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The theory of media events developed by Dayan and Katz is extended in an analysis of Franklin Roosevelt's first eight fireside chats. Roosevelt's fireside chats were structured in both form and content by the new mode of publicness initiated by the culture industries in the 20th century. Roosevelt employed the idioms of mass culture to close the perceptual gap between him and his mass audience. As media events, the chats were useful in dramatizing a new symbolic geography of the American imagined community for the mass public, and thus in introducing to this public a set of new identities and practices appropriate to 20th-century mass politics.