A politician builds a massive audience through a mainstream media device, then leverages his followers to spread a populist message that speaks to plight of many in the country...sound familiar? It's happening now in the U.S., but it is a political approach that is as old as democracy itself. Father Charles Coughlin regularly mixed religion and politics to garner himself a radio audience of around 30 million listeners in a time when the population of the U.S. was 130 million. This massively popular priest used the media to spread his message of anti-communism, while also spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric. Early on, he was a supporter of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal, but later turned on both. By the end of the 1930's, Coughlin was off the radio, but he continued to engage on issues he was passionate about up until his death. The mark he left on society is undeniable.
I speak with author Sheldon Marcus on the influence of Father Coughlin, whether or not he was truly an anti-Semite, and his impression of the man, who he interviewed in-person for his book. Remember to download, enjoy, and share!