Before Fair and Balanced: Conservative Media Activism and the Rise of the New Right


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Social and Cultural Analysis


From its outset, the modern conservative movement has been preoccupied with challenging the veracity of mainstream sources of information and developing standards of news judgment capable of rendering its worldview legible within the public sphere. This media activism arose as a response to theories of public opinion and media influence developed by progressive scholars during the interwar period, and codified in federal regulations and journalistic standards after World War II. Tracking conservative efforts to critique and influence news coverage from the 1940s through the 1990s, this project explores the origins of the “liberal media” trope, and how its construction enabled and shaped the rise of conservatism as a powerful political coalition and identification within the United States.