American Protestants and TV in the 1950s: Responses to a New by Michele Rosenthal

American Protestants and TV in the 1950s: Responses to a New by Michele Rosenthal

By Michele Rosenthal

Whereas tv this day is taken with no consideration, american citizens within the Nineteen Fifties confronted the problem of negotiating the hot medium's position in the house and in American tradition regularly. Protestant leaders--both mainstream and evangelical--began to consider carefully approximately what tv intended for his or her groups and its capability influence on their paintings. utilizing the yankee Protestant event of the creation of tv, Rosenthal illustrates the significance of the interaction among a brand new medium and its clients in a fascinating publication compatible for basic readers and scholars alike.

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84 In the case studies delineated below, I examine how both users (evangelical Protestants) and nonusers (mainline Protestants) engaged with and formulated their responses to the new medium of television. Heretofore much of the scholarship concerned with religion and media has not examined how different subcultures of users and nonusers respond, resist and adapt to new media. , should their be a ban on televisions or a ban on watching certain programming, etc. The case studies below document this process, comparing how different groups of users and nonusers approached this new medium, and the possible consequences of these approaches.

If television could be such an effective minister/salesman, left in the wrong hands it could be lethal. A. Gordon Nasby in a 1949 article warned that “Hitler did his job in Germany in the space of a few years because he had modern techniques and methods of communication at his disposal. ”32 Two years later Alton M. ”33 Notably, the fear of mass propaganda and its political effects seems to have been far greater than the fear of television’s affects on liberal Protestantism itself. Motter was one of the few contemporary critics who understood that the television was transforming the American home, and domestic piety right along with it: “Grace at the table or family devotions must compete with Charlie McArthy.

55 The author implicitly assumes that mainline Protestantism, in its very nature, exemplified American principles, while the Roman Catholic Church with its hierarchical structures was in direct contradiction with them. In another article entitled “Censorship: A Case History,” Robert A. E. Lee seriously questioned the Roman Catholic Church’s right to influence the public agenda at all: “Is one religious group really attempting to dictate what the public can see and hear through mass consumption media?

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