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'Dangerous Fiction': Race and Reception of NBC's _King_

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Abstract:

Encouraged by the phenomenal success of Roots just one year earlier, critics and television executives expected _King_, NBCs 1978 miniseries on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, to be a hit. However, King immediately became known as a ratings disaster. The miniseries and its failure in the ratings got a lot of coverage in the press. Black and white critics considered the miniseries was to be problematic, but while mainstream press was generally positive about King, the black press pilloried it. This paper uses Foucault's concept of a "regime of truth" to evaluate how the accuracy of _King_ was debated in the mainstream and black presses: journalists in the mainstream press tended to articulate _King_s inaccuracy with the pitfalls of the docudrama genre, but journalists in the black press focused on the inaccuracy of the portrayal of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. None of the journalists in the mainstream press questioned the validity of this representation of King, and likewise, there was no debate in the black press about the docudrama genre.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

king (148), black (52), docudrama (44), televis (41), 1978 (35), time (32), miniseri (32), white (31), critic (29), press (28), histori (28), right (26), truth (26), tv (24), one (23), februari (22), news (21), martin (21), view (20), luther (20), viewer (20),

Author's Keywords:

civil rights movement, television, docudrama, history
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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URL: http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111598_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Fuller, Jennifer. "'Dangerous Fiction': Race and Reception of NBC's _King_" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111598_index.html>

APA Citation:

Fuller, J. L. , 2003-05-27 "'Dangerous Fiction': Race and Reception of NBC's _King_" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p111598_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Encouraged by the phenomenal success of Roots just one year earlier, critics and television executives expected _King_, NBCs 1978 miniseries on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, to be a hit. However, King immediately became known as a ratings disaster. The miniseries and its failure in the ratings got a lot of coverage in the press. Black and white critics considered the miniseries was to be problematic, but while mainstream press was generally positive about King, the black press pilloried it. This paper uses Foucault's concept of a "regime of truth" to evaluate how the accuracy of _King_ was debated in the mainstream and black presses: journalists in the mainstream press tended to articulate _King_s inaccuracy with the pitfalls of the docudrama genre, but journalists in the black press focused on the inaccuracy of the portrayal of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. None of the journalists in the mainstream press questioned the validity of this representation of King, and likewise, there was no debate in the black press about the docudrama genre.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 22
Word count: 6565
Text sample:
“Dangerous Fiction”: Race and Reception of NBC’s King Encouraged by the phenomenal success of Roots just one year earlier critics and television executives expected _King_ NBC’s 1978 miniseries on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement to be a hit. However King immediately became known as a “ratings disaster.” The miniseries and its failure in the ratings got a lot of coverage in the press. Black and white critics considered the miniseries was to be problematic but
continue to be slighted by studies of dramas of the racial past that fail to 51 Lee Marguiles “ ‘King’: A Noble Experiment that Failed ” Los Angeles Times 23 February 1978 sec. IV p. 22. 52 Don Cornelius “Unnoble Experiment that Failed ” Los Angeles Sentinel 16 March 1878 B1. 53 Mel Tapley “ ‘King’ Stirs Hornet’s Nest ” Amsterdam News 18 February 1978 D12. 54 Don Cornelius “Unnoble Experiment that Failed ” Los Angeles Sentinel 16 March


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