The Dissemination of Information

Television in the 1950s

A serviceman and his family watching television in 1954. 

Ideas spread globally:

For Americans, the early Cold War decades and the widespread launch of television happened simultaneously, during the ‘50s and ‘60s, and the two became closely linked in the minds of the people. In particular, “Hollywood producers made movies and television shows directly invoking the Red Threat,” or the potential rise of communism.[1]

The Woman on Pier 13

1949 The Woman on Pier 13 film. 

Communism in the film industry:

This 1949 film, The Woman on Pier 13, depicts communism as powerful. As a whole, it displays the struggle to leave the Communist party.

The plot consists of Robert Ryan who plays as Brad Collins, a shipping executive, in which his youthful flirtations have made him a target to the Communist cell leader named Vanning (Thomas Gomez). Essentially, Vanning threatens to reveal the "pinko" past of Collins if he doesn't sabotage the shipping industry within San Francisco. However, Nan Lowry Collins (Laraine Day), his wife, has no idea of her husband's politics.  

It is an American film that was directed by Robert Stevenson and written by Charles Grayson along with Robert Hardy Andrews. It was originally titled I Married a Communist in 1949 when it aired in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Here is a clip of the trailer that was aired in 1949. 

The prominence of KING 5 news - contributors: 

As television continued to gain viewers during the ‘70s and ‘80s, KING 5 was a popular news broadcasting station. This is because it further increased communication and calmed public hysteria during the threat of nuclear war. Jean Enerson and Anne Stadler plunged into daily lives of the United States and the Soviet Union in order to focus on the relations between these two superpowers. 

A word cloud of what was said in an interview with Anne Stadler that was done by Gwen Whiting in 2017.

2018 Word Cloud by Stephanie Sells.

The three main goals of Jean Enerson and Anne Stadler:

First of all, they wanted to express freedom of speech, and their concerns served as a model for others. As KING 5 stood up to censorship, it used it as an opportunity for dialogue and education, rather than condemnation. For instance, they aired a segment about the 1979 Afghanistan war in Seattle even though it was withheld from the Soviet Union.

Second, there was the attempt to overcome distorted views across a broad audience. By airing the activities on both sides of the Cold War divide, they helped to challenge the preconception of the ‘other’ as a “subhuman, diabolical enemy.”[2]

Finally, they attempted to connect citizens directly through Spacebridges by utilizing the high-tech business of television. Younger individuals were even able to participate through the Teen Bridges. 

These efforts ultimately reflect how media played the role of expanding awareness through a distinct form of people-to-people diplomacy. More traditional initiatives encouraged a sense of friendship, yet often didn't decrease the emotion of fear. However, this station was able to form connections through honesty. Being more informed made the public less distant from the enemy, which created a more peaceful and safe atmosphere. 

The Dissemination of Information