shakes her
finger a her audience, she glares and shakes her head, she thumps the
desk and impatiently taps her fingers on her arm while lifting her eyebrows.
Then, frowning or pursing her lips in annoyance, she will lean forward
and demand some action. "51 Reisman concluded: "She
is credibility dressed in all the wondrous clothing of Truth and Brilliance,
and she is Justice with her sword ablaze."52
Addressing audiences of mostly men in the 1920s and 1930s, she succeeded
as an orator with "obvious femininity coupled with a masculine
approach to he subjects," according to the Plain Dealer.53 Except
for her voice pitch, which she systematically exercised to deepen, she
recognized no oratorical advantages for men. "If there is one thing
that really irks me, it is to be told, 'You think like a man.
I doubt if one's brain were removed from the body whether it could be
identified as male or female."54
Her voracious reading engendered two Fuldheim specialties on the speaker's
platform--book reviews and dramatic interpretations of famous people.
She recreated people like Bismark, Pavlova, Henry VIII, Lenin, Disraeli,
and Wagner. She was called "the American H.G. Wells," a reference
to her memorization of Wells, novel, The World of William Clissold,
in its entirety. She understood reviewing as acting out the parts of
the book's characters. In 1934 Plain Dealer writer Regine Kurlander
analyzed her book review technique:
Although she has an uncanny ability to retain every scrap of informa-tion
that she unearths, Dorothy Fuldheim is an Impressionist. When she has
absorbed a volume, it comes forth, without notes, accurate to the last
detail but distinctly her own, colored by her vital personality and
enriched by the background of her-tireless reading.55
In the early WEWS years, Fuldheim tried her book reviews on television,
but they did not work. "We never could figure out why," reflected
Perris, "It was difficult to do the things she did on the platform:
gestures, pauses, looking around. . . . A lot of people liked it, but
we always felt that it wasn't a successful transfer to TV."56
She traveled in Europe during the 1930s to collect material for her
lectures. She began to accumulate an impressive list of famous interviewees,
as well as a truly global perspective. In the years to come, WEWS and
her book publicists made good promotional use of her impressive list
of interviews: Hitler, Mussolini, Einstein, Madame Chiang Kai-shek,
Helen Keller, Pope Pius XI, the Duke of Windsor, Franklin Roosevelt,
and a host of others.57
Fuldheim's broadcasting career started in the 1944 when she became a
news commentator for WJW radio in Cleveland. In 1947 she took a job
doing news analysis on the air for the ABC Radio Network in New York.
Later that year, she joined WEWS-TV in Cleveland, the nation's ninth
television station. She left its service thirty-seven years later.58
In summary, the conditions of Fuldheim's early life--subsistence income,
chronic illness, and intellectual pursuits--shaped her personality like
a sculptor's chisel. She played out her career in pursuit of life's
possibilities expressed to her in her youth. She was an idealist of
the American Dream and spoke and wrote of it unabashedly:
My parents, like thousands of other immigrants, were deeply determined
that their children were to be educated. were they not now in the land
of the free, the land of hope, where all men were promised equal opportunity?
Half starved we might be, scantily clothed, desperately poor, but educated
we were to be. . . . The dream of an America where, freed of class distinction,
they could build a rich life and have a chance to better themselves.
It sang like a litany in their souls.59
Through television news, she would come to recognize her opportunity
to change the world for the better and her responsibility to do so.
"Television has an awesome power," she said, "It can
be used for good or ill and . . . is an enormous responsibility."60
In later life, she recognized that immigrants, children like herself
had for the most part failed to pass along the American Dream to the
next generation, which had not known the disciplinary effects of deprivation.
Because she lived so long--her ninety-six years spanned a number of
generations--she was sensitive to the aspirations of the young, while
maintaining her hopes for fulfillment of the New World promises, of
which she wrote:
Every American carries in his bloodstream the heritage of the malcontent
and the dreamer. Dukes didn't emigrate, only the dissatisfied-those
who hungered for a life of freedom. . . . They were the first people
to conceive of a nation without poverty. . . . Deep in the heart of
each one is the pioneer ancestor who came to the American shores following
a star of promise for a better life.61
May 4, 1970
Monday, May 4, 1970, began routinely for news commentator Fuldheim
of WEWS-TV in Cleveland, with no hint that she was about to face her
greatest professional challenge, which would threaten to end her career
as a television journalist.
Fuldheim--she preferred to be called "Dorothy"62--had a daily
ritual that had developed over twenty-one years of working in TV news.
After reading until 1:00 a.m. the night before, she rose from bed early
in the morning--6:30 a.m.--in her Shaker Towers apartment in an elite
Cleveland neighborhood. A physical therapist visited early every morning
to give her ultra-sound treatments, which relieved her arthritic joints
and kept her tiny, hunched, five foot-two-inch frame ambulatory during
a hectic daily schedule of reporting, videotaping sessions, and luncheon
and supper addresses. After therapy, she read several newspapers over
a breakfast prepared by her daughter because she did not cook for herself.63
The morning headlines contained stories of unrest and violence: "Teamsters
Vote to Return: Local Ends 33 Day Strike" and "Kent Rioters
Driven Back Onto Campus."64 She had been following both stories
closely in recent days and had covered them in commentaries and interviews
at WEWS. In fact, her television work on the two topics had captured
headlines of their own.
