Not connected to writing in any way.  But we have had some interesting historical discussions in this place.  Was FDR the greatest ever President of the USA?  And what would Fox (or the Murdoch owned media) have broadcast against him if they had been around in the 1930s and 1940s? 

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Right-wing prejudice and rhetoric hasn't changed; the speeches of Father McLaughlin typify what reactionaries of the day thought. However, there was also an anti-Semitic undertone to much of it. Bigots referred to FDR as "Rosenfelt." America didn't really begin to shed anti-Semitism until the civil rights movement. 

There was a great deal more respect for the office of POTUS until Watergate so I don't think a Murdoch-owned media empire of the 30s or 40s would've dared do what they do to Obama. (I remember in graduate school doing a journalism related project and discovering to my astonishment in a US News and World Report magazine every last word of Eisenhower's just-delivered State of the Union address and presented as it it were all written in stone by a longwinded Moses.)

Regarding FDR's greatness I think to a large extent the times made him the greatest president: the depression and WW II offered tremendous opportunities to be great. Not every president would've risen to the challenges, but he did.

Boy, I must be very foolish to touch this with a ten-foot pole!

Steve, In regards to Father Coughlin, the only reason the right wing media, including talk radio & other outlets, steer clear of criticizing Jews, and Blacks for that matter, is that they realize that stance is very unpopular in the United States and that the backlash would be ferocious, with major negative financial consequences.  It does not mean that they are not prejudiced against them.  Even though they can not, out of self-interest vilify those two groups, they keep themselves busy with slandering almost all others, such as--Mexicans, Immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, Gays, Progressives, Liberals, Democrats, Public Employees, Union Members, Recipients of Welfare/Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid, Socialists, Communists, and on and on.  

Well, he was a great leader because he took decisive action when it was most needed. Some people seem not to know, and others don't remember or care, just how conditions were in the '30s, in particular, before the great war stimulated the market system back into life; 24.9 % unemployment, mostly men because most women didn't work outside the home, a mid-west drought that turned the land into a desert, folks starving to death, literally--babies with swollen stomachs going hungry and dying--populations uprooted and migratory, and the threat of communism, the antithesis of democratic free market America. So FDR's quasi-socialist approach actually headed off the possibility of a socialist state, at least at the time, preempted it, killing off the communist's stronger position(Gus Hall, et al). It is the continuous growth, the incrementalism of government programs past their much needed, purported temporary, purpose that Rupert Murdoch and the Fox folks might find issue with, along with yours truly. For example, Congress's raiding of the healthy, lucrative Social Security fund by "borrowing" from it, beginning in the '50s, but never paying it back, leading to its current sad state. Too, going off the gold standard in about 1967 or so, so government could print money to spend on anything it dared sponsor or recommend, without collateral. I know I can't get much of a loan without collateral. It's just been a freight train heading for bankruptcy since it began, living beyond our means. And don't get me wrong, the credit system is great, too, as no one would own much without it, but borrowing way beyond one's ability and willingness to pay it back is insanity.

Well, my opinion, anyway.

And I think Eric is right. I don't see Murdoch & Company playing an influential role in the '30s. it's just apples and oranges, the two time periods.

Indeed, the media were quite different all those years ago.  In my country, the UK, the Prime Minister was treated with great reverence by interviewers until the mid to late 1970s.  Up to that point, the most searching question he would face, was something along the lines of, "Well, Prime Minister, may I ask what your message to the nation is tonight?".

Hah!  It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Mind you, I think rudeness to presidents and prime ministers is deplorable and counterproductive.

On the other hand, after their tenure, their lifestyle is fair game; i.e. Kennedy's sexual affairs with all and sundry.

That had nothing to do with the way Kennedy ran his presidency, though. Americans are far too hung up on sex. The Clinton impeachment farce should never have happened.


Well, in Britain, or the Commonwealth, with its parliamentary system, a train wreck sometimes can be averted by simply voting out the current government leadership. Here, in the States, we have to wait for an election. Impeachment? Forget it. High crimes and misdemeanors only, and try defining those. But, yes, it all changed with Watergate and Woodward & Bernstein. Before then, public figures' personal lives and privacy were more respected. Afterward, the rose-colored glasses came off and it was a field day, no holds barred, and no ethics about it, either.

The timing may fit the Nixon scandal, but those were clearly political shenanigans. The probing of private lives may be due more to the taste of the public for dirt. I wonder how this works with the appearance of tabloids like the National Enquirer, for example.

The Clinton incident was a joke. Lying about your sex life is hardly a high crime of any sort, except to the wife. The whole escapade cost about $100 million and didn't turn up a single witch.


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