MEDIASPEAK: How Television Makes Up Your Mind by Donna Woolfolk Cross

MEDIASPEAK: How Television Makes Up Your Mind

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Commercials don't tell the truth (but people are taken in anyway) and 101 other stock criticisms of TV. The book could be a low-grade course on media manipulation--which ""we"" all succumb to, though ""you"" don't realize it--with a chapter each on deceptive ads and uninformative news, on entertainment stereotypes and celebrity hype, on the selling of the president and presidential ""sales pitches"". . . and with quotes in each instance from the standing media critics (Eric Barnouw and Rose Goldsen on sponsor-ship, Mankiewicz & Swerdlow and Robert MacNeil on news and politics, etc.). The point of all this chicanery is supposedly--and simplistically--to prop up the Establishment, a.k.a. ""business"" (""to keep America's mighty production machine going"") or ""the American Way"" (""which means capitalism and parliamentary democracy""). The gaffes apart, Cross (Word Abuse; Daddy's Little Girl, with William Woolfolk) just makes everybody's arguments cruder and less effectual. Her assertions are so clankingly obvious, indeed (no ""deeper social problems"" on TV news)--or so ludicrous (Samuel Johnson would never have made it as an anchorman)--as to vitiate the criticism. She also tends to blame TV blindly: if ""Over half the population doesn't know who their senators or congressmen are and almost as many do not even know how many senators there are from their own state"" (or, presumably, any state), then surely the schools failed them too. The quite young or the very out-of-touch might pick up some of the older and newer ideas about TV brainwashing here (indiscriminately mixed)--but almost anyone will be better off with the sources Cross extracted them from.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1983
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan