Synopses & Reviews
In this insightful new book, media critic Philip Green explores the true nature of television and the effect this TV addiction has on American democracy. He argues that mainstream shows are little more than extended commercials, dominated by advertising interests and designed to be as habit-forming as possible. Programming is controlled by conglomerates afraid of losing market share or upsetting advertisers, leading to television news, dramas, and sitcoms that uphold conservative values at the expense of controversial opinions. The result is a system that stifles debate, isolates viewers, and favors right-wing agendas. To make the system serve a true democracy, Green proposes ending the private monopoly of public airspace and making the television market a true free market.
"In this critique of the 'publicly licensed private monopolies...controlling a public good in what is supposed to be a democratically constituted polity,' political scientist Green claims to take issue with television's delivery system, yet he spends a great deal of time criticizing the goods as well, categorizing entertainment television as 'almost totally ideological.' Part op-ed and part critical theory, the book is at times an academic diatribe on right-wing hypocrisy as it applies to mass media, and is written for fellow academics rather than the impressionable minds that may fall victim to ideological television. Green's dense, jargon-heavy writing makes it difficult to see the points that ultimately redeem this book from academic pontification, although they do exist. Green proposes the irony that conservatives promote capitalism and then feel threatened by the freedoms it produces. No better example exists than in the flourishing pornography industry, a benefactor of enhanced media delivery systems that is demonized by conservatives whose economic policies have greased the wheel for its growth. Nevertheless, this book will no doubt, find its way into 'culture and the media' courses, especially since it rightly examines entertainment and information television through the same critical lens. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)