SENSATIONAL TV: Trash or Journalism? by Nancy Day

SENSATIONAL TV: Trash or Journalism?

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Day (Animal Experimentation, 1994, not reviewed, etc.) often readers a sobering investigation into talk shows, tabloid news programs, and reality-based adventure shows and comes up with a well-meaning but superficial primer in the Issues in Focus series. The author demonstrates the emotional wallop talk shows pack by recounting the horrifying and freakish stories that these programs frequently highlight in order to guarantee high ratings and therefore garner advertising revenues. She points out that no one--from the commercial sponsors, to the producers, to the hosts--will assume moral responsibility for the content of the broadcasts. To her credit, Day makes the case against trash TV with a stream of facts and figures, revealing the economics of the shows (e.g., they keep the money even if one talk show guest murders another). Unfortunately, she takes the same high moral tone that she accuses the shows of having; while her defense of the Rolanda show seems to be a matter of personal taste, her belief that viewers become more critical thinkers by watching investigative news shows comes off as wishful thinking.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1996
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Enslow