As briefly documented in this closely focused treatment, the electronic media--especially TV--have transformed our political system, resulting in shallow coverage that ignores serious issues for attention-grabbing sensationalism. After chronicling previous instances of image-focusing in US history and the process of media takeover of politics, Sherrow doesn't shrink from a depressing conclusion: candidates who might do an excellent job are driven out by those who are better media manipulators; voters who care about issues will continue to become cynical and drop out while those swayed by shallow appeals dominate politics. Maintaining an attitude of scrupulous fairness, she allows the media consultants (the ""handlers"" or ""spin doctors,"" often blamed for the situation) to have their say and presents ideas for reform. The issues are laid out clearly, but given the analysis here one wonders: Is anyone likely to follow her recommendations? Extensive end notes; up-to-date bibliography; list of organizations to contact. B&w photos; index.