Sixty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
Page 12 -The Michigan Daily Centennial Edition - Friday, October 19, 1990
Centennial Colloquium Schedule
.free of charge . all are welcome
Friday, October 19th, 1:30 pm, Rackham Auditorium
"Preserving Editorial Freedom For the Next One
Moderator: Dan Biddle; The Philadelphia Tribune
Panel: Leon Jaroff; Time Magazine
Rebecca Blumenstien ; The Tampa Tribune
Roger Rappaport ; The Oakland Tribune
Saturday, October 20th, 9:30 am, Angell Auditorium A
"Journalists and Their Sources: Who's Using Whom?"
Moderator: Walter Shapiro; Time Magazine
Panel: Paul Greenberg; Producer, NBC News
Betsy Carter; Editor, New York Woman
Beth Nissen; Reporter, ABC News
Jonathan Miller; SKY TV, London
Bruce Wasserstein; Investment Banker
Sara Fitzgerald; The Washington Post
Esther Margolis; Publisher/Editor in Chief,Newmarket Press
Tony Schwartz; Editor, New York Magazine: Co-Author
Trump: The Art of the Deal
reviewer caused panic.
LaBour began rumor that Paul McCartney was dead in 1969
by Annette Petrusso
Sunday, Oct. 12, 1969, Russ
Gibb's Sunday radio show on
WKNR-FM in Detroit: A caller
gives two clues to support his claim
the Beatles' Paul McCartney is dead.
This idea clicks something in
Daily reporter Fred LaBour's mind.
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 1969, The
Michigan Daily: LaBour's review of
the new Beatles album, Abbey
Road, fills in more details aboutbthe
death, including where and when, and
cites many clues in the Beatles'
albums to prove it.
Russ Gibb and other DJs in the
Detroit area publicize more theories
on Paul's demise in the Beatles.
Thursday, Oct. 16, 1969, The
Detroit Free Press: A reporter sums
up the current status of the "Paul is
Dead" rumor, quoting LaBour and
Friday, Oct. 17, 1969, The
Michigan Daily: Letters from dis-
traught fans appear regarding the re-
view. Don Moylan and David
Thompson actually took it seriously
enough to write in. "We believe that
the article is, for the most part fic-
tion and not fact." They concluded
their correspondence with a post
script: "We don't want to believe he
is dead. O.K.?"
This cult of "Paul is Dead" de-
fines what a good rumor can do -
antagonize fans, annoy record com-
panies when people call to learn the
"truth," and increase sales of the
act's albums. Fred LaBour and the
Daily played a large part in origin-
ating this rumor.
"I heard about it on a radio show
out of Detroit on Sunday afternoon
and I had to review the new Beatles'
album at the same time which was
called Abbey Road. And I heard this
guy call in the Russ Gibb show and
he said check out these clues. He had
like two clues," LaBour said.
LaBour was so inspired by this
concept that he wrote his review in a
style guaranteed to elicit response.
"The next morning, I sat down to
write a sort of satire of that whole
school of reviewing that looks for
hidden clues in artist's records, that's
looking for the big picture which
may or not be there. So I created this
whole story... And set up my al-
bums all in a line there, I remember
doing that on my desk and going
through and making up clues... You
know there's enough wacky coinci-
dences that it really gets weird," he
'We thought it was a
scream. You know,
who is ever going to
believe this? This is
just too funny. And
people believed it'
-Daily music reviewer
Fred LaBour on
spreading the rumor of
Paul McCartney's death
"We thought it would be great if
we copyright it and it will make it
look more official and we'll have
these disclaimers and things," he
"We thought it was a scream.
You know, who is ever going to be-
lieve this? This is just too funny.
And people believed it."
The rumor spread everywhere.
"It got picked up. Every day it
another part of the country. It took
like a week to get across the coun-
try. First Detroit, then Chicago,
then New York and finally the West
Coast," LaBour said. "I was getting
phone calls from everywhere. It was
amazing. We had to have two extra
"You'd walk down the street in
Ann Arbor at night and you wo
hear Beatles' records at every windo
and people playing them backwards.
It was a riot. They sold lots of beer
and Beatles' records out instantly."
Friction a part of
Continued from page 1
worked in the library, Rapoport di-
covered that Piower's company, Uni-
versity Microfilms, had been:
selling copies of University
selling copies of the Univer-
sity shelflist catalogue;
using the name of the Univer-
sity to advertise the company's mer-
and using a room in the UGI
without paying any rent.
Rapoport said the story was rela-
tively easy to investigate. "Nobody
ever denied anything," he said. Be-
cause of the story's seriousness,
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'(College papers) are
often in poor taste,
usually staffed by
people who are
radical than the
prior to printing, Rapoport read tho
entire article to Power, who did not
contest the story's accuracy.
After the article's publication,
Michigan Attorney General Frank
Kelly concluded there was
"considerable conflict of interest" in
Power's dealings with the Univer-
sity. Power resigned.
Rapoport said the Daily editors
were surprised by Power's resigna
tion."We never suggested resignia
tion, we were just reporting the in-
formation," Rapoport said.
An editorial that ran the next day
was almost apologetic: "This has
caused as much dismay to The Daily
as it has to the rest of the University
community. Though we originally
disclosed the business transactions
which raised questions about his re-
lations with the University, we have
never felt that the best way to im-
prove those relations was to sever
The Daily's news reporting and
University criticism annoyed admin-
istrators to the point they actually
considered disassociating the Univer-
sity from the paper. In a letter dated
July 8, 1970, University President
Robben Fleming suggested forcing-
the Daily underground.
"College newspapers everywhere
have always been, and probably al-
ways will be, a thorn. They are inac-
curate, biased, often in poor taste,
inflammatory and usually staffed by
people who are considerably more
radical than the student body," Flem-
ing said in the letter, which was not
made public until 1988.
Other proposals Fleming sug-
gested was appointing a profession4
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