Americans View Their Dust Bowl Experience

By John R. Wunder; Frances W. Kaye et al. | Go to book overview

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The Media Response

Throughout the Dust Bowl crisis, the media was used to rally farmers and the nation. Farmer organizations and political parties generally employed the print media through newspapers, journals, or pamphlets. The power of movies was just beginning to be felt, and the federal government sought to explain the disaster through documentary film, as well as other methods.

The media sometimes became the focal point for political action. This was the situation in Plentywood, Montana, where first the Nonpartisan League and then the Communist Party subsidized and staffed the Producers News. Charles Taylor, editor, made the local newspaper the primary organ for orchestrating a farmer-laborer party's successful countywide political campaign. Producers News provided the citizenry with leftist explanations for the Dust Bowl and the Depression and led the radical response to those catastrophes.

A different tack came in 1939 with the preparation and presentation of The Plow That Broke the Plains. This documentary, which brought together several nationally known artists, blamed the farmers' plight on the government and business and implied that solving

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