Answer to Question #202383 in History for Marissa N Madrid

Question #202383

What was the role of media (movies, radio, and especially television) in the rise and fall of the Red Scare?

Expert's answer

The Red Scare was a widespread hysteria in the United States after the World Wars, caused by perceived threat posed by Communists in the US during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The media played a big role in the rise and fall of the Red Scare through engagement in antagonistic psychological warfare. In the wake of World War I, the American press sensationalized the labor strikes that were on rise as being caused by immigrants determined to bring down the American way of life. In the wake of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet, the media distributed extreme propagandist slogans, which successfully served to cause a climate of hysteria over Communism and a nuclear war. The media extended the propaganda to every aspect of western life, ranging from radio, film and television to print. The film "Red Nightmare" was taught in schools as part of the standard curriculum. Radio was used to dissemble propaganda into the Soviet Union in an effort to spread pro-capitalist sentiment. Unsubstantiated and exaggerated accusations by Mccarthy and Hoover on Communism taking over the US received a lot of press attention, leading to even more heightened tensions in the country. McCarthy used the media to disseminate his anticommunist beliefs, though it was also the media that fueled his downfall. Television also fired everyone in the industry associated with Communist beliefs, destroying several careers. Even so, a few western media outlets such as BBC and Voice America sought a different approach from the US media antagonism; they subversively offered a positive view of the perceived enemy, the Soviet Union. The media later abandoned its position as a tool for propaganda and began to adopt a more watchdog strategy, leading to mass rejection of McCarthyism.

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