Archive for the ‘Lonely Voices’ category

50 Years Since Barry Goldwater’s Nomination II: LBJ’s War on Talk Radio

July 16, 2014

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Republican nomination of Barry Goldwater for president. Goldwater lost a landslide to Lyndon Johnson, and it’s likely he would have lost either way. But The Right Frequency describes how Johnson’s campaign played dirty nevertheless, using Nixonian tactics well before Watergate, tactics that resemble the politically-motivated IRS Tea Party targeting scandal of 2012.

Barry Goldwater (AZLibrary.gov)

Barry Goldwater (AZLibrary.gov)

From The Right Frequency:

Fred J. Cook, a friend from his journalism days, into the fold to write a piece for The Nation magazine lashing out against conservative talk radio. Cook had just finished a book “Barry Goldwater: Extremist on the Right.” The talk radio piece in The Nation ran in the May 25, 1964 issue with the headline, “Hate Clubs of the Air.” It said, “The hate clubs of the air are spewing out a minimum of 6,600 broadcasts a week, carried by more than 1,300 radio and television stations—nearly one out of every five in the nation in a blitz that saturates everyone one of the fifty states with the exception of Maine.”

According to Friendly’s book, “Because of the close association of James Row with President Johnson and also because of John Bailey’s standing as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, there is little doubt that this contrived scheme had White House approval.”

Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Johnson administration recalled, “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”

The DNC mailed out thousands of copies of Cook’s Nation article to Democratic state and local parties and Democratic officials. The DNC also mailed the article to radio stations, with a letter from DNC counsel Dan Brightman warning that if Democrats are attacked, demands will be made for equal time. When McIntire criticized Brightman for sending the letter, the DNC demanded and got free airtime to respond on about 600 stations. Then, when Dan Smoot assailed LBJ during the Democratic National Convention, the DNC got free airtime to respond on 30 stations, though others declined.

Democrats believed their strategy was successful and decided to accelerate things, setting up another front group called the National Council for Civic Responsibility that took out full page newspaper ads that said, “$10 million is spent on weekly radio and television broadcasts in all 50 states by extremists groups.” Picked to head the group was Arthur Larson, a liberal Republican who had served in the Eisenhower administration. Larson insisted at the National Press Club, “The council’s formation had nothing to do with the presidential campaign or with the right-wing views of Republican candidate Senator Barry Goldwater.” Though, he later came clean that leading the organization was not his proudest moment. “The whole thing was not my idea, but let’s face it, we decided to use the Fairness Doctrine to harass the extreme right. In light of Watergate it was wrong. We felt the ends justified the means. They never do.” He also added, “As soon as I found out the Democrats were putting money into it, I wanted out.”

The Democrats produced their own show called “Spotlight,” prepared segments ready to run as response in free airtime. These spots ran on 60 stations and were hosted by an actor employed by
Rudder & Finn whose on-air name was William Dennis. Johnson scored a massive landslide, carrying all but six states. Dirty tricks by the Democrats had no more to do with his ability to beat Goldwater than Watergate had with Nixon’s ability to trounce George McGovern eight years later. Nevertheless, political operatives felt compelled to resort to nefarious deeds to ensure a wipeout on Election Day.

To learn more about the Johnson operation read The Right Frequency.

 

Top 10 Again! Right Frequency Climbs Amazon List

September 7, 2013

The Right Frequency on Friday hit the #6 spot on Amazon’s History & Criticism category.

The book was also #25 in the overall radio category.

This makes four consecutive months that The Right Frequency has been on an Amazon bestseller list.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

 

 

Boston Globe post on National Radio Day

August 20, 2013

The Right Frequency was featured on The Boston Globe’s website in a posting about National Radio Day, Aug. 20.

Of the day, the article said, “[O]ne trend that appears obvious is the shift to talk radio away from music radio due to the demand for music being satisfied by iPods, YouTube and a variety of electronic factors.”

“And when it comes to talk radio, one of the very few experts on the subject, Fred Lucas, author of ‘The Right Frequency,’ a history of the remarkable influence talk radio has had on Conservative politics in the United States, is well aware of the trend.”

“Radio is becoming more widely used than ever before,” Lucas said. “There are more portals through radio, and I mean talk radio, flows today than ever before. When one considers the portable electronic devices in use today, the numbers are staggering. Talk radio influence appears to be never ending.”

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

Radio Surived and Thrives Through Media Revolutions

August 18, 2013

Silobreaker, a publication on technology, carried a recent posting on The Right Frequency.

The article said, “The book explains how radio not only survived but thrived despite various media revolutions over the past 90s years. It also details milestones in the radio era such as the Payola Scandal of the early 1960s and the end of the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980s, both of which contributed in its own way to the proliferation of talk radio.”

The piece was posted just days before National Radio Day on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency. 

Does New Fairness Doctrine Threaten Internet Freedom?

August 4, 2013

The Internet is the next battleground over the Fairness Doctrine, a recent Naples Daily News article warns.

“In more recent years, such individuals see things like conservative talk radio as the bane of our democracy, and that such enterprises need to, in the least, be reined in. Many such folk do speak of the good old days of the Fairness Doctrine, a piece of legislation which is in reality the antithesis of free speech. Not surprisingly, many of these individuals hail from a liberal/progressive camp,” the article says.

It continues, “No one is left to solely rely on radio and television, nor do they necessarily have to contend with programming schedules. There’s a universe of information on the Web that can be accessed on demand by computers, tablets, and smart phones. You can get the news that the mainstream media offers, and you can also go to alternative sites. Many libraries across the country are going digital, and you can download books and other materials from their websites for free.”

