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.
—Learn more about Chris Yogerst and his research. You can also follow him on Twitter.
—Learn more about the antitrust lawsuit, United States v. Paramount (1948). Peter recently wrote on the possibilities with the end of the decrees.
—For more on the America First Committee, See Wayne S. Cole's Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II or Lynne Olson's Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941
—Steve Ross's Hitler in Los Angeles
—Footage and Audio of Charles Lindbergh's Des Moines Speech
—For more on the Payne Studies, See Children and the Movies: Media Influence and the Payne Fund Controversy
—Learn more about the history of the Federal Communication Commission and its regulation of radio
—Learn more about the recent antitrust hearings and Section 230 hearings in Congress. Just like in 1941, Senator Ted Cruz screamed at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey "Who the hell elected you?"