Fred Rogers was a major television personality in the United States in the last half of the twentieth century. He was a critic of commercial television that provided loud, silly, violent, and consumption-oriented programming, especially children’s shows. On Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, broadcast on national public television, he provided an alternative to dominant forms of children’s television shows. His show focused on the emotional experiences of children and sought to provide them with a safe, intelligent, and quiet experience. This paper aims to analyze Fred Rogers approach to television through Weber’s concepts of charisma and responsibility. After formulating alternative types of charisma and their core aspects, it focuses on the everyday ethics professed by Fred Rogers’ and how they were given force and meaning through both his personal representation of them and through their dramatic representation on his show.
Keywords: Charisma; Ethics; Power; Television; Civil Society.