“It’s out there. All a person has to do is take the time and effort to look for it,” the article further states. “Unfortunately the future of the Web is uncertain. Just as some have been clamoring for the return of the Fairness Doctrine, there have been demands that speech on the Web be regulated and restricted.”

The piece speaks to the potential threats of the Fairness Doctrine. The Lyndon Johnson administration engaged in a “challenge and harass” strategy by using the power of the government to silence radio critics of the administration. These abuses are detailed in detailed in Chapter 5 of The Right Frequency,

Below is an excerpt from The Right Frequency on the Fairness Doctrine.

***

The story of how Democrats used Nixonian tactics before Nixon was ever elected president began in the fall of 1963 when President John F. Kennedy wanted to get the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union approved by the U.S. Senate. The treaty had bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition, thus was
expected to be a close vote. A big concern was criticism of the treaty by the Revs. McIntire and Hargis.
Kenneth O’Donnell, the appointment secretary for President Kennedy sought the advice of former New York Times reporter Wayne Phillips on forcing stations to provide equal time. A behind the scenes effort prompted the front group Citizens Committee for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which targeted talk radio. The Rudder & Finn public relations firm, which coincidently is the same PR firm the DNC used, did publicity for the committee. Each time McIntire or Hargis took a swing at the treaty, the committee sent letters to the stations that carried their programs. States where these show aired that had senators on the fence were specifically targeted. A special program was taped specifically for responding in each of those stations. When the Senate ratified the treaty by a surprising 80-19 vote on September 24, 1963, the administration saw how the Fairness Doctrine can be used for high priority legislation.
In January 1964, after Johnson had taken office, Phillips began monitoring conservative radio. “It soon became apparent to me that the extreme right-wing broadcasting was exceptionally heavy on particular stations and in particular areas of the country, and that the content of these broadcasts was irrationally hostile to the president and his programs.” Phillips eventually came on board in a more formal role as the Director of News and Information for the DNC. He hired Wesley McCune, head of Group Research Inc., which did research for the DNC, to help him with full time listening duties.
The DNC prepared a kit that it delivered to voters and activist explaining, “how to demand time under the Fairness Doctrine.”
Phillips also brought Fred J. Cook, a friend from his journalism days, into the fold to write a piece for The Nation magazine lashing out against conservative talk radio. Cook had just finished a book “Barry Goldwater: Extremist on the Right.”
The talk radio piece in The Nation ran in the May 25, 1964 issue with the headline, “Hate Clubs of the Air.” It said, “The hate clubs of the air are spewing out a minimum of 6,600 broadcasts a week, carried by more than 1,300 radio and television stations—nearly one out of every five in the nation in a blitz that saturates everyone one of the fifty states with the exception of Maine.”399
According to Friendly’s book, “Because of the close association of James Row with President Johnson and also because of [DNC Chairman] John Bailey’s standing as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, there is little doubt that this contrived scheme had White House approval.”
Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Johnson administration recalled, “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”
The DNC mailed out thousands of copies of Cook’s Nation article to Democratic state and local parties and Democratic officials. The DNC also mailed the article to radio stations, with a letter from DNC counsel Dan Brightman warning that if Democrats are attacked, demands will be made for equal time. When McIntire criticized Brightman for sending the letter, the DNC demanded and got free airtime to respond on about 600 stations. Then, when Dan Smoot assailed LBJ during the Democratic National Convention, the DNC got free airtime to respond on 30 stations, though others declined.
Democrats believed their strategy was successful and decided to accelerate things, setting up another front group called the National Council for Civic Responsibility that took out full page newspaper ads that said, “$10 million is spent on weekly radio and television broadcasts in all 50 states by extremists groups.” Picked to head the group was Arthur Larson, a liberal Republican who had served in the Eisenhower administration. Larson insisted at the National
Press Club, “The council’s formation had nothing to do with the presidential campaign or with the right-wing views of Republican candidate Senator Barry Goldwater.” Though, he later came clean that leading the organization was not his proudest moment. “The whole thing was not my idea, but let’s face it, we decided to use the Fairness Doctrine to harass the extreme right. In light of Watergate it was wrong. We felt the ends justified the means. They never do.”
He also added, “As soon as I found out the Democrats were putting money into it, I wanted out.”

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

IRS Targeted Talk Radio Enemies

May 23, 2013

A politicized IRS is nothing new, as explained in this Wall Street Journal piece. The Journal article makes mention of President Franklin Roosevelt’s issues with Father Charles Coughlin, the radio priest.

“Roosevelt also dropped the IRS hammer on political rivals such as the populist firebrand Huey Long and radio agitator Father Coughlin, and prominent Republicans such as former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon,” the Journal article says.

The Right Frequency, available on Amazon now for a special deal through Memorial Day, provides a detailed account of the love-hate relationship between FDR and Coughlin. Coughlin was a super political radio priest with 40 million listeners who idolized Roosevelt, even  spoke at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, before viciously turning on the president when he felt the New Deal didn’t go far enough.

The book also explains how the IRS hunted down another popular talk radio voice in the Rev. Billy James Hargis, a controversial conservative figure.

“The IRS alleged his tax-exempt church, which went from revenue of $63,000 in 1957 to about $1 million in the early 1960s, was involved in political activities. Christian Crusade lost its tax exempt status in 1964,” The Right Frequency said. “Hargis said he was being ‘persecuted’ and that ‘This action doesn’t affect our corporation, only the contributors to our cause. And even so, our average contribution is $4. Now what would tax-exempt status mean to these 250,000 people? They are not big-money.’”

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.