Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press

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9781592133420: Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press

Edward Alwood, a former news correspondent, traces how journalists became radicalised during the Depression era, only to become targets of Senator Joseph McCarthy and like-minded anti-Communist crusaders during the 1950s.

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About the Author:

Edward Alwood is Associate Professor of Journalism at Quinnipiac University and former Correspondent for CNN. He is the author of Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media.

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Alwood's look back at the 1950s congressional investigations of Communist infiltration of the press evokes a recent concern about the protections accorded under the First Amendment. The aggressive Eastland Committee subpoenaed more than 100 reporters to testify, many in public, of ties to the Communist Party. Fourteen of those who refused to testify were fired by newspapers, including the New York Times. Alwood, a journalism professor, draws on previously undisclosed FBI files and interviews to examine the tensions between Congress—15 years into a campaign to root out Communism—and the press. For its part, some of the press, notably conservative publisher William Randolph Hearst, conducted witch hunts and were uncritical in reporting on the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Alwood explores the motivations of publishers protecting their economic interests and reporters sympathetic to the Newspaper Guild and other unions, as well as the Supreme Court's refusal to recognize protections afforded to reporters under the First Amendment. This book is particularly evocative as the nation faces a debate about national security and press freedom. Bush, Vanessa

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