Essay Title: 

How did FDR use radio as a political tool?

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in government, social sciences

FDR ‘s radio addresses : Politics , policy and performance


FDR ‘s radio addresses : Politics , policy and performance

When President Franklin D . Roosevelt won the 1932 presidential election summarily ousting Herbert Hoover with 57 of the vote , radio had only existed as a news media outlet for a decade . Yellow journalism reigned in the decades prior , and print media muckrakers ‘ as Theodore Roosevelt termed them , exuded significant influence over public opinion and administration . With the advent of news radio , information could be disseminated in a private and more personal manner , with the [banner_entry_middle]

br political voice entering each American home via the comfortable entertaining family radio . This nurturing image of the nuclear family huddled around modern technology , listening as a patriarchal voice spoke seeming to them regarding events that would impact their lives efficiently changed the way elected officials could influence their constituents . FDR employed radio technology in ways that became iconic in American culture , and changed government-to-public communication for his successors . By evoking a fantasy of familial camaraderie , Roosevelt was able to use radio to promote his projects and secure political success

In 1933 , the Great Depression gripped the United States . Nearly one-third of workers were no longer employed , banks were either closing or had been closed for days on end , and people were not only starving physically , they were starved for hope . Reliance on fiscal credit was only deepening the national troubles , and there seemed to be no viable plans to alleviate the suffering . The heady , cavalier attitude of the 1920s was an embarrassing element of the past : the frivolity and waste of the dwindling yet ostentatious upper class seemed a mockery of the overwhelming poverty of the 30s . The gap between the privileged and the destitute appeared insurmountable , and the country more resembled a feudal state than a democratic nation

On March 12 , newly elected President Roosevelt chose to address the nation as a whole via a radio broadcast on that Sunday evening . This was the first of the historic fireside chats ‘ that became symbolic of a new sort of interaction between the government and the people Roosevelt did not sit for a remote interview with a single reporter , who would then transfer the President ‘s to static news typeset before it was shipped across the country . Instead , Roosevelt profoundly chose to take his ideas for national recovery to the citizens (who ostensibly voted for him and placed their trust in him ) in the most congenial of settings : the family home , centered on the family entertainment device the household radio

In all , FDR would deliver 31 broadcasts over the course of his historic four-term presidency . He addressed issues regarding the Depression , his New Deal initiatives , foreign affairs , and perhaps most memorably American ‘s painful ushering and consequential stance in World War II His radio addresses were not literal dialogues , but the aura of conversation was invoked . Roosevelt spoke to the nation as if they were all part of his counsel , and deserving of his personal regard . The effect of these… [banner_entry_footer]


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