Father Coughlin (Library of Congress, via Wikipedia)

History is often said to repeat itself and if there is a correspondence between the situation in the United States today and during the Great Depression, then Father Charles Edward Coughlin was to President Roosevelt what Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are to President Obama. Initially a supporter of Roosevelt, his concerns over socialism and affinity toward Hitler and Mussolini led him to denounce Roosevelt to the wide audience of his popular radio show. There are, however, some difficulties with the comparison between Coughlin and Limbaugh and Beck. Father Coughlin was actually taken off the air by the Government. Wikipedia explains how:

The administration decided that although the First Amendment protected free speech, it did not necessarily apply to broadcasting, because the radio spectrum was a “limited national resource” and regulated as a publicly owned commons. New regulations and restrictions were created to force Coughlin off the air. For the first time, operating permits were required of those who were regular radio broadcasters. When Coughlin’s permit was denied, he was temporarily silenced. Coughlin worked around the restriction by purchasing air time and having his speeches played via transcription. However, having to buy the weekly air time on individual stations seriously reduced his reach and strained his resources.

Wikipedia: Father Coughlin

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