Eight days earlier a Press front-page report had credited her April
24 interview for bringing together the national Teamsters Union president
and dissident, local wildcat strikers. According to the Press, her news
program was as a positive force to end the violent strike in Akron.65
She had always been gratified when her efforts tangibly improved the
human condition. Her TV career had started out that way. Shortly after
she was hired by WEWS, a city bus strike was threatening. She had brought
labor and management together on the air to sort out their differences,
and the strike was averted. There had been no precedent
for a broadcaster to take such action, and I was considered a freak.
I didn't know how closed it was. I just did it."66
Above all, she loved her appreciative audience. She was still warmed
by hundreds of accolades for her spontaneous ejection of radical anti-Vietnam
War activist Jerry Rubin three weeks earlier. He had been making the
talk show circuit to promote his new book, Do It. The interview was
two minutes old when Rubin said, "I want a revolution to be free,
so that we can break down the deal.
Rubin: Free from racism, free from pigs . . . pigs.
Fuldheim: Are you referring to human beings or animals.
Rubin: I'm referring to police.
Fuldheim: Well, I've got a shock for you--I'm very friendly with the
Rubin: Oh, you are, are you? Well, I've got a shock for you--I'm friendly
with the Black Panther party.
[The sound of Fuldheim slamming Rubin's book on the coffee table.]
Fuldheim: Out! [To the crew:] Stop the interview.67
In 1973 Terence Sheridan intimated in a Cleveland Magazine profile of
Fuldheim that she had set up Rubin: "She ordered him out and made
it look dramatically spontaneous."68 In fact, she thought the interview
tape had been discarded and was surprised to learn that the station
used it on the evening news. "If I knew the tape was still going,
I'd [have] been more dramatic," she said. 69
Her next interview guest, Queen Fareda of Egypt, had been watching Rubin's
demise from the wings and hesitated when Fuldheim called for her to
be interviewed, not knowing whether she would get the same treatment.70
"I blew my cool," she had conceded.71 But the viewers cheered.
More than a thousand people had called or sent telegrams in support.
She had gotten letters, candy, and even wine. "I was hailed as
a Joan of Arc."72
In 1976, Rubin reappeared on her program and stayed for its entirety
this time. She started the show with a replay of the first confrontation.
You made a heroine of me for about two weeks," she said,
"'Then I spoke out against the killings at Kent State and became
While she and her audience did not care for Rubin's vulgarity and bad
manners, Fuldheim believed that the pacifist message of a mainstream
community leaders such as Cleveland industrialist Cyrus S. Eaton would
persuade her audience that the war was wrong. Their interview had been
reported in the Plain Dealer. Perhaps citizens would listen to Eaton's
appeal to "bypass the White House and force Congress to cut off
money for the war."74
Having consumed both news and breakfast on the morning of May 4, she
sprang into action. She dressed elegantly, as befitted the seventy-six
year old "queen mother"75 of Cleveland broadcasting, then
gathered her newspapers and headed out the door. Promptly at 9:30 a.m.,
her chauffeur dropped her off at the front door of WEWS at Thirtieth
and Euclid. She hated being late, because there was much to do.
There was the daily barrage of mail to read and calls to take, which
she always answered herself. After the mail, she had to look over the
wire-service headlines, scan additional newspapers, and make arrangements
for her daily interview on the noon news. After lunch she had to write
two commentaries--two-and-one-half minutes in length for the 5:30 p.m.
news and one-and-one-half minutes for 11:00 p.m. "I always wanted
to scream when I have to write an editorial, and I can't think of a
damned thing to say. You know, ten ideas a week is pretty tough."76
On May 4, there was no shortage of ideas for her news columns. According
to Gallup,77 popular support for President Nixon's war policy was crumbling
after he announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese
strongholds. It was time to repeat her impatient dismay over the failure
of American military leadership to end the war. She maintained a critical
stance until the end of the war. In 1972 she wrote: "Someone has
goofed. A war that was to end, is now in full swing."78 "Fifty
thousand dead and a couple of hundred thousand wounded. It's enough
to make one weep to think about this war."79
Her habit was to collect her thoughts in the morning, then write out
the pieces longhand after lunch on a small tablet. Mendes Napoli would
be in at about three o'clock to type Fuldheim's scripts for the teleprompter.
On occasion, the teleprompter broke down in the middle of her talk.
At those times, her handwritten notes and her "prehensile"
memory served her well. She once remembered a teleprompter failure in
the middle of her live newscast: "I picked it up and went through
the commentary without any hesitation because once I write a commentary
it becomes fixed in my mind. When I finished, the news team applauded
me. It was almost worth the agony to receive their rare approval.80
On days that she did not have a noon civic club speech, her lunch was
usually a can of tomato soup shared with producer-director Jim Breslin.
Jim would heat it for her, or she would eat it straight from the can.
Her desk was stuffed with KitKat bars and Hershey's Kisses. Every Christmas,
the Hershey Candy Company sent her a giant bag full of Kisses--little
drops of chocolate wrapped in silver foil.81
Someone at the station had suggested that her high metabolism caused
her to crave sweets. She had "a high degree of physical energy.
She was one of those stay-up-twenty-four-hours people," observed
Perris.82 On the Larry King TV talk show she was once asked, To
what do you attribute your long career on the air? I eat
chocolates,'" she replied.83
She was about to pen the day's commentaries on May 4 when a shocking
call reached the news room: there had been a gun battle at Kent State
University between students and National Guard troops. A reporter and
cameraman were there to cover a protest against the invasion of Cambodia
and phoned when the shooting started. Some students and two guardsmen
were dead or wounded. 84
At a peaceful anti-war demonstration three days before, student leaders
had announced a rally for noon on May 4. In the meantime, events had
gotten out of hand. Roaming mobs had smashed windows and looted the
commercial district. Governor James Rhodes had countered by calling
in the Ohio National Guard. The university's Army Reserve officer Training
Corps (ROTC) barracks had been torched on Saturday night. Rhodes had
helicoptered in on Sunday to inspect the situation and had called the
rioters worse than fascists and vigilantes.85
How could such a tragedy have struck an isolated community such as Kent?
