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American mass media are the world's most diverse, rich, and free. Their dazzling resources, variety, and influence arouse envy in other countries. Their failures are commonly excused on the grounds that they are creatures of the market, that they give people what they want. Commercial Culture focuses not on the glories of the media, but on what is wrong with them and why, and how they may be made better.
This powerful critique of American mass communication highlights four trends that sound an urgent call for reform: the blurring of distinctions among traditional media and between individual and mass communication; the increasing concentration of media control in a disturbingly small number of powerful organizations; the shift from advertisers to consumers as the source of media revenues; and the growing confusion of information and entertainment, of the real and the imaginary. The future direction of the media, Leo Bogart contends, should not be left to market forces alone. He shows how the public's appetite for media differs from other demands the market is left to satisfy because of how profoundly the media shape the public's character and values. Bogart concludes that a world of new communications technology requires a coherent national media policy, respectful of the American tradition of free expression and subject to vigorous public scrutiny and debate.
Commercial Culture is a comprehensive analysis of the media as they evolve in a technological age. It will appeal to general readers interested in mass communications, as well as professionals and scholars studying American mass media.
|Preface to the Transaction Edition|
|1||What Are "The Media?"||15|
|2||The Media System||33|
|II||Advertising as the Driving Force|
|3||The Presence of Advertising||65|
|4||Paying the Piper, Calling the Tune||93|
|5||Advertising by the Numbers||122|
|III||Flaws and Failures of Commercial Culture|
|6||The Pursuit of Sensation||143|
|7||The News as Entertainment||174|
|8||Believing in the Make-Believe||203|
|IV||Dynamics of Commercial Culture|
|9||The Manufacture of Taste||221|
|10||Managing Commercial Culture||247|
|11||Media Support and Media Substance||266|
|V||Is There a Better Way?|
|12||Reform, Restructure, or Leave It Be?||287|
|App||A Note on the Measurement of Expenditures on Media||325|