1951 April 22

NY Times Columnist Charges “Conspiracy of Silence” in Radio and Television Blacklisting


The New York Times radio and television columnist Jack Gould on this day charged that a “conspiracy of silence” pervaded the radio and television industry regarding the blacklisting of entertainers and news people. Blacklisted individuals, whom he called “displaced” persons, were being “deprived of their opportunity to make a living.” But because of the fear surrounding the blacklist, little was being said, and Gould declared that “it is time the story came out.”

Gould cited the notorious Red Channels report, released on June 22, 1950, which named many people as either Communists or Communist sympathizers, despite the fact that the publishers of the report made “no effort” to verify the truth of their allegations. He pointed out that radio and television executives were allowing their personnel practices to be dictated by allowing anyone “who writes a protesting letter” making unconfirmed allegations about an entertainer or news person.

The ACLU issued a report that documented and condemned the blacklisting of people in the entertainment and news industries. The report, The Judges and the Judged, written by Merle Miller, was released on April 6, 1952.

Read the Report: Merle Miller, The Judges and the Judged (1952)

Learn more about Cold War blacklisting: David Everitt, A Shadow of Red: Communism and the Blacklist in Radio and Television (2007)

Learn more about the ACLU in the Cold War and other Times of National Crisis: https://www.aclu.org/aclu-history-rooting-out-subversives-paranoia-and-patriotism-mccarthy-era

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