She recalled her first visit to that sleepy village located about an
hour southeast of Cleveland. She had been on the lecture circuit in
1933, when Kent State College had only a thousand students, and she
had startled faculty and students by predicting war in Europe. Now the
campus was sprawling with dozens of buildings and 21,000 students, but
it still retained its colloquialism.86
She probably did not know that Ohio higher education had been targeted
by Bernardine Dohr,, Jerry Rubin, and the Students for a Democratic
Society (SDS) for special attention. According to Michener, their goal
was to gain propaganda value for the national revolutionary movement
by bringing down the educational system of bucolic Ohio. In 1971 Michener
wrote: "Within Ohio, the reasons for selecting Kent were the same
as those for selecting the state in the first place. It was big; it
was wonderfully average; if it could be brought down, people would realize
that it could happen anywhere."87
To Fuldheim, the revolutionists, apocalyptic cries were hollow: "If
it were not for the establishment, who would take care of the sewers,
water, electricity--everything needed for survival? Without the establishment
that they scorned, they wouldn't have lasted a day. . . . The joke is
on them, because youth is a disease from which we all recover."88
She could not get a call through to Kent. Later it was revealed that
the besieged Kent city phone system had collapsed at the first sign
of trouble. At 1:30 p.m., she was pondering what to write for her commentaries
when the first news wire-service report about KSU came from United Press
International. Fifteen minutes later, the Associated Press issued a
bulletin confirming that approximately fifteen persons had been shot
and an undetermined number were dead. That was it; it was a major story.
She had to go to Kent to see for herself. The schedule was tight. She
would be too late for the early evening news, but the story warranted
a special broadcast. Hopefully, the teleprompter would not let her down.89
As her driver headed down State Route 43 toward Kent, the cheerless
sun from a clear blue sky shone on her face. The tension in the air
was palpable. only three days earlier, the Plain Dealer had reported
that Ohio National Guardsmen and Cleveland police used tear gas to disperse
a mob of angry strikers who tried to block a convoy of truckers. The
same newspaper reported that three Ohio State University students from
Cleveland were among ten students hurt in a protest of Nixon's wider
war in Southeast Asia when police fired on them with shotguns. It was
as if hate in the society had built up until it burst and culminated
in the Kent gun battle.90
The scene at Kent looked less like rural Ohio and more like the many
military dictatorships that she had seen while reporting overseas. The
WEWS car was stopped by a roadblock north of town; khaki-clad soldiers
with menacing M-1 semi-automatic rifles at the checkpoint reinforced
the surrealism. Blue and green university buses packed with dour faces
streamed past her car out of town. Jeeps were patrolling the streets,
and there was an eerie stillness over the campus. The only moving figures
were troops in a ring around the burnt ROTC ruins. Nearby was Taylor
Hall and the "Pagoda," a small outdoor shelter at the crest
of "Blanket Hill," where witnesses said the soldiers had turned
and fired at a crowd of students. At the base of the hill in a parking
lot lay horrifying evidence of death: a dried pool of blood from twenty-year-old
KSU student Jeffrey Miller. A handmade sign tacked on a nearby building
was a mute protest against the slaying of four young people and the
wounding of nine others: "Flowers are Better Than Bullets."91
In 1973 Fuldheim described her emotions from that bloody day:
What had they done, what crime that they should meet death? Their eyes
were innocent; their hands bore no weapons; their hearts were pure with
the hope of peace in Vietnam; and for this hope they died, indis-criminately
shot by the National Guard. I call your names: Allison Krause, William
Schroeder, Jeffrey Miller, and Linda Scheuer, so that we remember that
on this day the blood of the very young, not much older than children,
stained the earth of our land because they dreamed, these young, of
a world without war.92
She returned to the station, firm in her conviction of what had to be
done. The public had to know:
I came back to Cleveland and went on the air and showed my emotion and
anger about the killings. As I recounted their deaths I called it murder,
for these four were no housebreakers, they were no killers, no drug
addicts, no muggers, no rapists.
The reaction to my report was unbelievable. The switchboard lit up like
the proverbial Christmas tree and for the remainder of the night the
calls came in excoriating met "Why," they demanded, "are
you sorry for those deaths? Too bad the National Guard didn't kill more.
