MICHELSON, CHARLES

MICHELSON, CHARLES (1869–1948), U.S. editor, journalist, and political publicist. Michelson, who was born in Virginia City, Nevada, ran away from home at the age of 13. He worked as a sheepherder, miner, and teamster, before going to work for the Virginia City Chronicle as a reporter. He subsequently worked for San Francisco newspapers, before going to Cuba as a correspondent for Hearst's New York Journal in 1896. Soon after his arrival Michelson was imprisoned briefly in Morro Castle, but was released in time to cover the Spanish-American War. After the war, Michelson worked for several other newspapers. From 1917 to 1929 he was chief of the Washington bureau of the New York World. In 1929 the Democratic National Committee hired Michelson as the first full-time publicity director, the first ever employed by a political party. Within two years of his appointment, Michelson was the ghostwriter of hundreds of press releases attacking the Hoover administration. After Roosevelt's election, Michelson also did publicity work for the Treasury Department and the Civilian Conservation Corps and was public relations director of the National Recovery Administration (NRA). His weekly column, "Dispelling the Fog," was distributed free to newspapers throughout the country. The Republican Party considered Michelson a key factor in the electoral successes of the Democratic Party. Michelson retired in 1942, returning briefly as associate director of publicity in 1944. He wrote his memoirs, The Ghost Talks (1944).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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