"When the News Broke: Chicago 1968 and the Polarizing of America"

Event Details

End: February 13, 2023
Contact: rwheatley@historians.org

This event is part of the Washington History Seminar series. It is sponsored by the AHA and features author Heather Hendershot and commentators Samantha Barbas and Michael Kazin. Register here

The 1968 Democratic National Convention is most often remembered for the “Battle of Michigan Avenue,” when police beat protestors in the streets as they chanted “the whole world is watching!” Heather Hendershot revisits that complicated and turbulent week in 1968, arguing that it was a pivotal moment for the mainstreaming and nationalization of the notion that the mainstream media was dominated by “liberal bias.” Further, she takes her analysis beyond the streets and inside the convention hall itself, where battles raged about voting rights and social justice—like police brutality, issues that remain pressing today.

Heather Hendershot is professor of film and media at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her undergraduate degree is from Yale, and her PhD is from the University of Rochester. Her most recent book is When the News Broke: Chicago 1968 and the Polarizing of America. Other books include Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line (2016) and What’s Fair on the Air: Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest (2011).  

Samantha Barbas researches and teaches in the areas of legal history, First Amendment law and mass communications law. Her work focuses on the intersection of law, culture, media and technology in United States history. Her recent research has explored the history of censorship, privacy and defamation.

Michael Kazin is a Professor in the Department of History. He is an expert in U.S. politics and social movements, 19th and 20th centuries. His most recent book is War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, which was named an Editor's Choice by the New York Times Book Review and was awarded the Elise M. Boulding Prize for the best book in peace history by the Peace History Society. His most recent book, What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party, was published in March 2022 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.