ERIC Number: ED244282
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Mutable Prophet: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Echo Chamber Campaign of "U. S. News & World Report," 1964-1968.
Between 1964 and 1968, "U. S. News and World Report" engaged in symbolic discourse with its readership through its coverage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "U. S. News" faced a dilemma in the mingling of King's force as a symbol with the power exerted by the egalitarian principles that Gunnar Myrdal identified as components of the American Creed. The magazine first attempted to counter the prevailing definition of King as a symbol of moderate reform by portraying him as a false prophet. Two general themes appeared. The first was that, unwitting or not, King was an agent of communist conspiracy. The second was that the nonviolence and civil disobedience practiced by King threatened the rule of law. King was presented as a threat in both themes to the ordered society "U. S. News" sought to represent. However, when other less moderate black leaders or organizations appeared to pose greater threats than King, "U. S. News" redefined his role and presented him with his symbolic qualities as a moderate reformer intact or augmented. This process continued through the late reformist and radical phases of his career, and, following his death, "U. S. News" once again redefined King as a prophet who promised peace. (Author/CRH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: King (Martin Luther Jr); U S News and World Report
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).