White News is a sweeping account of the class and racial conflicts in American news media, from the first colonial newspaper to the Internet age. It chronicles key government decisions that created our nation's system of news, major political battles over the role of the press, and the rise of media conglomerates and epoch-defining technologies. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media distorted the news and unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence through their coverage. And it illuminates how Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative and democratic press and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies. The writing is fast-paced, story-driven and replete with portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, the heroes and the villains.
It weaves back and forth between the corporate battles and government policies that built our segregated media system-as when Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover gave a radio license to a notorious KKK organization in the nation's capital-and those who rebelled against that system, such as Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos 'n' Andy off the air. White News will become the new standard history of American media.
Juan Gonzalez is a winner of the George Polk Award for investigative reporting and is former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is the co-host of the nationally syndicated TV and radio show Democracy Now and is a columnist for New York's Daily News. He has written several books, including Harvest of Empire and Roll Down Your Window. Joseph Torres is the government relations director for Free Press, the national media reform organization. Before joining Free Press, he was a reporter at the Staten Island Advance. He lives in Washington, DC.