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Before Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, there was Jesse Helms. From in front of a camera at WRAL-TV, Helms forged a new brand of southern conservatism long before he was a senator from North Carolina. As executive vice president of the station, Helms delivered commentaries on the evening news and directed the news and entertainment programming. He pioneered the attack on the liberal media, and his editorials were some of the first shots fired in the culture wars, criticizing the influence of "immoral entertainment." Through the emerging power of the household television Helms established a blueprint and laid the foundation for the modern conservative movement.

Bryan Thrift mines over 2,700 WRAL-TV "Viewpoint" editorials broadcast between 1960 and 1972 to offer not only a portrait of a skilled rhetorician and wordsmith but also a lens on the way the various, and at times competing, elements of modern American conservatism cohered into an ideology couched in the language of anti-elitism and "traditional values." Decades prior to the invention of the blog, Helms corresponded with his viewers to select, refine, and sharpen his political message until he had reworked southern traditionalism into a national conservative movement. The realignment of southern Democrats into the Republican Party was not easy or inevitable, and by examining Helms's oft-forgotten journalism career, Thrift shows how delicately and deliberately this transition had to be cultivated.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. p. C
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. List of Figures
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction: Jesse Helms’s Politics of Pious Incitement
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. 1. “There Is Another Way”: Free Enterprise, the Mainstream Media, and Southern Realignment in the 1950s
  2. pp. 15-48
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  1. 2. “The Voice of Free Enterprise”: A Conservative Commentator and News Director
  2. pp. 49-81
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  1. 3. “An Uncommon Number of Moral Degenerates”: The Conservative Alternative and the Fairness Doctrine
  2. pp. 82-110
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  1. 4. Backlash: The Great Society, Vietnam, and Conservative Solutions
  2. pp. 111-136
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  1. 5. Turning Off Turn-On: Helms as a TV Executive in the 1960s
  2. pp. 137-163
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  1. 6. The Dawn of a Conservative Era: Gaining Power, 1968 to 1972
  2. pp. 164-193
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  1. Epilogue: Mainstreaming the Fringe
  2. pp. 194-206
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 207-246
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 247-250
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 251-263
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813048987
Related ISBN
9780813049311
MARC Record
OCLC
865578981
Pages
224
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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