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Conservative BiasHow Jesse Helms Pioneered the Rise of Right-Wing Media and Realigned the Republican Party$
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Bryan Hardin Thrift

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049311

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049311.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Jesse Helms’s Politics of Pious Incitement

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Conservative Bias
Author(s):

Bryan Hardin Thrift

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049311.003.0001

This introduction places Jesse Helms in the context of modern conservatism and the Republican Party. Helms is compared to Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, William F. Buckley, and Barry Goldwater. Helms shared the racial views of his fellow southerners and the ideological commitments of the conservative movement. He differed from Wallace and Thurmond in their eschewal of race mixing because of his intentions to bring about a southern realignment with the GOP. Helms believed southern conservatives had to adjust their racial language to national norms, but this did not necessarily entail significant change. Helms developed his own cultural, media, and racial politics, which the Raleigh News and Observer labeled pious incitement. Pious incitement was an outrage-driven, symbolic politics that offered moral indignation, sensation, and exaggeration to build conservatism. He created a rhetorical moral community of conservatives and denied entry to liberals and moderates, including most Democrats, the mainstream media, and African Americans. The developments of the 1960s—from the Supreme Court rulings on prayer to the emergence of a counterculture that challenged traditional values—gave Helms’s pious incitement more traction.

Keywords:   conservative movement, Republican Party, race mixing, realignment, pious incitement

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