(H.L. Hunt - Richest Man in America . .and the furthest right - Booga-Booga!)
For people who think the wave of extreme right wing media is a new phenomenon, it's been with us forever. Going back to the 1930's with the likes of Father Coughlin, there have been a steady stream of pundits, alarmists, hate advocates and wingnuts ever since.
During the 1950's and 1960's one of the biggest practitioners of right wing alarmist radio and TV came in the person of H.L. Hunt.
Rings no bells? Probably not. H.L. Hunt maintained a very low profile in his funding of weekly radio and TV broadcasts that fed a steady stream of fear, hate and paranoia for many years. So low in fact, that funding for his programs came out of his advertising Agency.
It also didn't hurt that he was the richest man in America, with a vast fortune starting with oil. By all accounts, he was eccentric at best. Leading a somewhat monastic life (except for the mass of illegitimate children he was reported to have fathered), even to the point of carrying his own brown-bag lunch to work every day.
Something about extreme wealth fostering extreme strange. J. Paul Getty had his phone booth - H.L. Hunt had his brown bag lunch.
Question: "You run a pretty large network of communications that carry forward your own political ideas, starting way back with programs such as “Facts Forum” and “Answers For Americans” I believe was another. Why did you turn to radio and television with your great wealth to put across these ideas? What made you do that?"
Hunt: “Well that was a means of communication. Now . . .public opinion is a powerful factor and public opinion could save our nation if our nation is in danger. But the communication media is owned and controlled by 80 or 85% of the opposition to the constructive philosophy."
Hunt: "I think the line should be drawn between people that love liberty and are for the freedom system. And the society that has made America great. And the newspapers, radio, TV stations and networks are in the hands of, we shall say, the enemy of that system."
Hunt was a huge supporter and board member of the John Birch Society and was convinced Washington was a cesspool of communism. He pops up in all sorts of conspiracy theories. And even though he's been dead since 1974 and there has been ongoing legal battles regarding family members, the Hunt legacy is still shrouded in mystery.
And so it was quite unusual that in 1970, a documentary on Hunt would surface. The recordings I have give no trace as to who did it, who conducted the interviews (there is a lengthy one with Hunt) and how they gained such access.
One suspects, since this was done in 1970 and Nixon was President, a lot of former closeted extreme right wingers came out of the closet and made their presences known.
In any case, it's interesting listening and further evidence the roots of the extreme right wing are many and deep and go back a long way.