What's Fair on the Air?
Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest
“Heather Hendershot achieves something rare and sublime in this book: capturing the baroque strangeness of the mid-century American right, without sacrificing empathy for them as reasonable political actors—recovering the severe discontinuities between far-right broadcasters and today’s Fox/Limbaugh world, while also honoring what has been constant in the history of American right-wing depredation of liberalism. And as broadcast history, it’s exceptionally subtle and useful.”
“Heather Hendershot’s history of America’s ‘primordial version of Fox News’—the overlooked, forgotten, and sometimes actively erased far-right broadcasts of the 1960s—does more than bring an essential piece in the puzzle of modern conservatism to light. What’s Fair on the Air? challenges us to rethink widely accepted notions of free speech, fundamentalism, and modernity. That’s a big task; fortunately we have Hendershot’s brilliant—and often funny—book to help us begin.”
“What's Fair on the Air? is a meticulously researched and astutely analyzed history of the right-wing broadcasting movement of the 1950s and 1960s. By focusing on the careers of several key and colorful conservative activists, Hendershot puts a human face on this movement, dispels both conservative and liberal stereotypes about it, and recovers a rich understanding of the legal and political struggles over broadcasting of the period. This close look at the travails of Limbaugh’s and Beck’s predecessors, in the end, sheds new light on the origin and character of the contemporary political landscape.”