Paul Matzko is a historian specializing in the intersection of politics and religion in twentieth-century America.
Many Evangelicals and conservatives share an embattlement mindset.  Somehow we’re always losing the culture wars despite political gains and cultural acceptance, and even when we’re in the majority politically or enjoy unprecedented influence we can’t shake the feeling that the other shoe is about to drop.  No majority, position, or gain is ever secure and we’re just one election away from losing everything.   But where does this embattlement mindset come from?  Is it simply crackpot paranoia?  Is there something embedded in the histories of the Right and Evangelicalism that gives this mindset an air of legitimacy?  Or is it a little bit of both?   Paul Matzko joins Josh to answer these questions by exploring the murky histories of the radio Right in the 1960s, Kennedy’s successful efforts at censoring opposition, and the cultural significance of Evangelicals’ evolution from The Painter of Light Thomas Kinkade to The Painter of Trump Jon McNaughton.   Paul Matzko is a historian (PhD, Penn State) specializing in the intersection of politics and religion in twentieth century America.  His work also draws from media studies, public choice economics, gender studies, and social movement theory.   Paul’s book The Radio Right, was published earlier this year, which 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.  His book 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.   Paul has taught multiple courses at Penn State, both on campus and online, and worked as an adjunct at Princeton University.  He is currently the Assistant Editor for Tech and Innovation at Libertarianism.org, an outreach of the Cato Institute, where he runs a regular column and also hosts a podcast on emerging technology called Building Tomorrow.  He cohosts the Impolitic podcast dedicated to friendly conversations on politics, culture, and history from the standpoint of his own libertarian views and the socialists views of his friend Sean Trainor.   Paul can be found on Twitter @PMatzko  
Today’s right wing media has a long history that is largely unknown to its current listeners. In The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement (Oxford University Press, 2020), Paul Matzko details its emergence in the 1950s and the response to its rise by some of the leading political and religious institutions of the era.As Matzko explains, the origins of postwar conservative media lay in the broader changes taking place in broadcasting in 1950s. As the major networks shifted their focus from radio to television, local radio stations were eager to find programmers willing to pay to put programs on the air. This gave conservative religious broadcasters such as Carl McIntire and Billy James Hargis an opportunity to spread their message to a nationwide audience. Fearing the growing influence of commentators organizing against their policies, the Kennedy administration sought to use such means as the previously underdeveloped Fairness Doctrine to constrain it. Working in conjunction with the National Council of Churches, they placed growing pressure on the broadcasters – particularly the acerbic McIntire – in an ultimately successful effort to undermine their nationwide stature. Yet while McIntire’s radio ministry was gone by the early 1970s, his example was followed a decade later by others who took advantage of broadcast deregulation in the late 1970s and 1980s to launch the modern era of conservative broadcasting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Creator Details

Episode Count
2
Podcast Count
2
Total Airtime
2 hours, 3 minutes
PCID
Podchaser Creator ID logo 567400