Monday, February 06, 2017

Thomas Hrach's "The Riot Report and the News," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Riot Report and the News: How the Kerner Commission Changed Media Coverage of Black America by Thomas J. Hrach.

About the book, from the publisher:
When I wrote The Riot Report and the News, I tried to focus on the characters that made the history of the Kerner Commission. The commission was an 11-member group appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 to study the causes of the riots in American cities. While there many people involved in the story of the commission, no one character stood out more than Otto Kerner, the namesake of the commission and governor of Illinois. The goal of the book was to give some love and credit to Kerner for being a major figure in the history of journalism even though he was never a reporter, editor, TV executive nor had anything to do with the news media.

Kerner never got his due in history mostly because his time in public office was marred by a scandal that ultimately led him into prison. But as history now shows, the prosecution likely was politically motivated and Kerner was punished for a crime that was later determined to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. He was his own worst enemy for sure by never acknowledging any wrongdoing, refusing to accept any blame and ultimately failing to mount a proper defense.

But my story about Kerner covers the period before he got into legal trouble. It was the time in his life when he rose to great fame and respect, even though he likely had already sowed the seeds of demise. So who would play this complicated character in a film? He was sometimes portrayed as having movie star good looks. He was once voted by the news media as the nation’s most handsome governor. He was always impeccably dressed in a suit and tie. His former press secretary said he dressed like a banker, often much more formally than the situation dictated. George Clooney, Paul...[read on]
Learn more about The Riot Report and the News at the University of Massachusetts Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Riot Report and the News.

My Book, The Movie: The Riot Report and the News.

--Marshal Zeringue