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The Radio Right tells the story of the 1960s far Right, who were frustrated by what they perceived to be liberal bias in the national media, particularly the media's sycophantic relationship with the John F. Kennedy administration. These people turned for news and commentary to a resurgent form of ultra-conservative mass media: radio. As networks shifted their resources to television, radio increasingly became the preserve of cash-strapped, independent station owners who were willing to air the hundreds of new right-wing programs that sprang up in the late 1950s and 1960s. By the early 1960s, millions of Americans listened each week to conservative broadcasters, the most prominent of which were clergy or lay broadcasters from across the religious spectrum, including Carl McIntire, Billy James Hargis, and Clarence Manion. Though divided by theology, these speakers were united by their distrust of political and theological liberalism and their antipathy towards JFK. The political influence of the new Radio Right quickly became apparent as the broadcasters attacked the Kennedy administration's policies and encouraged grassroots conservative activism on a massive scale.
Matzko relates how, by 1963, Kennedy was so alarmed by the rise of the Radio Right that he ordered the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Communications Commission to target conservative broadcasters with tax audits and enhanced regulatory scrutiny via the Fairness Doctrine. Right-wing broadcasters lost hundreds of stations and millions of listeners. Not until the deregulation of the airwaves under the Carter and Reagan administrations would right-wing radio regain its former prominence. The Radio Right provides the essential pre-history for the last four decades of conservative activism, as well as the historical context for current issues of political bias and censorship in the media.
Regardless of our political commitments, we all want the world to be better. We want people everywhere to be healthier, happier, safer, and more prosperous than ever before. Political liberty―the freedom to live our lives as we want while affording others the right to do the same, free from the heavy hand of the state―is the best way to achieve that goal.
Visions of Liberty is more than just an introduction to the broad scope of political liberty. It will leave you with a strong sense―a clear vision―of what the application of genuine libertarian policies looks like in practice.
Our contributors take different approaches. Some look to the past, pointing out how things worked before government got involved. Others look forward, offering future histories that describe how things could play out if we make certain choices. But each of them shares the fi rm belief that when freed from the meddlesome and coercive hand of the state, people can do amazing things. Liberty unleashes our drive for ingenuity and sense of compassion. This radical vision of a world that might be is truly worth striving for.