Journal article

Before hate speech: Charles Coughlin, free speech and listeners' rights

David Goodman

PATTERNS OF PREJUDICE | ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD | Published : 2015

Abstract

As radio priest Father Charles Coughlin became more openly antisemitic and pro-fascist in the late 1930s, his broadcasts became increasingly divisive—more and more distressing to some listeners and more and more celebrated by others—and inevitably provoked debate about freedom of speech. Goodman analyses letters from Coughlin listeners, and compares them with the more familiar policy history of free speech regulation. Pro-Coughlin listeners attempted to make a civil rights issue of the refusal of some stations to sell time to Coughlin, talking of his right to broadcast and their right to hear him. Anti-Coughlin listeners documented the hurt and harm that the broadcasts caused and argued that..

View full abstract