I have listed my impressions of William J Miller..who I am proud to say was my uncle.
Uncle Bill left his native Asheville when he was almost 18, immediately after his graduation from Lee Edwards High School. He went to live with a brother in Cleveland Ohio, and Louis Selzer gave him a job at the Cleveland Press.
William J. Miller was at one time the Editor of The New York Herald Tribune. He occupied Horace Greeley's old office. Remember Horace Greeley who advised"Go West Young Man".
Uncle Bill was at one time in Who's Who in America.
He was the English Language Consultantf or the American Heritage Dictionary.
Sometimes one of his stories was featured on a program called "The Big Story". He worked to get a falsely accused man out of prison once,when he lived in Ohio,and this was the focus of the Big Story once.
He was very bright and very handsome.
He was very thoughtful and kind .My sister and I went to visit him, and we insisted that we would explore all of New York in all of 2 days. This was when he lived in Chappaqua NY and he was Chief Editorial Writer of The HERALD TRIBUNE. Although my sister and I just kind of burst in on he and his family, he got us tickets to a Broadway play, with Anthony Perkins , Jo Van Fleet and Hugh Griffith. The play was "Look Homeward Angel,"
He helped us get the autographs of the cast, and he took us and his wife and the six of his eight children out to dinner. He would send us Christmas presents when we were children,I remember a pair of White Flannel Pajamas with a pink heart pocket.. He sent a very pretty locket once and some electric scissors. He had 8 children of his own, so this was an extremely thoughtful thing for him to do. He probably did not have eight children but about 4 at the time, but it was very lovely of him to think of us.He also wrote two books." Henry Cabot Lodge", and "The Meaning Of Communism." The meaning of Communism was used as a State Textbook in Florida.
He gave the eulogy for my Dad at Dad's service in Sylva, NC, although he had many problems he himself was dealing with at the time you would never have known it. It was a beautiful elegy.he said of Dad, "The sweetest flowers are born to blush unseen and waste their fragrance on the desert air." From "Gray's elegy in a country church yard."
He came to our home for a visit once in 1978, .He and Daddy went up to eat at some restaurant at Jack London Square in Oakland. Daddy was thrilled of course, for he loved to read Jack London's books, and he dearly loved his little brother. He was so proud of Uncle Bill's accomplishments. We were all very proud of Uncle William Johnson Miller
Below is a story that he wrote for The Nieman Report.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE NEWSPAPER READER
by William J. Miller
"Whenever two or more newspapermen get together the talk sooner or later turns
to the sad state of the nation's press, and what should bedone about it. That was
true of every one of the nine groups of Nieman Fellows so far. A majority in
nearly every group felt that the press generally was doing an inadequate, and too
often a biased and venal, job. Like the weather, everybody talked about it end-
lessly but found no solution for it. Many reasons have been advanced for
the publishers' cussed persistence in continuing to publish newspapers that are far
from being as honest, as fearless or as outspoken as
most of their writers would wish them to be. One possible reason is perhaps too simple to have merited much
discussion, and that is that the general public may not want a better press. I
have come to the conclusion that the people get about as good a press as they
By the same logic, I persuaded myself that India did not deserve independence.
"Look," I would say to friends who argued that India should be free day after tomorrow,
"when we Americans wanted freedom, we damned well took it. It wasn't something
we asked somebody to give to us. About the Indians: there are 400,000,000 of
them, and only 40,000,000 Englishmen. We have just finished a war in which, for a
good solid year, England was uncertain whether she could succeed in hanging on
to her own little island, let alone India. During that time, if there had been as many as
5,000,000 Indians who could have agreed on the kind of freedonm they wanted,
you couldn't persuade me they couldn't have taken it."
The trouble with the Indians was that they couldn't stop fighting among themselves
long enough to unite against the English. The trouble with the American
newspaper reader, however, is,I believe, that he does not like to read anything that
forces him to think. That, and that alone could account for the fact that all through
the war the American newspaper with the largest circulation, the New York
Daily News, was the one which consistently filled its columns with Nazi propaganda.
The propaganda evidently did not have any effect, for the Daily News' readers went on about their business
of winning a war,but the fact that they continued to read the News instead of dancing up
and down and tearing it to pieces is an indication that they read it mostly because
its contents were short, simple, and quickly and easily read with no cerebration whatever.
If you will make a careful study of newspaper readers on street cars, subways,
busses, or elsewhere, you will quickly note that the moods which conflict with the
always tepid desire to be informed are almost as varied as the scenery. At the
time when most people read papers, either going to work or going home from it,
they tend to be absorbed in day dreams, either planning the triumph they are going
to putover, or else thinking up logical excuses for the rebuff they have just
William J.Miller, of the staff of Newsweek,
was long a crack reporter, rewrite man, and
finally a war correspondent for the Cleveland Press. He was a Nieman Fellow in