How Norman Lear Devoted Himself to a Lifetime of Advocacy

  • Variety
How Norman Lear Devoted Himself to a Lifetime of Advocacy
Norman Lear often recalls the moment he became politically and socially conscious of the world around him. When he was 9, he discovered Father Charles Coughlin while tinkering with his crystal radio set. Coughlin was an infamously anti-Semitic broadcaster and considered the father of hate radio.

Lear, who is set to receive Variety’s Creative Conscience Award on Sept. 17, sees a parallel to the propaganda and hate speech that can easily be found today online and even on mainstream newscasts: “It’s so familiar to me as it washes over all of us. The hate that’s being spewed — the racial hate, the religious hate. I sure remember the feeling of this creeping hatred and racism back then, and I feel it all around us today.”

The Coughlins of the world “scared the shit out of me” as a young Jewish boy, Lear adds. “But it also helped me get my guard up.
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