Impact of Journalism and the Passion Behind.

Posted on May 14, 2011


Image from: here

"U.S. Senator of Wisconsin" (1950-1957)

Media has such a tremendous power itself. It can make or break a person with just a couple of stories. It can raise awareness and importance through constant exposure, support or recommendation for a particular cause, event, movement or policy (or at least that is how it used to be). Chapter 10, of Mightier than the Sword by Rodger Streitmatter, talks about how during the 1950s Senator of Wisconsin, Joseph R. McCarthy, began to express his anticommunist beliefs along with accusations against the Democratic Party about their intentions towards America after presiding the country for two decades. McCarthy took advantage of the Cold War fears to make countless charges against the Democratic Party, of working to destroy American values with communism. A driving force behind McCarthy’s words was the support of the newspapers since they turned his “unsubstantiated charges into sensational stories.” (Streitmatter 153) Although, who could blame journalists of those times for considering the words of a State Senator, who seems to be “leading a righteous campaign to save his country from evil forces,” as newsworthy fact?

Reality is that as a journalist one must always be aware of the immense role one has for carrying out factual news. One cannot always consider what people say as factual information; therefore there should be an emphasis on research and finding solid evidence before the publication of a story. The type of journalism that took place during the 1950s could be considered as advocacy journalism, since it was supporting “McCarthyism” by publishing all his unsubstantiated accusations without doing further research to provide counterpoints to his ideals in the hope of making objective articles. His efforts were successful at last, as they helped convince voters of some of the charges against the Democratic Party, which resulted in the “propel (of) the Republican Party into the White House for the first time in 2o years,” in 1952. Thought later, the media, ironically, played a key role in the downward path that McCarthyism was later headed to thanks to the broadcast journalist Edward Murrow who brought out McCarthy’s lies into light.

                                                                                                                                                                          Image from: here

Chapter 11 also talks about the influence that media had on a historic time in America. During the late 1950s and 1960s, America (the racist South) was still experiencing segregation and unequal treatment even after over a century of the abolition of slavery. This time, the popular media involved was television, which served as a crucial vehicle to transport important news stories throughout the nation in order to inform the rest of the country about the injustices that were still taking place in some parts of the United States.

Television’s role was extremely important and influential to the ideological changes in America due to its broadcast of the Civil Rights Movement. If it was not for the consistent broadcasting and journalists of that period of time, the movement would have taken a longer amount of time to progressively advance since it helped the good American citizens of the North to realize what was going on in their country, and what had to be done to put an end to the inequality. Although, this cause was a positive one, this also represents advocacy journalism. Present day journalism should portray news in an objective manner because our duty is to inform and to protect the publics freedom of thinking freely without helping them side on a particular issue. One should have faith that the audience will act upon their best judgment since we live in a free country.

By: Vanessa Rodriguez

Streitmatter, Rodger. Mightier than the Sword. 1st ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2008.153-170. Print.

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