Newspapers were influenced heavily by the Byrd machine
Virginia's state capital newspapers, the <cite>Richmond Times-Dispatch</cite> and the <cite>Richmond News Leader</cite>, had a more powerful influence on the public's reaction to school desegregation than other regional papers. Dabney argues that the papers' influence grew out of their adherence to the will of the Byrd machine.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- WILLIAM H. TURPIN:
I talked to Judge Eggleston some time ago and asked him if he could
evaluate the influence of newspapers, specifically the
Virginian-Pilot, which was arguing against closing schools
prior to the school closing. He said that he thought the influence of
the Virginian-Pilot was negligible and that the
influence of the Times-Dispatch and the
News Leader, because of their position in the capital and
their statewide circulation, was immense. The influence of these two
newspapers had a great deal to do with the success that massive
resistance had. Do you think this is a fair evaluation of the influence
of these two newspapers?
- VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
Well, insofar as what happened is concerned, I would say that the
Virginian-Pilot didn't have as much influence as ours
because it couldn't change anything that was going
on. The Richmond papers were going along either actively or passively
with the prevailing view of the Byrd organization. Whether their
influence brought about what happened or whether they just went along
with it, I don't know. But I do think the News Leader
had a great deal of influence. Much more than we did, because we were
sort of wishy-washy and didn't say much one way or the other. I wanted
to go one way and Bryan wanted to go along with Kilpatrick, so we just
stayed pretty much in the middle, but the News-Leader
was way out in front all the time.