Those good-for-nothing bums, smart alecks--that's what they are. It's
about time someone put them in their place. Good for the National Guard."93
The irony of the situation was striking. The same voices who days before
had hailed her for literally chucking out the grubby radical, Rubin,
were now condemning her for defending the protest rights of the youth
movement. To her there was no inconsistency. She had always been in
favor of good manners and free speech: "If only their life style
were less undisciplined and noisy; if only their tastes were as noble
as their anti-war feelings, which they demonstrated again and again.94
Thousands of letters poured into the station, bags of them bigger than
the Hershey's Kisses bag, so many that neither she nor the assistant
to the general manager could keep up with them. The protest continued
for days. People signed petitions to get her off the air. Pickets marched
in front of the station. Perris later recalled:
It seems hard to believe now, but, at that time, there was a huge body
of opinion that the students were menaces and that the Guard was doing
the right thing and that they had been provoked. . . . There was a great
outcry against her. It was fierce. . . . There was great fear on everybody's
part and on her part, particularly, that she had "gone too far"
and wrecked her career.95
Barrett later observed in the Press that Fuldheim, like the Kent State
youths, had fallen victim to powerful volleys of sentiment on both sides
of the public debate on the war. He wrote: "In the hours immediately
after, when horror gave way to hate and we looked about for someone
to blame, the massacre at Kent State somehow focused on Dorothy Fuldheim,
of all people." The overreaction once more confirmed the power
of television as a news medium. Barrett continued, "she got back
approximately what she gave, in the same terms of wrath and conviction."96
Fuldheim was appalled by the vehemence directed at her. Threats against
her life were serious enough to warrant police protection. "I took
so many calls--ninety-five percent against the students--that I became
jittery and stopped taking calls, but the letters came pouring in and
I groaned as bag after bag was delivered."97 Her detractors seemed
to object to her manner as much as her stand. "They resented my
tears as well as the students, rally protesting the war. Suddenly it
was the students on one side and the establishment on the other and
the students were fair game."98
"It was a case of emotion winning the day and reason be damned,"
wrote William Hickey, the Plain Dealer's television-radio editor. Feeling
that the events at Kent State "brought out the worst in a number
of local and network broadcast news departments," he castigated
her for not controlling her emotions. 99 This was an old pet peeve of
hers. She disapproved of the TV news tradition of detached impartiality.
"Did they want me to remain stolid and report the details as though
I were talking about how to make applesauce or some such pedestrian
subject?"100 Apparently so.
WEWS bore the brunt of reaction, because it was the only local station
to do commentaries on Kent State.101 The Plain Dealer published this
protest: "As a parent of a Kent student who was there, I can testify
at least second hand that the television commentary [by Fuldheim] was
the most distorted and colored that this community has ever seen."102
However, the networks were also criticized: "National Broadcasting
Company's . . . David Brinkley, who has never mastered the fine art
of concealing emotion despite his long tenure in front of television
cameras, was nothing less than a disgrace," snapped Hickey.103
Plain Dealer readers congratulated him on his strong stand: "Bravo
for William Hickey. . . . The emotion-charged reaction by the television
industry was typical of its superficial coverage of significant events.
However, I suspect that it's about all we can expect.104 Another
said: "Why must the news media give space and air time reporting
the violence at our universities and elsewhere? If these students at
Kent State University hadn't been so busy protesting, there would not
have been any killings."105
There were a few sympathetic viewers to bolster her confidence. The
morning after the Kent State commentary, still shattered by her experience,
she found bunches of flowers outside of her apartment door, left like
ceremonial offerings by late night party goers. And at the office, she
was surprised by a giant bouquet of flowers and a note from her long-time
friends, Mark and Lois Wyse of Wyse Advertising in Cleveland. They wanted
her to know that she had their support.106
To appease her critics, she interviewed National Guard advocates on
Tuesday, the day after the shootings. The public pressure did not let
up. Another bitter wave of calls hit the station switchboard, this time
from pro-student viewers. 107
She went to Perris and offered to resign. He turned her down. "We
took the official viewpoint that what she had said was fine. We backed
her a hundred percent, and we looked better--not worse, but better--than
anyone else in town because we had taken a clear point of view about
In hindsight, Perris is sure that she did not expect him to accept her
resignation. "In her moment of despair . . . she was saying, 'I
have screwed up, and it's up to me to say I can't be part of this [station]
anymore." Eventually they both were able to put the incident behind
them. "You know, you're never any good unless you do something
that makes people mad from time to time. It's just that you can't be
in their face all the time.109 Perris was proud of Fuldheim and WEWS
and felt that the Kent State incident was a crossroad in her relationship
with WEWS. "Many times she was tempted to leave. When the chips
were down, she always stayed with us because . . . she was a person
who believed in personal loyalty and gutting it out in a relationship.
She was like that in everything she did."110
In the present cynical age, claims of loyalty in broadcasting are suspect.
However, loyalty was important to the old timers at WEWS. "If you
left, it would be kind of like turning your back on your family,"
said Ruth Armold, former assistant to the general manager.111 Armold
was part of a central core of long-time employees, including Fuldheim,
Perris, and Breslin. When she joined WEWS, Fuldheim had found a soul
mate in James C. Hanrahan, the first WEWS general manager. According
to Perris, Hanrahan was "extremely pugnacious, extremely stubborn,
extremely feisty, dedicated to what he thought was the right thing,
and the hell with everybody else.112 In 1947, Hanrahan risked
losing the station's first big commercial sponsor, the Duquesne Brewing
Company, when he insisted on sticking with her for news analysis. The
sponsor thought she was too sophisticated for the blue collar Cleveland
audience, but they gave in to Hanrahan. They figured that she would
flop in a matter of weeks. Instead, they sponsored her news analysis
programs for eighteen years. Perris said this episode "set the
tone that the station would stand by its people, particularly Fuldheim."113
When Scripps-Howard News highlighted the new TV station in 1948, it
admitted, "Were starting in the dark."114 The camaraderie
was akin to the bonding among soldiers who had sustained each other
under fire. Perris reminisced:
These were extremely exciting years. Nothing like this had ever hap-pened
before in the world. We were doing it. Besides that, this was a bunch
of people, perhaps twenty-five or so, that were there [at WEWS] a long
time, spent a lot of time with each other, and we fit each other, either
by Mr. Hanrahan and Mr. Howard's genius in hiring the right people to
work with each other or by lucky coincidence, or something. We were
all very close. It was not a group that you would depart from if you
could possibly stay.115
General Manager James Knight, one of the second generation at WEWS,
had his own theory about why she stuck with the station--she was loyal
to Perris. "He probably would not agree to that, but I think that
most everybody else [at the station] would. . . . She probably realized
without admitting it that no body else would have . . . given her the
freedom that he afforded her."116 In 1982, on his Cable News Network
talk show, King asked her what she would do if the networks made her
a big offer:
Fuldheim: I've had it [offers].
