The Press: Defiance in Detroit

"The honorable judges of the Federal District Court for eastern Michigan are hereby given notice," thundered Detroit's evening News (circ. 468,540). "They will shortly have to bring contempt proceedings against the editor of the Detroit News." Whereupon it tried to give the court a chance to do so by running an account of a civil-damage suit in apparent defiance of a court order suppressing the record of the case.

Since Detroit's two other papers ran similar stories, their concerted defiance promptly blew up into a national journalistic cause célèbre. Never before had the loftily independent News, John S. Knight's crusading Free Press...