The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Monday, January 02, 2006
Nothing on LBJ and the FCC, apparently...
Trying out one or two things on Google Books:
The midget that sat on JP Morgan's knee (July 21 2004): nada.
Fine. But then - LBJ's intimate relations with the FCC (starting with the purchase, nominally by Lady Bird Johnson, of WTBC Austin in dubious circumstances), surely?
Snippets, yes (from Dallek's bio, mainly), but no work dedicated to this most egregious corruption.
Amazon strikes out too. So does Google Scholar. No ETD either, so far as I can tell.
On the way, I do discover an interesting, related, tome on GB, Manipulating the Ether: The Power of Broadcast Radio in Thirties America by Robert J Brown - first chapter on FDR, natch.
FDR faced a generally hostile press (it says there); the fireside chats were an end-run - like Congressmen cottoning on to remote feeds back to local TV stations in their districts back in the 70s and 80s.
A quote (p11) from "the executive secretary of the Democratic National Committee, Richard Roper" from 1934:
The average American's mind works simply and it is not hard to keep him behind the President if we can properly inform him as to what is going on in Washington, what the President is trying to do, and the specific objectives he is seeking. Only by providing information from a source of confidence like radio, would it be possible to make absolutely sure that the public gets all the facts we wish to present.
Nothing new under the sun...
To ensure that editorial opposition found no outlet on the airwaves, Roosevelt and FCC chairman Frank McNinch spearheaded a crusade to "divorce newspapers from station ownership." Not surprisingly, one of the first targets of the official ax was William Randolph Hearst, who had been steadily building a nationwide radio empire from the proceeds of his publishing activities.
Nixon and Agnew's working the FCC in the early 70s was just a tribute to a suaver corrupter.
According to radio commentator Drew Pearson, "FDR knew that his only hold on Congress was to be stronger with the country than they were." While the president communicated with his national constitutents dozens of times each year, Congress was allowed the air only on special occasions such as the opening and closing of a term or during emergency sessions, and thus was "never given the opportunity to bond with the public in any politically useful way."
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