King: Wouldn't move?
Fuldheim: Wouldn't move.
King: Cleveland's in your blood.
Fuldheim: No, that isn't why.
Fuldheim: It's a curious reason. . . Do you remember that thing that
happened at Kent [State] University? . . . Well, I said it was murder.
And we had an enormous reaction against what I said. People wrote, the
telephones, the mail was piled up this high. It was so serious that
I called the manager. I said, "Do you want my resignation?"
You know what he said to me? He said, "Go to sleep. I think you're
nine feet tall." You think I'd leave a guy like that?117
Dorothy Fuldheim's activist approach to TV news had its origins in
her early life. She was inculcated with an immigrant's optimism, to
which she clung tenaciously. As a consequence of childhood illnesses
that robbed her of play companions, she became a compulsive consumer
of books, newspapers, and magazines--whatever she could acquire to help
her escape her reality to an idealized world. This pastime had the beneficial
side effect of promoting her literacy and her curiosity about the world.
Also, under the press of grinding poverty, she developed a sense of
responsibility for maintaining the American Dream and an empathy for
the average person. She retained her common touch despite her regal
surroundings of later years.
In 1947 she was ideally equipped to take up activist causes on the new
broadcast medium. She was expert in world and government affairs and
naturally tended to view things in perspective, sometimes disregarding
details. She was an eloquent orator. Because her delivery, developed
as a lecturer, was so powerful, the station made a conscious decision
early in her career to remove the news films from her reports and isolate
her in front of the camera. She was substantially older than most of
the others in the television industry. This made her distinctive and
gave her commentaries a motherly authority. Finally, she was part of
television at its infancy, when it could afford to let her prove that
an activist approach had a place in TV news.118
Despite her worldly sophistication and attunement to her audience, she
was shocked by the public's outrage over her Kent State stand. Sloppy
clothes, long hair, sexual permissiveness, and even violent protest
on the one hand and freedom of expression on the other was like apples-and-oranges
to her. She did not understand why the public could not see the difference,
as she recalled four years later: "I was appalled at their resentment
against the rebellion of the young who refused to believe that the war
in Vietnam was necessary for our safety. Unfortunately the nobility
of their convictions was belittled because their hair was long, and
they wore beards and blue jeans."119
She was part of the political mainstream. Other than the personal tragedy
of the shootings, she most lamented that "the student movement
now had their martyrs. . . . As an American who believes in fair play
I felt that the students had been victims of some sort of hysteria on
the part of the National Guard. 120
Fuldheim could not forget that day in may. She memorialized the deaths
of the four students and crippling of another in her commentaries on
or about every May 4 of the 1970s. Her last Kent State commentary was
in 1979, when the last civil court proceedings against the National
Guard was resolved. At last the victims could have their peace. She
told her listeners:
If only by some divine intervention this incident could be wiped from
reality, remaining only a bad dream. So ends this tragic story, but
it will never end for the mothers and fathers of the dead and wounded.
It will remain a sadness and a grief through all the days of the years
of their life.
Some day a monument of white marble of the figure of the angel of death
will stand on the land where the deaths took place as a reminder that
this land shall never again hear the sound of bullets, only the sound
of the birds singing and flowers blooming.121
A theme emerges from this research. Fuldheim was an extraordinary broadcast
journalist who, like many outstanding historical figures, found herself
in the right place at the right epoch to excel in her field and to impact
her community. She had the speaking skills, the drive, the public affairs
knowledge, and the fervent American ideals required to take advantage
of the opportunity created by a new mass medium to promote her activist
causes. In these and other respects, she was similar to Murrow, except
that she chose Cleveland instead of Mew York. To the industry's pioneers,
the early years of American television were known nostalgically as the
"golden years." They were golden for Fuldheim. In no other
period in the brief history of television would an outspoken fifty-four-year-old
woman with flaming red hair and flamboyant gestures have captured a
forum for news commentary. With its willful management and strong fi-nancial
backing, WEWS was poised to take a chance on Fuldheim's activism. The
risk-taking was repaid handsomely with decades of high audiences ratings.
According to her colleagues, no one but Fuldheim could have done commen-tary
so well for so long. It was easy for her, except for the Kent State
inci-dent. In May 1970, she found herself too far out in front of public
opinion on the issue of student protest. It was an important lesson
for this activist journalist that remained with her the rest of her
thirty-seven years in Cleveland television news.
I Thanks to two universities that provided crucial access to archived
(1) Dorothy Fuldheim Collection, Special Collections, Alex Gilson, Curator,
Kent State University Library, Kent, Ohio; and (2) John Carroll University
Broadcast Archives, c/o Dr. Alan Stephenson, Department of Communications,
Cleveland, Ohio; JCU is in the process of cataloging thousands of news
films and corporate records from Cleveland area broadcast stations.
Both archives seek contributions of privately held materials of or about
2 Scripps-Howard Enters Television, Scripps-Howard News
2(6):2, March 1948.
3 David H. Hosley and Gayle K. Yamada, Hard News: Women in Broadcast
Journalism (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987), p. 66.
