Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Media portrayals and public opinion" on "What happened after November 3, 1979?"

"...Not a single article was ever published about Sandi Smith, the African American graduate and former student body president of Bennett College for Women.

At the same time, the police were regularly praised (in editorials and in news accounts) for their diligent action despite charges and some evidence that the police absence on Nov. 3, 1979, may have contributed to or even caused the ensuing violence.

...Police informant and undercover processes, labor and worker rights, racial tensions, and social unrest were barely cited in the daily newspaper coverage and nearly eliminated from mention altogether as the reporting narrowed in on event details, subsequent protests (to which media coverage was limited to how to maintain law and order)... was a minimum standard that had the affect of leaving out much of the discussion surrounding labor practices, race relations, First Amendment rights, national and international political contexts, and other large issues in which the event was embedded.

As the trials unfolded, the media coverage in the daily newspapers did include statements made by
the protestors about police and government complicity leading up to Nov. 3, 1979.

...To the extent that deep, structural factors were involved in the commission of violence on Nov. 3, 1979, the daily newspaper readers were not given an array of views held by various stakeholders nor how those issues were connected to activities happening not only in Greensboro, but around the country.

...As the Carolina Peacemaker continued its coverage, the community response featured in the newspaper was generally suspect of the police role in the events leading up to and following Nov. 3, 1979.

...It would be difficult for a reader of this newspaper to reach any other conclusion than that the CWP members, for all their faults – which were discussed in the newspaper – were not protected as they should have been by the police on Nov. 3, 1979.

...the weekly newspaper adopted an approach that questioned police and government action in contributing yet another chapter to the history of tension between the African American and law enforcement communities.

...In both the daily and the weekly newspapers, the word most often used was “shooting,” which cast blame on no one in particular in describing Nov. 3, 1979.

...In matters of labor, around which November 3, 1979, centered, the framing of union activity and protection of workers’ rights have historically been usurped by coverage of management practices and corporate values.

...In media depictions of Nov. 3, 1979, we found eight different explanations, slants, or news
frames were most commonly used for what happened and why. These are the explanations
commonly used by the news reporters. They are not our own interpretations.

...3.   Police and government knew of and ignored violence and CWP protection
In this frame, city and federal officials are portrayed as knowing violence would occur through
informants and other intelligence efforts. Police saw the Klan/Nazi guns and tailed caravan all
the way to the march. Claim is the event was a government assisted massacre. Government
representation of CWP survivors failed to put forth the best case, leaving out key information
that could implicate the government.

...we suggest that the media played a crucial role in the community’s understanding of Nov. 3, 1979, even as other factors influenced the community’s response. The daily newspapers reported the facts. But they did not report all the facts.

...As African Americans were moving from outside the mills to working inside them, the impulse for union organizing was growing to reflect a commitment to a multiracial workforce that arose out of the Southern civil rights movement.  This was the reporting strategy essentially adopted by the Carolina Peacemaker but that newsweekly arguably did not reach as many readers, and certainly not the white, Anglo-Saxon community that held the reins of power in Greensboro in 1979.

...A question never fully engaged by the print media was what knowledge local law enforcement had of the violence, and if and how law enforcement officials looked the other way or worse, incited the violence through their informants who provoked and encouraged illegal activity by the Klan and Nazis.

...refusing to acknowledge painful chapters in our histories “is like hiding the empty pie plate and wondering why you got fat.” Greensboro proceeded without pause, without self reflection, laying blame for the tragedy outside itself.

...the dailies failed to provide context of police involvement or why the conflict happened in Greensboro. Rather, the daily coverage tended to focus blame on the two “extremist” sides of the CWP and Klan/Nazis."