Books in Brief

Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, by Nicole Hemmer (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press; 320 pp., $34.95).  This very readable and otherwise excellent book is a history of the first generation of what the author calls “media activists,” conservatives who refused to work for mainstream periodicals and broadcasters and, in order to establish and guarantee their intellectual independence while influencing the course of American politics, founded the magazines, publishing houses, radio programs, and radio stations necessary to accomplish this.  Messengers of the Right, the author says, “explains how conservative media became the institutional and organizational nexus of the movement, transforming audiences into activists and activists into a reliable voting base.”  Nicole Hemmer gives particular emphasis to the careers of the broadcaster Clarence Manion, Henry Regnery the book publisher, and William Rusher, publisher of National Review, as “they evolved from frustrated outsiders in search of a platform into leaders of one of the most significant and successful political movements of the twentieth century,” in part by delegitimizing “the legitimacy of objectivity” and replacing it with ideological integrity.  While populism was a means of bridging...

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