4 Obituary, Broadcasting, November 13, 1989, p. 118.
5 Maurice Condon, TV Guide, October 22, 1966, pp. 42-43.
6 For castration reference, see: Obituary, Scripps-Howard News, November,
1989, p. 7; for Lenin reference, see: Dorothy Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends
(New York: Doubleday & Company, 1974), p. 14; for castration reference,
see: Terence Sheridan, "Dorothy Fuldheim: The Bearded Lady of Mother
News," Cleveland Magazine, April, 1973, p. 49.
7 Dorothy Fuldheim, "Could You Be Brainwashed?" Hcmespun,
September, 1955, p. 41.
8 Yea, Dorothy, Boo, Rubin, Cleveland (Ohio) Press, April
18, 1970, sec. B, p. 2. Rubin was a co-defendant in the "Chicago
Seven" trial of political activists who demonstrated against the
Vietnam war at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
9 Interview Draws Fire," Cleveland Press, December 4, 1976, sec.
A, p. 1.
10 Interview, James T. Breslin, November 29, 1990.
11 Jim Marino, "Dorothy: I Thought Everyone Loved Me," Cleveland
Press, March 21, 1980, sec. A, p. 1.
12 "May Day Group Warned of Attack," Cleveland Press, March
21, 1980, sec. A, p. 11.
13 Bill Barrett, "Dorothy Fuldheim: 'I Don't Have Fear of Death,
Don't Think About It," Cleveland Press, May 28, 1980, Sec. A, p.
14 Bill Barrett, "Dorothy in Wonderful Land of Fuldheim,"
Cleveland Press Showtime, October 18, 1974, p. 25.
15 Celebrities Roast Dorothy," Cleveland Press, March 10,
1980, sec. C, p. 9.
16 Interview, James T. Breslin, November 29, 1990.
17 Judith Ann Reisman, "A Rhetorical Analysis of Dorothy Fuldheim's
Television Commentaries," (Ph.D. Dissertation, Case Western Reserve
University, 1980), p. 51.
18 George E. Condon, Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 26, 1976, sec. A,
19 William Hickey, "Dorothy Fuldheim Gets 3-Year Contract, Raise,"
Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 30, 1983, sec. E, p. 11.
20 Quotes from: "Poll on '70s has Dorothy, Dennis on Top,"
Cleveland Press, December 26, 1979, sec. A, p. 1.
21 Obituary, Scripps-Howard News, November, 1989, p. 7; for cards reference,
see: Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis, p. 151.
22 Back by Popular Demand," Cleveland Home Show, March, 1976,
cited by Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 5.
23 Julius B. Amber to Dorothy Fuldheim, August 23, 1973, File 4: miscellaneous
Correspondence, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection, Kent State University Library,
24 George E. Condon, Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 26, 1976, sec. A,
25 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 49ff.
26 David Skylar to Dorothy Fuldheim, November 13, 1969, File 4: Miscellaneous
Correspondence, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection, Kent State University Library,
27 John H. Chafee to Dorothy Fuldheim, February 26, 1972, File 4: Miscellaneous
Correspondence, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection, Kent State University Library,
26 Nelson Rockefeller to Dorothy Fuldheim, October 4, 1973, File 4:
Miscellaneous Correspondence, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection, Kent State
University Library, Kent, Ohio.
29 For published references to job offers, see: WEWS-TV documentary,
"Dorothy Fuldheim: A Great Lady, A Great Loss," broadcast
the day of her death, November 4, 1989; Barrett, "Dorothy Fuldheim
Discusses Her Work, Her Life, Her Pleasures, and Annoyances," Cleveland
Press, May 28, 1980, sec. A, p. 4.; and Barrett, "Dorothy Fuldheim:
The Stage Is Where I Really Belong," Cleveland Press, May 29, 1980,
sec. A, p. 4.
Specifics of network job offers to Fuldheim are undocumented. Her long
time boss, Don Perris, whose position as the negotiator of her employment
contracts makes him the most knowledgeable person on the subject of
Fuldheim's salary negotiations, refused to reveal particulars. However,
of the offers that Fuldheim received, he said, "There were several,
they were real, and they were big. Awesome. NBC in particular. ABC from
time to time." Interview, Donald L. Perris, February 21, 1991.
30 For evidence of the effect of the Kent State incident on Fuldheim,
see: WEWS-TV, "Dorothy Fuldheim," November 4, 1989; Fuldheim,
A Thousand Friends, p. 77. Corroboration: Interview, Perris, November
31 Industry audience ratings for WEWS news consistently topped the competition
in the Fuldheim, years. For example, in 1979, Fuldheim's audience versus
that of her closest competitor was 241,000 versus 135,000 television
households, as measured by Nielson, and 222,000 versus 144,000 according
to Arbitron. See: "Audience Estimate, Cleveland Market" (Northbrook
Ill.: A.R. Nielson Co., January 1979), pp. 16, 18; "Audience Estimate,
Cleveland Market" (Beltsville, MD.: The Arbitron Co., January 1979),
p. 132. Several polls cited Fuldheim's prestige in the community: "The
Most Admired Person in the Public Eye, July, 1976," Cleveland Area
Survey, Public Information Bulletin, Case Western Reserve University,
September 30, 1976, p. 1; "Cleveland Press Poll: Person Who Had
the Greatest Impact on Greater Cleveland in the 1970s," Cleveland
Press, December 26, 1979, sec. A, p. 1.
32 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 57.
33 Hugh M. Culbertson, "Three Perspectives on American Journalism,"
Journalism Monographs No. 83, June, 1983, pp. 2-8.
34 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 61.
35 Hosley and Yamada, Hard News, p. 66. Snell is the Americanized spelling
given in other biographical sources.
