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What was TV?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The late 1940's and early 1950's - tumultuous time throughout the United States.
  3. Communism and Communist countries and an evil image of the enemy.
  4. Rift in the United States government as a result of Cold War.
  5. The power of film - a main threat and a way that foreign propaganda was leaked into American society.
  6. The blacklist and the actors and performers.
  7. Conclusion.

In the 1950's television became the dominant mass media as people readily brought small screens into their homes in greater numbers of hours per week than ever before. It was clear that television would leave its mark ?for good or ill and be under ever widening scrutiny?and not merely from its expanding audience, which [numbered] an estimated 40,000,000? (Gould, ?What is TV?) in 1951. The TV set could be turned on at any time of any day of the week and American homes would be inundated with broadcasts, sitcoms, and variety shows at the touch of a button. It seemed that the private sector would be changed forever. While radio had served as not only a popular medium but also an important step in history, connecting people across the nation and spreading information faster than ever before, the television now put a face with a name and visuals to a description.

[...] This is really not surprising considering the vast majority of the public was not directly affected by the Hollywood blacklist. Although some famous actors on popular shows were removed, new actors appeared to fill their spots and life went on. The biggest effects seemed to be on the industry itself. For a significant period of time television and broadcasting went though the process of self- editing where a clear line had been drawn that was not to be crossed. Although the actual list disappeared this era left a black mark on Hollywood and it was some time before many attempted to push lines in any way toward the left. [...]

[...] A prime example is the article Hollywood Story? by Elizabeth Poe written for Frontier magazine. This article emerged in 1954, in the so-called height of the blacklisting era and the purging of all those associated with Communism. In reality no new evidence was presented. Poe simply worked off of a compilation of all of the actions taken by HUAC, but this seemed to be enough to raise more than a few eyebrows. Many took the piece to heart and began to analyze Poe's description. [...]

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