Violence against the Press: Policing the Public Sphere in U.S. History

By John Nerone | Go to book overview

paper Guild is a much less powerful labor organization than the International Typographical Union precisely because many of its target workers are self-styled professionals.

One might argue, then, that the conflicts between management and press workers have little to do with the contours of the arena of public discussion. This is true in a specific sense, but more generally, it seems that the cordoning off of press workers from press content corresponds to the embargoing of the language of class from the media more generally. One might argue that the division of labor within the news industry is expressed as well in the absence of a working-class voice in the public sphere.


Conclusion

Labor-related violence and antiradical violence have been frequent and consistently patterned in U.S. history. At times violence has been a direct agent of silencing a working-class or radical voice, of policing the boundaries of the arena of public discussion. But violence itself has not determined that there will be no competing public sphere. Rather, violence might be most usefully studied to illuminate how the boundaries have been policed by other instrumentalities: by law, by government agencies, and by ideological forces, often working through mainstream media.

Appeals to class are rare in U.S. public discourse. The absence is not caused simply by the actions of interests that would find such rhetoric disadvantageous. Rather, class appeals are not allowed for in the very vocabulary of public discussion because that vocabulary is constructed around classical liberal ideology.

-195-

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Violence against the Press: Policing the Public Sphere in U.S. History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - The Press and the American Revolution 18
  • Conclusion 50
  • 3 - Antipress Violence and Politics in the Early Republic 53
  • 4 - The Crusade Against Abolitionism 84
  • Conclusion 110
  • 5 - The Civil War and Civil Liberties 111
  • Conclusion 126
  • 6 - Violence and Minority Media 128
  • Conclusion 163
  • 7 - Labor-Related Violence 165
  • Conclusion 195
  • 8 - Recent Violence Against the Mainstream Press 196
  • Conclusion 211
  • 9 - Conclusion 213
  • Appendix A - Survey Questionnaire 219
  • Appendix B - The Flow of Antiabolitionist Violence 221
  • Notes 231
  • Index 293
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