36 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, (Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing
Company, 1966), p. 1. In her final years, Fuldheim's salary was estimated
to exceed $100,000, which was "fairly modest . . . by television
standards." Daniel Ruth, "Tribute to a Small Giant: Bright
TV Light Goes Out," Chicago (Illinois) Sun-Times, November 16,
37 Barrett, "Where I Really Belong" Cleveland Plain Dealer,
May 29, 1980, sec. A, p. 4.
38 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 33.
39 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 58.
40 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 186.
41 WEWS, "Dorothy Fuldheim," November 4, 1989; for Wisconsin
reference, see: Hosley and Yamada, Hard News, p. 66.
42 Interview, Perris, November 30, 1990.
43 Dorothy Fuldheim, to Hyman W. Kritzer, March 14, 1974, File 4: Miscellaneous
Correspondence, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection, Kent State University Library,
44 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 15; for allergies reference,
see: Fuldheim, Thousand Friends, p. 7; for dresses reference, see: Reisman,
"Rhetorical Analysis," p. 142.
45 Fuldheim, Three and a Half Husbands, (New York: Simon and Schuster,
1976), p. 160.
46 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 41.
47 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 16.
48 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 17. Also in 1918, Dorothy
made her first Cleveland connection. She married attorney Milton H.
Fuldheim, who brought her to his home in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932. Fuldheim
died in 1952. They had a daughter, Dorothy Louise, who later was known
as Dorothy Fuldheim, Junior. The younger Dorothy became a professor
of Russian Literature at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland,
assisted her mother occasionally on news writing assignments, had a
daughter, Halla Urman, and died in 1980 at age sixty, to her mother's
great anguish. The elder Dorothy also outlived her second husband, William
L. Ulmer, a Cleveland industrialist, who married Dorothy in 1953 and
died in 1969. Alan A.A. Seifullah and Mary Strassmeyer, "Dorothy
Fuldheim, TV News Legend, Dies," Cleveland Plain Dealer, November
4, 1989, sec. A, p. 1.
49 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 57.
50 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 153.
51 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 142ff; for Dale reference,
see: Interview, Breslin, November 29, 1990.
52 ibid., p. 143. Reisman's description fits a caricature of Fuldheim
on the cover of Cleveland Magazine, April, 1973.
53 Regine U. Kurlander, Cleveland Plain Dealer Magazine section, n.d.,
1935, p. 1, cited by Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 42.
54 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 15.
55 Kurlander, p. 43.
56 Interview, Perris, February 21, 1991.
57 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, pp. 55-114.
58 Dorothy Fuldheim's final broadcast was a taped interview by satellite
connection of President Ronald Reagan on July 27, 1984, which she completed
while shaking off a stroke. Seifullah and Strassmeyer, "Dorothy
Fuldheim" Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 4, 1989, sec. A, p.
59 Fuldheim, I Laughed, I Cried, I Loved, p. 3ff.
60 Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 61.
61 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 150.
62 Interview, Breslin, November 29, 1990.
63 For apartment reference, see: Terence Sheridan, "Bearded Lady,"
p. 53; for therapist reference, see: Barrett, "Work, Life, Pleasures,
and Annoyances," Cleveland Press, May 28, 1980, sec. A, p. 4; for
breakfast reference, see: Barrett, "Where I Really Belong"
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 29, 1980, sec. A, p. 4.
64 Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 4, 1970, sec. A, p. 1.
65 William F. Miller, "Teamster Leader Uses TV Platform to Swipe
at Agents," Cleveland Press, April 26, 1970, sec. A, p. 1.
66 Nancy K. Gray, "Dorothy Fuldheim," Ms. Magazine, December,
1976, pp. 42-45.
67 WEWS, "Dorothy Fuldheim," November 4, 1989; for book reference,
see: "Rubin's Chatter Shut Off by TV's Dorothy Fuldheim,"
Cleveland Plain Dealer, sec. A, p. 1. Sheridan, "Bearded Lady,"
69 Ibid., p. 58.
70 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 70.
71 Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 11, 1970, sec. A, p. 1.
72 Casale and Paskoff, The Kent Affair, p. 48; for reference to number
of letters, see: Barrett, "Dorothy, the Winner!" Cleveland
Press, April 13, 1970, sec. B, p. 4.
73 Richard M. Perry, "WEWS Tapes Rematch with Miss Fuldheim, Once-Routed
Rubin," Cleveland Plain Dealer, sec. B, p. 2.
74 President Doesn't Want Peace in Southeast Asia, Says Eaton,"
Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 2, 1970, sec. A, p. 4.
75 Don Robertson, Cleveland Press, April 13, 1970, sec. B, p. 5.
70 WEWS, "Dorothy Fuldheim," November 4, 1989; for chauffeur
reference, see: Barrett, "Dorothy Fuldheim: 'I Don't Have Fear
of Death, Don't Think About It,'" Cleveland Press, May 28, 1980,
sec. A, p. 1; for punctuality reference, see: Fuldheim, I Laughed, I
Cried, I Loved, p. 158; for answering calls reference, see: Anita Kever,
women in Television, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975), p. 31;
for newspapers reference, see: Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 1; and
Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 127. Fuldheim, read at
least five newspapers each day--the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,
Akron Beacon Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Cleveland Plain Dealer,
and Cleveland Press--but in some accounts she claimed as many as nine.
77 "Poll OK's Cambodia Aid but Not Use of U.S. Troops," Cleveland
Press, May 2, 1970, sec. A, p. 1.
78 Fuldheim. commentary, "Someone Goofed in This War, WEWS-TV,
5:30, May 8, 1972," File 19: Commentaries, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection,
Kent State University Library, Kent, Ohio.
