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Statement About News Media Coverage of School Desegregation

September 02, 1970

AS SCHOOLS have opened in many parts of the South in recent days, the Nation has seen hundreds of communities achieve the transition from a dual to a unitary system smoothly, peacefully, and successfully.

Enormous and primary credit for this success goes to the people of the States and communities most directly affected. But I also want especially to commend the Nation's press and its radio and television media for the manner in which they have reported these events.

Three weeks ago, in New Orleans, I stressed the critical importance to the process of peaceful desegregation of the way in which it was reported: the importance, at this very difficult and very delicate time, of reporting not only the few instances in which there might be trouble but also "those many, many successes where men and women of good will worked out the problem .... "

It is not true that only bad news is news, and by their constructive reporting in this instance the press and media have contributed importantly to the fact that the news has been good news. Success, like failure, can be contagious; and therefore it is important that the people of one community be aware of the successes other communities have achieved.

Nationally and locally, television and radio stations and networks, newspapers and wire services have practiced responsible journalism at its best. Their coverage of these events has been in the finest traditions of American journalism.

Note: The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

Richard Nixon, Statement About News Media Coverage of School Desegregation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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