McIntire’s Radio

Radio broadcasting had been unifying the nation since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats he gave to the nation. Many years have passed since then and it was being used differently in the 1950s to the 1980s. In the case of Carl McIntire, he used the radio to unify the Christian Right. However, he did not do this in the way that he would have wanted to. Because of the FCC laws that were put in place with the Fairness Doctrine in 1949, people were not allowed to say anything bad about controversial topics. This, of course, angered McIntire and was vocal about his dislike of the new laws. McIntire will actually go on and lose many lawsuits regarding the FCC and Fairness Doctrine laws. He claimed that these laws silenced the people of America and violated the first amendment of the constitution. Also during this time, was the use of propaganda over the radio. Christian Right views used propaganda to push their “anti-Semetic, [and] pro-fascist” beliefs and values (Hendershot). One such man was Father Charles Coughlin. He had amassed a following of over 30,000,000 listeners. This was before the FCC or the Fairness Doctrine so he could say whatever he wanted about different races, religions, or ethnicities. 

According to the article, there are four steps that led to radicalization of the New Christian Right. First, is the “rise and fall of McCarthyism” (Hendershot). Second was the rise of businessmen funding right wing organizations. Third “was the nomination of Barry Goldwater to the 1964 Republican ticket. Goldwater brought the hard right into the mainstream” (Hendershot). This helped unify the right by coming together under a strong leader. Lastly was the Civil Rights Movement and how recent it was. Because America had recently just undergone a strong liberal and leftist revolution, many conservatives did not like the results. These conservative broadcasters could spout off about their opinions on the Civil Rights Movement. It is interesting to me that the FCC did not do anything about that even though under the Fairness Doctrine, this was considered to be illegal. 

Neo-evangelism was crucial for the rise of the conservative consensus. Having this new wave of evangelism strengthened the party’s beliefs. They took rise in the 1950s and were seen as more proper than the fundamentalists. McIntire did not like the neo-evangelism movement. He preferred the old ways of Christianity. According to the article, “McIntire wasn’t simply being stubborn and old-fashioned when he resisted the neo-evangelists. He was certain that he had the Bible right and they had it wrong” (Hendershot). 

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