Radioactive

Ep. 6: Social Justice

Father Coughlin’s political movement gains momentum as his church superiors look the other way

November 9, 2021

Huey Long’s folksy populism wins over Louisiana voters and becomes darkly demagogic.  Father Coughlin’s National Union for Social Justice picks up where Long left off, energizing the anti-FDR base at massive political rallies across the country. The Social Justice party runs a candidate for president in the 1936 election, and Coughlin solicits campaign funds on his radio show while Bishop Gallagher and Church higher-ups look the other way. Though his candidate fizzles, Coughlin’s political influence is cemented—and his openly antisemitic speeches find an ever bigger audience.

Radioactive is hosted by Detroit-based journalist Andrew Lapin and produced by Tablet Studios. The series weaves together archival material and present-day interviews to tell the dramatic story of Father Charles Coughlin’s embrace of radio, the nascent mass media of his day, to attain nearly unparalleled cultural influence and broadcast his antisemitic, nationalist views into millions of living rooms across America.

Our theme music is from The Ghost Writer and was composed by Alexandre Desplat. All speeches and material of Father Coughlin are authentic to the source, as well as music and other audio from his radio program.

For more information on all of Tablet’s podcasts, visit tabletmag.com/podcasts.

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