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Ruthless Criticism was first published in 1993. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Ruthless Criticism offers perspectives and subjects largely outside traditional historiography. It broadens the concept of media history to include lesser-studied media, and offers alternative interpretations of traditional media.
This anthology of original research includes an array of scholarly and theoretical perspectives. Each addresses specific topic within a specific era. reflecting the diversity of U.S. mass media.
Solomon and McChesney begin by using critical theory and deconstruction to examine the meanings of print in the colonial era. Subsequent chapters study the media ecology of the antebellum press; the intense focus on profits of the post-Civil War mainstream press; gender images in the labor press; the diversity of political views within the working-class press; and the development of a commercial press in the black community.
The essays concerning the twentieth century focus on the rise of a culture industry and include studies on the origins of the broadcast ratings system and the commercial broadcast system and the commercial broadcast system, early television's portrayals of childhood, the televisions networks' close ties with the federal government, the government's key role in creating and developing the field of mass communication research, and teenage girls' popular culture from 1960–1968 as a formative influence on the feminist movement.
|1||The Contours of Media History||1|
|2||The Public Sphere and the Cultural Mediation of Print||7|
|3||A Local History of the Early U.S. Press: Cincinnati||38|
|4||Nineteenth-Century Suffrage Periodicals: Conceptions of Womanhood and the Press||66|
|5||The Rise of News as a Commodity: Business Imperatives and the Press in the Nineteenth Century||98|
|6||Gender, the Movement Press, and the Cultural Politics of the Knights of Labor||122|
|7||The Working-Class Press at the Turn of the Century||151|
|8||The Commercialization of the Black Press and the Rise of Race News in Chicago||176|
|9||Heads of Household and Ladies of the House: Gender, Genre, and Broadcast Ratings, 1929-1990||204|
|10||Conflict, Not Consensus: The Debate over Broadcast Communication Policy, 1930-1935||222|
|11||Seducing the Innocent: Childhood and Television in Postwar America||259|
|12||Ready, Willing, Able: Network Television News and the Federal Government, 1948-1953||291|
|13||U.S. Mass Communication Research, Counterinsurgency, and Scientific "Reality"||313|
|14||Will You Love Me Tomorrow? Changing Discourses about Female Sexuality in the Mass Media, 1960-1968||349|