Press Coverage Of Riots Blasted
"Police Riot in Grove Hall" read the Bay State Banner, Boston's Negro weekly, after the city's disturbances in June.
Last night, Melvin Miller '56, the Banner's Editor, told a Harvard Law Forum audience that the white press ignored police brutality, at the scene of the melee. Encouraged by the Justice Department, papers avoided "upsetting" the public at the expense of writing the truth, he said.
Miller, one of three panelists discussing "The Mass Media and the Riots" lambasted the "management" of news by the government and the newspapers. Together with Martin Hayden, editor of the Detroit News, he also criticized the press for using what he called "often- hysterical" police reports as its chief source of riot information.
Louis Cassel, Senior Editor of UPI admitted that newspapers, by running stories of the horrors of the ghettos, made Negroes feel that "they were obligated to riot."
But in the absence of scheduled panelist Michael Wallace, a television news-caster, Cassell devoted most of his remarks to castigating television. "The TV films, by revealing the scene of riots while they were happening, helped swell the crowds," he charged.