Ted Koppel

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In May 1987, Sen. Gary Hart stepped up to a microphone and pulled out of the race for president. Hart spoke not only about his decision, but about a sea change he perceived in how the media covered national politics.

What appeared in Soviet newspapers, magazines and books during the 1950s was processed through so many layers of censorship, that what ultimately emerged was mostly propaganda. Writers and poets who defied the system, went unpublished, lost their jobs and often their homes. Many were sent to the gulag, or died in the cellars of the KGB.

During the worst terror of the Stalin years, Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr. Zhivago, was left largely alone because, it was rumored, Stalin liked some of his poetry.