Father Charles E. Coughlin: Surrogate Spokesman for the Disaffected

Hardcover | April 1, 1998

byRonald H. Carpenter, Wil A. Linkugel

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As Americans moved from farms and small towns to large cities, they tended to lose a hallmark of their earlier life: comparatively direct participation in the discourse of pragmatic affairs. The ubiquitous radio, which became a primary medium of communication during the Great Depression, tended to make Americans listeners more than speakers about important issues. Nevertheless, as the economic catastrophe of the time evoked desires in people to express their hopes and fears for the future, Americans nevertheless tended to be reticent. They instead bestowed leadership on speakers who articulated those hopes and fears on their behalf--particularly orators who effectively utilized radio. Possessed with the ability to deliver speeches exceptionally well and to phrase ideas so eloquently as to be admired by listeners, Father Charles E. Coughlin emerged as that surrogate spokesperson for many Americans. Moreover, because the medium of radio endowed his discourse with a credibility enhanced by his own ethos, he emerged as a persuader who fulfilled the mass media role known as opinion leadership. He also capitalized on the inherent advantages of "orality" as a significant factor that influenced how people responded to the myriad messages of the vast communication mosaic in which Americans lived at the onset of the electronic age. Father Coughlin exemplifies that speaker who achieves the role of an opinion leader in contemporary society.

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From the Publisher

As Americans moved from farms and small towns to large cities, they tended to lose a hallmark of their earlier life: comparatively direct participation in the discourse of pragmatic affairs. The ubiquitous radio, which became a primary medium of communication during the Great Depression, tended to make Americans listeners more than spe...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.56 × 6.38 × 0.85 inPublished:April 1, 1998Publisher:Chemical Publishing Company, I

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313290407

ISBN - 13:9780313290404

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?Carpenter has written and excellent book on Coughlin. Like all of Carpenter's work, the book is well-researched and well-written, painting an intriguing picture of Coughlin as one of the major orators of the 1920s and 1930s. Carpenter carefully describes Coughlin's use of the new medium of radio. He describes Coughlin's relationships with the two other masters of radio, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Huey Long, and speculates whether a person like Coughlin would be effective in the age of television and the internet.?-Rhetoric & Public Affairs