Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Framing Media #5 - Chris Yogerst on the 1941 Senate Investigations into Pro-War Hollywood

Today's episode features Christopher Yogerst, an assistant professor of communication, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and the author of From the Headlines to Hollywood: The Birth and Boom of Warner Bros. We discuss his new book, Hollywood Hates Hitler!: Jew-Baiting, Anti-Nazism, and the Senate Investigation into Warmongering in Motion Pictures, a fascinating look into the 1941 hearings in Congress over Hollywood's role in American life. Yogerst contextualizes an oft-forgotten event in the shadow of World War II, where isolationist Senators (many connected with the anti-Semitic America First Committee) attempted to argue a conspiracy against the film industry for making what they suggested was pro-war propaganda. As Yogerst details, the hearings revealed the follies of the Senate to actually understand the film industry, and highlighted the changing nature of the role of movies within the public. The result is a fascinating telling that would foretell the events that would soon grapple the industry—particularly the HUAC Investigations and the antitrust litigation—and has resonance for the continued role of Congress in its attempts to take on industries in Silicon Valley.