Cleaning the House of Broadcasting: Gender, Race, and the FBI Attack on Television

714 PLC
UO campus

Sociology Colloquium Series

a talk by Carol Stabile, associate dean, CAS, and professor, WGS and SOJC, University of Oregon

Abstract: In June 1950, a group of former FBI agents published a slender volume titled Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television, launching an attack on television that they described as an effort “clean the house of broadcasting. These first attacks on progressives in television during the summer of 1950 were aimed at women: Ireene Wicker, the host of a popular children’s television show; trade unionist, stripper and single mother Gypsy Rose Lee; actress and labor activist Jean Muir; and musician and Civil Rights activist Hazel Scott, the first black woman to host her own television show. This chapter describes the relationship between the Bureau and its former G-Men that transformed what we would understand today as the intersectional perspectives of progressive cultural workers into offenses that cost them their jobs, engendering a climate in the new industry that was hostile to perspectives and points-of-view that anti-communists defined as controversial, subversive, and un-American.