The author takes a sociologist's look at the role of public television in the United States, and at the whole issue of the funding of television. His analysis of the forces that shape the public system leads him to ask questions about the increasing tendency towards privatization. Discussing the conservative campaign in 1992 to end federal funding, Hoynes explores the nature of public television funding structures and their impact on programming, the relationship between public television and the public that it is intended to serve, and the consequences of the absence of shared goals within public television.
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Analyzing the evolving funding structure of public television, sociologist Hoynes finds an increasing reliance on corporate sponsorhip. Through revealing interviews with PBS employees, a comparative analysis of the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and ABC news, and examples showing the interrelation of programming content and financing, Hoynes demonstrates that PBS has largely abandoned its original commitment to underserved viewers, adopting a bottom-line approach to programming. In arguing for a public television system more reflective of U.S. citizenry, Hoynes disputes the application of the free-market model to the realm of ideas, noting that competition for ratings threatens diversity, and he astutely points out that the explosion in cable channels has not resulted in a heyday for media pluralism. While Hoynes's specific recommendations for future funding of PBS are less than inspired (a sales tax on TV sets has been proposed before and rebuffed), his contention that a genuinely public television must be "insulated" from intervention by both market and state is sound. Suggesting that PBS reclaim territory pioneered by public access and C-Span, Hoynes ignores the question of whether the success of these alternative efforts signals PBS's obsolescence in the area of public affairs programming. Some may end up wondering whether pressuring PBS to change is worth the effort. This study is indispensible to anyone who cares about the future of public television or the broader issue of the relationship between mass media and democracy.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Westview Press, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110813318297