Last modified on 27 June 2016, at 16:59

Lawrence Spivak

Lawrence Spivak was a American broadcaster and co-founder as well as moderator from 1965-1975 of Meet the Press[1]


After graduating as a Cum Laude from Harvard University, Spivak began working as business manager of Antiques magazine. In 1930 he received a job working as circulation director and assistant publisher for the Hunting and Fishing magazine and the National Sportsman. He bought the The American Mercury’ magazine in 1934, until he sold his controlling interest in 1936. Using the marketing knowledge he had gained from the magazine industry he began publishing a verity of magazines type books, including, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction’’, and in 1950; the ‘’Detective.’’[2]

In 1945, he began his broadcast career by broadcasting the ‘’American Mercury’’ over the radio in an effort to boost circulation. Spivak’s experience with broadcasting the magazine, gave him the idea of making a news radio show which also included interviews. He, and radio broadcaster Martha Rountree, created the idea of Meet the Press, and in 1945 the news show was first broadcasted. From 1965-1975 he served as moderator of the weekly news program, interviewing many major new makers from around the world.

Interview Style

Spivik was known for his blunt approach to the news, and took pride in the fact that both conservatives and liberals charged him with bias. Former Democrat President, Lyndon Johnson, described Spivak as “the toughest of tough”. Jacob Hay, a television critic for the Baltimore Sun wrote,

"Twenty viewers’ description of Lawrence Spivak; rude, unfair, vicious, aggressive, tenacious, challenging, probing, nagging, autocratic, doctorial, spunky, merciless, and impolite, with the humorless vindictiveness of the dyspeptic owl. I find Mr. Spivak objectionable, offensive, intrusive, abrasive, tactless, and generally insufferable newsman. He has a monumental impertinence. In short, Mr. Spivak is the kind of newsman most of us out here would like to be."[3]


  • The first Meet the Press program was shot in a hotel in Washington, D.C., the host of the show, Spivak, lived in the same hotel.
  • Randolph Churchill called Spivak a "dictator" because of his rule which prohibited smoking on Meet the Press set.[4]
  • Spivaks son, Jonathan, worked for the Wall Street Journal and his daughter worked as a television journalist.[5]


  2. Meet the Press: 50-Years of History in the Making, by Rick Ball (Author), pg. 13
  3. Meet the Press: 50-Years of History in the Making, by Rick Ball (Author), pg. 45
  4. Meet the Press: 50-Years of History in the Making, by Rick Ball (Author), pg. 27
  5. Meet the Press: 50-Years of History in the Making, by Rick Ball (Author), pg. 27