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Alfred Morton (1952 – 1953)

VOA Director Alfred Morton (1952 – 1953)
VOA Director Alfred Morton (1952 – 1953)

Alfred Morton, born in Chicago in 1897, served as the sixth Director of Voice of America, 1952-1953. Mr. Morton, known as “Doc”, was an avid defender of reporting unbiased, objective news. At the time of his appointment, he was quoted as saying, “We want to tell the truth, and though this sounds platitudinous as hell, there must be something to it.”

His defense of unbiased news got him in trouble when he resisted a State Department order to censor Communist-related materials at the height of McCarthyism. He insisted that VOA should continue “using their own (Communists’) words against them.” He was immediately fired for his trouble, but rehired the next day and the State Department also amended its orders determining when Communist or Communist-related information could be referenced. In April 1953, he was transferred to the State Department to the position of Science Advisor.

Morton began his career as an assistant to the future board chairman of the General Electric Company, and went on to help found the Radio Corporation of America (now RCA). In 1929 he was named European manager for RCA, moving to their Paris headquarters. From there, he began the first broadcasts from continental Europe to the United States, and was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor — the highest honor bestowed by the French government — for his contribution in radio and commerce between France and the United States. After leaving RCA, he held high-ranking positions at NBC, then ABC. After leaving government service, Morton formed Television Consultants, a company that assisted the growth of the new television industry by helping applicants prepare station license applications.