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Politics Comes On The Screen

May 2024
1min read


In 1934 Upton Sinclair, the muckraker and lifelong socialist, won the Democratic nomination for governor of California so resoundingly that it scared his opponents into inventing a whole new kind of political campaign. They used the old standbys of vote buying and coercion, but they also lit on the idea of phony newsreels. Across the state, moviegoers watched wild-eyed malcontents endorsing Sinclair because he was the “author of the Russian government, and it worked out very well there, and it should do so here.” Greg Mitchell’s spirited account of the ferocious campaign also offers us a look at the birth of modern media politics.

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