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Racial blinkers in the press

Ignoring, suppressing civil rights news & views was not universal, but...

Published Tuesday, February 18, 2014 5:00 pm by J. McClelland


(A sampling from AOJ diversity chairman Richard Prince and other sources)

Commenting on the behavior of white establishment media in the post-Reconstruction South and in some recent work, Prince wrote: "Think of the contrast with the courageous editorializing during the Civil Rights Movement of Eugene Patterson and others, and then the mea culpas later when some Southern newspapers admitted they ignored or distorted the movement."

Charlotte Observer apology 108 years later

Some Forgive; Others Deny on the Tallahassee Democrat, Birmingham (Ala.) News, Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald.

Press Played Role in Anti-Black Riot of 1898 (on Josephus Daniels and the News & Observer in Raleigh).

In a 22,000-word 2004 essay in "Southern Spaces, an Interdisciplinary Journal," William G. Thomas III of the University of Virginia argued that the nascent 1950s-60s medium of television was less blinkered than the white press during the civil rights movement. About one egregious example of blinkering, he wrote:

"Nowhere was the segregation of print information about schools and desegregation more complete than in Prince Edward County, Virginia, where the local board of supervisors closed the county schools for five years from 1959-1964 rather than allow them to be integrated. Prince Edward was ... unexceptional in the way its white media excluded African American voices and segregated key information."

Gift list: Prince's holiday list of books by or about minority opinionizers or activists: http://mije.org/richardprince/your-face-holiday-fare and possibly the most relevant of them, another anlysis of TV and press and civil rights: http://mije.org/richardprince/your-face-holiday-fare#Equal%20Time.

Does the current rise of another new medium put all older existing media at high risk of again being behind the 8-ball?


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