POLITICS AND TV by Kurt & Gladys Engel Lang


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A punctilious study which goes well beyond the intuitive moans of antimedia Cassandras and the ritual acclamations of McLuhanites. The authors suggest that TV-effects may be a function of people's belief in those effects, rather than direct results of technology. They find, for instance that MacArthur Day in Chicago was blown up by the media, while the rather casual spectators found being on TV among the biggest thrills of the occasion. Further case studies include the 1952 conventions, and Nixon's Checkers speech, a comparison of the different networks' approaches and consequent disparities in the ""inferential structures"" their commentaries provided; the Kennedy-Nixon debates, an elaborate investigation of viewer reactions; and the (exaggerated) influence of televising early election returns. In general, they find the indirect determinants most interesting and important--television's impact on our definitions of complicated or ambiguous events, and its capacity to structure issues and personalities. More sophisticated than many studies so designated--and more digestible.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1968
Publisher: Quadrangle