The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement

Paul Matzko (Author)

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
June 16, 2020
6.3 X 9.6 X 1.2 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Paul Matzko is a historian who specializes in the intersection of politics, religion, and mass media in modern America. He currently works at the Cato Institute as the Assistant Editor for Tech and Innovation for and is the host of the weekly podcast Building Tomorrow.


"Challenging the conventional wisdom of 1960s political history, The Radio Right๏ฟฝnot only shows how far-right broadcasters laid the grassroots groundwork for modern conservatism but also chronicles how the liberal establishment--from the Kennedy administration to the National Council of Churches--worked feverishly to fight them." -- Kevin M. Kruse, co-author of Fault Lines: A History of he United States Since 1974

"In the current climate of divisive social media and polarized cable news, it is tempting to romanticize the network era as a halcyon moment of 'fair and balanced' political media. Of course, that moment never really existed, as this wonderful, meticulously researched book demonstrates. Matzko's story of๏ฟฝhow the Kennedy administration pushed back against right-wing broadcasting in the 1960s helps us understand not only the past but also, importantly, the present." -- Heather Hendershot, author of What's Fair on the Air: Cold War Right-Wing roadcasting and the Public Interest

"In Radio Right, Paul Matzko masterfully tracks the ascent of conservative radio in the early 1960s, subsequent efforts by John F. Kennedy to quell this rising tide, and the long-term consequences of this bitter media war. Censored by liberal Democrats, radical right-wing voices cried foul, reorganized at the grassroots, then waited for their chance to fight back; we know the rest of the story. Thoroughly researched and sharply argued, this provocative and timely book is full of important (and surprising) insights that help us better understand how this nation's fourth estate evolved into the polarized and polarizing entity we find familiar today. It also challenges readers to rethink the roots and contours of political censorship and the political Right in the age of Kennedy-and Nixon, Reagan, and Trump." -- Darren Dochuk, author of Anointed With Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America๏ฟฝ