The role of the media seems especially important as we enter the TV era. How did television, as well as radio, films, and other media, influence political and social life in the 1950’s?
The radio and newspapers were the most powerful form of public communication in the 1950’s. The radio took center stage as the television was not fully popular. The media sources influenced people’s political, social and even religious views making them powerful and priced tools. The period was marked by great social, religious and political tension globally with the end of the World War II and the start of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the same period the United States social and political landscape hit by massive human rights activism calling for race equality. The 1950’s activists utilized the media to rally followers and pass their grievances. Media sources including the Radio, Television and Newspapers, helped shape the political and social lives of people in the United States in the 1950’s.
The Cold War
The media mainly radio and newspapers shaped and influenced the political landscape of the United States. First, the end of the World War II marked the start of the cold war between allied United States and Soviet Union members. The United States government utilized the media as a tool to protect the democracy and capitalism ideology while dispensing Communists theories. The television also emerged as a powerful public communication and helped spread the cold war hysteria. Review of the 1950 television including documentaries and announcements indicates how television was politically used to instigate fear and shape public’s political views (Dennis, 2013).
Political Activism, Race, and Human Rights Issue
The racial discrimination has existed since the 1800’s with the use of blacks as slaves. Despite presidential decree declaring them equal citizens many States still held into punitive and racially discriminatory laws (Michael, 1877). The civil right groups between 1940-1960 used the media mainly radio, newspaper, and the television to create a social awareness of the program. The activist groups also used the media to educate and also gather race activists for demonstrations. Using television broadcasting the groups highlighted the brutality such as the use of dogs, live bullets and beating of demonstrators. Political and equality activists such as Martin Luther King utilized the media to build one of the strongest anti-racism campaigns in American history in the period 1950-1960. King and followers used radio shows, newspapers prints, and television broadcasting to highlight the extent of the discrimination and win global support for equality (Dennis, 2013).