The background color, which sets no special features.
It is a postmodern commonplace that our lives are intimately and inextricably bound up in the TV experience. Ninety-eight percent of all American households — more than have indoor plumbing — have at least one television, which is on seven hours a day, on the average.
Media prospector Bill McKibben wonders about the exchange value of such information: We also live at a moment of deep ignorance, when vital knowledge that humans have always possessed about who we are and where we live seems beyond our reach.
An age of missing information. The effects of television are most deleterious in the realms of journalism and politics; in both spheres, TV has reduced discourse to photo ops and sound bites, asserting the hegemony of image over language, emotion over intellect.
These developments are bodied forth in Ronald Reagan, a TV conjuration who for eight years held the news media, and thus the American public, spellbound.
Deaver, Gergen and their colleagues effectively rewrote the rules of presidential image-making. Their objective was not simply to tame the press but to transform it into an unwitting mouthpiece of the government. During the Reagan years, America was transformed into a TV democracy whose prime directive is social control through the fabrication and manipulation of images.
Throughout the war, the American people demanded the right not to know. A poll cited in The New York Times was particularly distressing: Her testimony was never substantiated, and her identity — she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.
Everybody watches it, but no one really likes it. This is the open secret of TV today.
Its only champions are its own executives, the advertisers who exploit it, and a compromised network of academic boosters.
Otherwise, TV has no spontaneous defenders, because there is almost nothing in it to defend. This techno-voodoo rite constitutes the symbolic obliteration of a one-way information pipeline that only transmits, never receives. It is an act of sympathetic magic performed in the name of all who are obliged to peer at the world through peepholes owned by multinational conglomerates for whom the profit margin is the bottom line.
But…if this bright kaleidoscope suddenly disappeared and was replaced by the corporate colophons of those who own this output, the collage would go gray with the names of the few multinationals that now command the field.
In his watershed work, The Media Monopoly, Bagdikian reports that the number of transnational media giants has dropped to 23 and is rapidly shrinking.
Following another vector, Herbert Schiller considers the interlocked issues of privatized information and limited access: The commercialization of information, its private acquisition and sale, has become a major industry.
Lee and Norman Solomon level another, equally disturbing charge: In an era of network news cutbacks and staff layoffs, many reporters are reluctant to pursue stories they know will upset management. More recent is the notion that the public mind is being colonized by corporate phantasms — wraithlike images of power and desire that haunt our dreams.
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