Email this review


A sociological survey of media people, specifically the major policy makers at ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report. The authors ask: Who are the members of this elite? What do they think about the issues they report on? What direction do they want American society to take? Two hundred forty journalists were questioned about their backgrounds, voting habits, and attitudes on social issues. Then the same group took psychological tests designed to uncover their motivations and biases. For the most part, the surveyors found ""few Horatio Alger stories in the newsroom."" Only one in five had a father employed in a low-status job. Exactly half eschew any religious affiliation. ""In sum,"" the authors write, ""substantial numbers of the media elite grow up at a distance from the social and cultural traditions of small-town middle America."" The big problem, they find, is that ""urbanity and cosmopolitanism bring their own distortions, or, at least, limitations of perspective."" Indeed, they find that many of these media elite feel more important than those that they cover. (One telling incident has Dan Rather's secretary confronting Senator Alan Cranston in the middle of an interview: ""Mr. Rather only has time for one more question."") Surveying the content analysis of major media news stories from 1970 through 1983, the worst charge the authors find against their subjects is that ""the coverage accords with the perspectives of the journalists rather than with the newsmakers."" Unbiased, this is a close look at America's newest celebrities.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1986
Publisher: Adler & Adler--dist. by Harper & Row