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Equal TimeTelevision and the Civil Rights Movement$
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Aniko Bodroghkozy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036682

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036682.001.0001

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The Chosen Instrument of the Revolution?

The Chosen Instrument of the Revolution?

(p.41) Chapter 2 The Chosen Instrument of the Revolution?
Equal Time

Aniko Bodroghkozy

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines whether television news was “the instrument of the revolution” during the civil rights era. It first considers early television news coverage of the civil rights story, focusing on the seminal news documentary series, See It Now (1957) and its strategy to privilege the white moderate. It then turns to television coverage of the James Meredith crisis at the University of Mississippi, along with network news' ambivalence with black activism and CBS Eyewitness coverage of the Albany Movement. The chapter asks whether television news amplified and publicized the goals, politics, and agendas of the civil rights movement, its activists, demonstrators, and spokespeople for the cause of voting rights, desegregation, and African American empowerment. It suggests that news reporting, whether print or television, is obviously not a neutral mirror reflecting reality.

Keywords:   television news, See It Now, James Meredith, black activism, Eyewitness, Albany Movement, civil rights movement, voting rights, desegregation, African American empowerment

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