In 1940, a group of 60 American intellectuals formed the Committee for National Morale. “They’ve largely been forgotten,” says Fred Turner, a professor of communications at Stanford University, but their work had a profound impact on public opinion. They produced groundbreaking films and art exhibitions. They urged viewers to stop, reflect and think for themselves, and in so doing, they developed a set of guiding principles that reimagined how media could make us feel more calm, reflective, empathetic, in short, more democratic.
Fred Turner is a Professor of Communications at Stanford University. His latest book, “The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties,” explores the origins and politics of interactive media.