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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: 29 July 2021

The Dawn of a Conservative Era

The Dawn of a Conservative Era

Gaining Power, 1968 to 1972

(p.164) 6 The Dawn of a Conservative Era
Conservative Bias

Bryan Hardin Thrift

University Press of Florida

In retrospect, 1968 was the year a conservative era dawned. The year was so promising that Helms considered a run for governor. From 1968 until Helms’s election to the Senate in 1972, public anxiety about urban riots, the failing effort in Vietnam, continued liberal influence, and the black power, anti-war, and feminist movements aided his efforts to increase the backlash against Democrats. But a shift toward conservatives was far from certain. Helms feared that the 1968 Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon, would run as a moderate out of political expediency. Helms used WRAL to push the debate as far to the right as possible during the election, and afterward he never hesitated to criticize Nixon. Helms’s entrance into the 1972 senatorial election culminated over two decades of mixing his media career with politics. He only reluctantly engaged in retail politics. He was first of all a media insider—a news director, a reluctant entertainment executive, and a conservative television personality. He had refined pious incitement for eleven years on WRAL. Along with his campaign manager and close friend Tom Ellis, Helms used pious incitement in a massive advertising campaign to depict his opponent—Congressman Nick Galifianakis—as an out-of-touch liberal.

Keywords:   1968, black power, urban riots, anti-war movement, backlash, Richard Nixon, 1972 senatorial election, Nick Galifianakis

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