In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • So Their Eyes Won’t Glaze Over: How Television News Defined the Debate over the Smithsonian’s Enola Gay Exhibit
  • Thomas Cripps (bio)

Figures


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Figure 1.

Opening title card from Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August 1945. Photo courtesy Erik Barnouw.


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Figure 2.

Film still from Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August 1945. Photo courtesy Erik Barnouw.


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Figure 3.

“Enola Gay” on the plane’s fuselage: video frame from the “ABC Nightly News With Peter Jennings,” January 30, 1995. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 4.

“Enola Gay,” video frame of newsreel footage from the NBC Nightly News,” August 30, 1994. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 5.

Video frame of Stanley Goldberg, on the “ABC Nightly News With Peter Jennings,” November 17, 1994. “Well,” he says slyly, “I guess I’m un-American then.” Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 6.

Video frame of Barton Bernstein, on the “ABC Nightly News With Peter Jennings,” November 17, 1994. “Scandalous,” says Bernstein, but so fine is his subtlety that it is lost. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University


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Figure 7.

Video frame of Martin Harwit, from “Nightline,” October 25, 1994. “Well, primarily we’ve added more historical background and rounded it out that way.” Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 8.

Video frame from “Nightline,” October 25, 1994. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 9a.

Video frames of Jack Giese and Martin Harwitt, on the “CBS Evening News,” September 25, 1994. Giese argues, “The exhibition does not have balance and context.... They portray Americans as the aggressors... even racist aggressor.” Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 9b.

Video frames of Jack Giese and Martin Harwitt, on the “CBS Evening News,” September 25, 1994. Giese argues, “The exhibition does not have balance and context.... They portray Americans as the aggressors... even racist aggressor.” Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 10a.

Video frames from “Nightline,” October 25, 1994. Herman Harrington (left) and Hugh Dagley. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 10b.

Video frames from “Nightline,” October 25, 1994. Martin Harwitt (left) and Michael Heyman. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 11.

Video frame from “Nightline,” October 25, 1994. Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.


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Figure 12.

Video frame of William Detweiler, on the “ABC Nightly News with Peter Jennings,” January 30, 1995. Detwiler proposes the Smithsonian “...bury all this historiographical stuff in a ‘seminar’ where it belongs.” Courtesy the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.

The semicentennial of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945 has come and gone—and with it the opportunity for thoughtful Americans to view a sweeping Smithsonian exhibition of it. The curators had intended to celebrate the contribution of the aircrew of the B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, to the urgent matter of shortening the final Pacific phase of World War II as well as assessing the impact of the bombing as an initial event of the atomic age. However, the exhibition fell victim to an angry skirmish in the American culture wars of the late twentieth century. As Congressman Newt Gingrich (R-GA), only just taking on the post of Speaker in a Republican-dominated House, told a conference of state governors: “The Enola Gay fight was a fight, in effect, over the reassertion by most Americans that they are sick and tired of being told by some cultural...

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3354
Print ISSN
0160-6840
Pages
pp. 77-104
Launched on MUSE
1998-04-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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