Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression, and the U.S. News Media

By Louis W. Liebovich | Go to book overview

Prologue

Each week during the 1970s, in the television series, "All in the Family," Archie and Edith Bunker sang an opening song harkening to their fictitious, stereotyped childhoods. In the song they mentioned that the nation could use Herbert Hoover again, thus suggesting that Hoover would have agreed with Archie's narrowminded attitudes and that Hoover was the embodiment of traditional prejudice and government indifference in the 1920s and 1930s. On the one hand, during the opening credits of one of the most popular programs in the history of modern television, the song, "Those Were the Days," conjured the incarnation of Hoover and a bygone era of tradition and simple, honest relationships. Herbert Hoover was seen as the last vestige of a hard-working, unrestrained, capitalistic society. On the other hand, the silly rhyme also reflected the overall message of the TV series: bigotry of the Hoover era was carried into 1970s society by an older generation, who harbored too many miscreants with values such as Archie's.

Mirroring a long-held caricature of Hoover, the song suggested that the president represented not only intolerance but also lack of charity and indifference to misery. Certainly, social values of the "All in the Family" generation were different from those in 1932, and Hoover would not have been elected in 1972; but Hoover lived 40 years earlier when, for

-xi-

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Bylines in Despair: Herbert Hoover, the Great Depression, and the U.S. News Media
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue xi
  • Note xv
  • 1 - The Unlikely Road to Success 1
  • Notes 20
  • 2 - Secretary of Commerce 29
  • Notes 50
  • 3 - The Campaign and Aftermath of the 1928 Election 57
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - Lost Opportunities 83
  • Notes 97
  • 5 - The Crash 101
  • Notes 125
  • 6 - Radio, Newsreels, Newspapers, and the Presidency 131
  • Notes 150
  • 7 - The Bonus March 155
  • Notes 177
  • 8 - The Dawn of the Roosevelt Era 183
  • Notes 203
  • Epilogue 209
  • Note 211
  • Selected Bibliography 213
  • Index 217
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