Politics and Television [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 22 (2):382-382 (1968)

This is primarily a sociological study of the impact on the viewer of television coverage of particular key events. Singled out especially are: MacArthur day in Chicago in 1951, the 1952 political conventions, and the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960. The impact of television on political opinion and the effect of nationally televised voting returns on late voters are also explored. Relying on the method of questionnaires and interviews with strategically placed eye-witnesses and television watchers, the Langs discovered: that there is a difference between being there in person and "being there" via T.V., that the major networks differ, often markedly, with respect to the impression of the event conveyed, and that in spite of seeming to be a "see for yourself" news medium, T.V. can't help but introduce some "refraction," some inadvertent bias, into the actuality it conveys. Although there is occasional passing reference to McLuhan, there is little discussion of T.V. as medium. Rather, content, and content of news coverage specifically, is the primary focus. However, in the last chapter, and here and there throughout the book, there are more speculative reflections on what the authors have discovered. For example, they speculate on the way television coverage becomes an event in its own right and on the way television "manufactures" actuality, transforming the viewers' quest for truth into a quest for trust. The book is a helpful, feet-on-the-ground reference point for the exploration of the problems of media and messages.--S. O. H.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1968222236
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