The “New Crowd” Driven Out
During the Cold War, the anticommunism movement spurred leading black publishers to rid their newsrooms of left-leaning journalists and suppress coverage of radical political perspectives. Publishers made a pragmatic decision to protect their businesses. This action reoriented black newswriting by narrowing the parameters of what was considered acceptable political discourse just as the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum. Commercial journalists transformed into establishmentarian dissidents who denounced communism and worked within the prevailing political structure for social change. Frustrated and marginalized, progressive editors and activists revived a struggling alternative black press – with Paul Robeson’s Freedom being the most notable publication – to challenge the politcs of integration. Meanwhile, national newspapers’ circulations collapsed as they encountered new competitive challenges from white newspapers, television, and Ebony and Jet magazines.
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