Hot Air: All Talk, All the Time

Hot Air: All Talk, All the Time

by Howard Kurtz
     
 

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America is awash in talk. Loud talk, angry talk, conspiratorial talk that has changed the nature of journalism and politics, producing a high-decibel revolution in the way we communicate. In this fascinating, maddening, behind-the-scenes look at America's powerful talk shows, the author of Media Circus examines their excesses, conflicts, and impact, and explains how

Overview

America is awash in talk. Loud talk, angry talk, conspiratorial talk that has changed the nature of journalism and politics, producing a high-decibel revolution in the way we communicate. In this fascinating, maddening, behind-the-scenes look at America's powerful talk shows, the author of Media Circus examines their excesses, conflicts, and impact, and explains how they are changing our culture.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kurtz (Media Circus) takes a no-holds-barred look at America's electronic media from radio and TV talk shows to the Sunday morning punditocracy, which he calls a testosterone-driven calling. He skewers John McLaughlin and his McLaughlin Group for inaccuracy (they seldom predict an election right) and lack of preparation, even getting panelist Jack Germond to admit, "I am not comfortable with any of this, but I do it for the money." Kurtz then moves on to Phil Donahue, the granddaddy of daytime talk-show hosts. Covering such topics as dwarf-tossing and cross-dressing, Donahue pioneered the way for his successors from Geraldo Rivera, who had on-air liposuction performed on his own butt, to Jenny Jones, whose on-air ambush of a guest led to real-life homicide. He examines the lives of the pristine pontificators on the Sunday morning political shows, casting aspersions on their journalistic integrity (George Will once coached Ronald Reagan for a debate with Jimmy Carter, then later declared Reagan the winner on ABC) and noting their obvious conflicts of interest (journalists often give paid speeches to organizations they are reporting on). He also takes a close look at the not-so-orderly personal lives of such radio icons as Larry King and Rush Limbaugh. Kurtz has written a scathing profile of the national media and pseudo-media that will have intelligent Americans wondering why they just don't flick the dial to "Off." Major ad/promo; author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
"It's a talk show jungle out there," journalist Kurtz writes, "...the airways are crackling with insults, arguments, spin, and speculation." He covers in fascinating detail the cultural shift inherent in the proliferation of talk shows on both radio and television, where hosts are acting as political kingmakers and where the mores of society are being challenged by crudeness, rumor-mongering, bigotry of all stripes, sexual exhibitionism, and worse. Kurtz decries the loss of integrity in broadcast news, contending that such coverage has been compromised by the rush for bigger ratings by millionaire "performers" who have lost touch with reality. This is an important book, deserving library shelf space, with Kurtz's earlier study of newspapers, Media Circus (LJ 4/1/93).-Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
Mary Carroll
"Washington Post" media critic Kurtz took on U.S. newspapers in his award-winning "Media Circus" (1993); "Hot Air" is a fascinating survey of "talkathon culture" and its "high-decibel revolution in the way we communicate with each other and with our leaders." Most chapters focus on specific talk "stars" --John McLaughlin and his interlocutor-victims, Phil Donahue and several succeeding generations of "daytime dysfunction" gurus, Larry King, the "Crossfire" crew, Ted Koppel, C-SPAN, the Sunday morning wise men, Rush Limbaugh, "radio rebels" such as Howard Stern, Don Imus, Bob Grant, G. Gordon Liddy, and (again) Limbaugh--and the remainder cover more general issues, for example, the corporate speaker's fees talkers collect, the influence of electronic talk on elections and legislation, and the revolving door between politics and punditry. Kurtz welcomes talk media's more open, more democratic forums but insists that nothing, including the FCC, is likely to reduce its garbage content: "a surreal. . . mirror-image . . . exhibitionist . . . aging, white-guy world." The talk circuit that Kurtz so vividly describes is also, depressingly, "merely part of a larger media phenomenon in which unconfirmed speculation crowds out verifiable fact."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307815477
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
10/24/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Howard Kurtz is media critic for the Washington Post and is a regular panelist on CNN’s Reliable Sources. He is also the author of Media Circus, named the best recent book on the media by the American Journalism Review.

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