Washington Post media reporter Kurtz (Media Circus, 1993) looks at a nation awash in talk TV and radio, and concludes that it may be drowning. Kurtz surveys the vast expanse of talk media, from Oprah Winfrey to Meet the Press, from C-SPAN to Don Imus and Rush Limbaugh. He shows how the sausage is made, going backstage on Nightline and Larry King Live. Kurtz lets Phil Donahue defend the daytime TV talk show genre and explains the marketing philosophy behind the choreographed conservative va. liberal fireworks on such programs as The McLaughlin Group and Crossfire. He traces the history of talk media, from its staid and conservative beginnings to its present wildness, where ``television has made deviance seem passÇ'' and where reporters and pundits trade honest journalism for fame and fortune. Kurtz is insightful but unexciting until he turns, in the last third of the book, to a critical examination of the influence of talk media, and especially talk radio. While Kurtz was himself a talk-show host for 16 months on a Washington radio station and is still a frequent guest on the talk-show circuit, he is ambivalent about the genre. ``Clearly, the talk phenomenon helps viewers and listeners feel connected to a political world that seems increasingly remote from their daily existence,'' he writes. On the other hand, says Kurtz, talk shows are often mindless and repetitive, merely a vehicle for their insincere or strident hosts. Kurtz applauds the talk-show genre as a ``wonderful, impassioned forum for debate'' but laments its lack of both self-regulation and restraint. ``The real question,'' Kurtz finally concludes, ``is whether there is a significant market for talk that is not driven by bluster, sensationalism and superficiality.'' Given the evidence he offers of the enormous political influence of talk shows, it is a sobering question at the heart of a sobering critique. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8129-2624-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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