79 Fuldheim. commentary, "The Hardships of the Draft WEWS-TV, 5:30,
July 12, 1972," File 19: Commentaries, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection,
Kent State University Library, Kent, Ohio.
80 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 170; for typist reference, see:
Sheridan, "Bearded Lady," p. 48; for writing schedule reference,
see: Reisman, "Rhetorical Analysis," p. 127.
81 Barrett, "Work, Life, Pleasures, and Annoyances," Cleveland
Press, May 28, 1980, sec. A, p. 4; for soup reference, see: Interview,
James T. Breslin, November 29, 1990; for candy reference, see: Interview,
James Knight, November 30, 1990.
82 Interview, Donald L. Perris, November 30, 1990.
83 WEWS-TV, "Dorothy Fuldheim," November 4, 1989.
84 During the confusing aftermath, many people on the scene believed
that soldiers had been shot. A local newspaper headline read, "2
Guardsmen, 1 Student Dead in KSU Violence," Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier,
May 4, 1970, cited by Ottavio M. Casale and Louis Paskoff, eds., The
Kent Affair: Documents and Interpretations (Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Co., 1971), p. 80. However, the report turned out to be false. The troopers
had fainted from "shock apparently brought about by the battle
with students." Carl Kovac, "2 Troopers' Collapse Led to False
Reports," Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 5, 1970, cited by Casale
and Paskoff, The Kent Affair, p. 29.
85 Richard G. Ellers and Richard C. Widman, "Kent Rioters Driven
Back onto Campus," Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 4, 1970, sec. A,
p. 1. In 1929 enrollment was 832, Michener, Kent State, p. 172.
87 Michener, Kent State, p. 159.
88 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, pp. 69ff, 66.
89 For phone trouble reference, see: James A. Michener, Kent State:
What Happened and Why (New York: Random House, 1971), pp. 417-418; for
wire reports reference, see: Alfred W. Owens II, "A Correlation
Between the News Reports by WJW-TV and the Scranton Commission Report
of the Events at Kent State, May 1-5, 1970," (Master's Thesis,
Kent State University, December, 1971) p. 51; for work schedule reference,
see: Sheridan, "Bearded Lady," p. 48.
90 First story: "Gas Disperses Teamster Mob," Cleveland Plain
Dealer, May 1, 1970, sec. A, p. 1; second story: "Calm Settles
Over OSU, but More Rioting Is Feared," Cleveland Plain Dealer,
May 1, 1970, sec. A, p. 5. Weather conditions are described in "Report
of the President's Commission on Campus Unrest," (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1970), otherwise called the "Scranton
Commission Report" after its chairman, William W. Scranton, reproduced
by: Casale and Paskoff, The Kent Affair, p. 150.
91 Thomas R. Hensley and Jerry M. Lewis, Kent State and May 4th: A Social
Science Perspective (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt Publishing Co., 1978
pp. ii, 23. For an account of the buses, see: James A. Michener, Kent
State, p. 419. According to reports from Michener and others, there
may have been an unidentified four-teenth shooting victim, who received
a minor wound and concealed it; however, the author of a new book on
the episode failed to find corroborating evidence: William A. Gordon,
The Fourth of May: Killings and Cover-ups at Kent State (Buffalo, NY:
Prometheus Books, 1990), p. 184.
92 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 78.
93 ibid., p. 76.
94 ibid., p. 69.
95 Interview, Perris, November 30, 1990; for petitions reference, see:
Casale and Paskoff, The Kent Affair, p. 49.
96 Barrett, "Dorothy Fuldheim, Center of Debate Over Kent Tragedy,"
Cleveland Press, May 6, 1970, sec. C, p. 6. A somewhat more sympathetic
reaction from the Press was predictable, given that it and WEWS are
97 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 77; for death threat reference,
see: p. 12.
98 ibid., p. 76ff.
99 Hickey, "KSU Story One-Sided in TV Reports," Cleveland
Plain Dealer, May 7, 1970, sec. E, p. 6.
100 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 76.
101 Interview, Ruth B. Armold, February 21, 1991.
102 Letters to the Editor: Most Students Want Peace on Campuses,"
Cleveland Press, May 9, 1970, sec. A, p. 7.
103 Hickey, IKSU Story one-Sided," sec. E, p. 6.
104 v Readers Forum," Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 9, 1970, sec.
A, p. 10.
105 ,Readers Forum," Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 10, 1970, sec.
AA, p. 7.
106Sheridan, "Bearded Lady," p. 54. Interview, Armold, February
107 Barrett, "Center of Debate," Cleveland Press, May 6, 1970,
sec. C, p. 6.
108 Interview, Perris, November 30, 1990.
109 Interview, Perris, February 21, 1991.
110 Interview, Perris, November 30, 1990.
111 Interview, Armold, February 21, 1991.
112 Interview, Perris, February 21, 1991.
113 Interview, Perris, November 30, 1990.
114 Scripps-Howard Enters Television, Scripps-Howard News
2(6):2, March 1948.
115 Interview, Perris, February 21, 1991.
116 Interview, James Knight, November 30, 1990
117 WEWS, "Dorothy Fuldheim," November 4, 1989.
118 Interview, Breslin, November 29, 1990.
119 Fuldheim, A Thousand Friends, p. 76.
120 Casale and Paskoff, The Kent Affair, p. 49.
121 Fuldheim commentary, "Kent State Settlement, WEWS-TV, 6:00,
January 4, 1979," File 19: Commentaries, Dorothy Fuldheim Collection,
Kent State University Library, Kent, Ohio.