From the earliest colonial newspapers to the Internet age, America’s racial divisions have played a central role in the creation of the country’s media system, just as the media has contributed to—and every so often, combated—racial oppression. News for All the People reveals how racial segregation distorted the information Americans received from the mainstream media. It unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence and discrimination through their coverage. And it chronicles the influence federal media policies exerted in such conflicts. It depicts the struggle of Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists who fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative, democratic press, and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.
Written in an exciting, story-driven style and replete with memorable portraits of journalists, both famous and obscure, News for All the People weaves back and forth between the corporate and government leaders who built our segregated media system—such as Herbert Hoover, whose Federal Radio Commission eagerly awarded a license to a notorious Ku Klux Klan organization in the nation’s capital—and those who rebelled against that system.
Based on years of original archival research and up-to-the-minute reporting and written by two veteran journalists and leading advocates for a more inclusive and democratic media system, News for All the People should become the standard history of American media.
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About the Author
Joseph Torres is the senior advisor for government and external affairs for Free Press, the national media reform organization. Before joining Free Press, he worked as deputy director at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a journalist for several years. He lives in Silver Spring, MD.
Table of Contents
I The Age of Newspapers
1 "Barbarous Indians" and "Rebellious Negroes" 19
2 In the Mail: The Post Office, the Press and the Mass Political Party 31
3 Inciting to Riot: The Age of Jackson 41
II Rebel Voices
4 A New Democratic Press 63
5 Priests, Mobs, and Know-Nothings: The Early Spanish-Language Press 69
6 The Indian "War of Words 93
7 To Plead Our Own Cause: The Early Black Press 109
8 "The Chinese Must Go!" 123
III The Age of News Networks
9 Wiring the News 137
10 The Progressive Era and the Colored Press 161
IV The Age of Broadcasting
11 Words with Wings 185
12 Trouble in the Streets 209
13 Other Voices: Amos 'n' Andy, the "Sunshine Lady" and Los Madrugadores 231
14 Uniting the Home Front 257
15 The Color Line and the Public Interest: The Post-War Period 277
16 Fierce Rebellion, Furious Reaction: 1963-2003 301
V The Age of the Internet
17 Controlling the Means of Transmission: Old Media's Fall and New Media's Rise 343