TARGET: PRIME TIME: Advocacy Groups and Entertainm by Kathryn Montgomery

TARGET: PRIME TIME: Advocacy Groups and Entertainm

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sociological analysis exploring the role of political and social activist groups in changing the face of prime-time entertainment TV; by Montgomery (Theater, Film, and Television/UCLA). While researching a doctoral thesis, and in subsequent years teaching and attending conferences on entertainment TV, the author found that there were unwritten industry rules governing the relationship between advocacy groups and the networks, rules that had never become public knowledge. Her fascination with that relationship has resulted in this volume, which focuses on the period from about 1971 on, when special interest groups--understanding TV's power in its role as central storyteller for the culture--began to besiege network standards-and-practices departments from practically every conceivable social angle. Minorities, women, gays, seniors, and the disabled saw TV as a cultural mirror that was failing accurately to reflect their image; conservative religious groups saw it as a threat to traditional values; social-issue groups saw it as an electronic classroom where heroes of prime time could teach their audience great lessons; antiviolence groups saw TV as fostering a more aggressive society. Consequently, Montgomery, using various case histories--such as the furor over the Maude abortion episodes or the attack by black groups over the image of slaves in Beulah Land--demonstrates the arsenal of weapons used by those seeking to alter TV to their own devices: public protests, appeals to Congress or the FCC, lobbying, and public campaigns. Not always successful (networks have often used counterpressures), these groups have still often managed to get the TV industry to capitulate to their desires--to the point where some groups have been able to get veto power over how their people are pictured. Montgomery makes a convincing case, demonstrating to what extent all of us are guinea pigs for mass indoctrination by networks caving in to special-interest groups; it's too bad, then, that her work is not really targeted for the huge number of TV viewers who suffer from this modern form of brainwashing.

ISBN: 19-504964-0
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:




MORE BY KATHRYN MONTGOMERY