Ep. 1: In the Beginning

Who was Father Charles Coughlin, and what were the conditions that allowed for the rise of the first mass media demagogue?

October 5, 2021

In the first episode of this eight-part series, we take a look at beginnings. We uncover the humble origins of Father Charles Coughlin and his fellow antisemite, Henry Ford. We investigate how the dawn of radio combined with world-shattering events to fuel Coughlin’s meteoric rise.

This limited-run podcast, hosted by Detroit journalist Andrew Lapin and produced by Tablet Studios, weaves together archival materials and dramatic recreations, as well as interviews with radio hosts, historians, and others, to tell the story of Father Coughlin’s rise from humble beginnings in a sleepy Canadian town to the pinnacle of influence—a cautionary tale, very much still relevant today, of how an unscrupulous bigot can manipulate mass media to spread hate and gather much too much political power.

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