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Cambridge University Press
U.S. Television News and Cold War Propaganda, 1947-1960 / Edition 1

U.S. Television News and Cold War Propaganda, 1947-1960 / Edition 1

by Nancy BernhardNancy Bernhard


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Television news and the Cold War grew simultaneously in the years following World War II, and their history is deeply intertwined. In order to guarantee sufficient resolve in the American public for a long term arms buildup, defense and security officials turned to the television networks. In need of access to official film and newsmakers to build themselves into serious news organizations, and anxious to prove their loyalty in the age of blacklisting, the network news divisions acted as unofficial state propagandists. This book analyzes the shocking extent of their collaboration.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521543248
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/16/2003
Series: Cambridge Studies in the History of Mass Communication Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.59(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: selling the Cold War consensus; 1. Business, the state, and information from World War II to Cold War; 2. Democracy and the advent of television news; 3. The State Department's domestic information programs; 4. The television industry at war in Korea; 5. The White House and NBC present battle report - Washington; 6. The Defense Department's domestic information programs; 7. Objectivity and consensus journalism; Conclusion; Selling America: corporate prerogatives and democratic processes.

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U.S. Television News and Cold War Propaganda, 1947-1960 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Scapegoats on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the United States began the Cold War, one of its articles of faith was that a free press was essential to a free society. The United States liked to contrast the American press with the state-run Soviet press. The free-market made the US press, in theory, more objective. In reality, however, it was severely constrained by the market in several ways.First, early news programs lost money, so had limited budgets. Taking government produced news segments dramatically reduced costs, but also gave the government inordinate control over the final product.Second, there was significant self-censorship. The networks were not selling products to consumers. They were selling consumers/viewers to the advertisers. Networks had to present programs that appealed to the mass of Americans. As the second Red Scare dominated the press, criticisms of the government became seen as unpatriotic. This meant that the news tended to be uncritical of government policy so as to maintain viewership and the appeal to sponsors.Finally, access to government officials greatly enhanced the credibility of journalists. If a journalist was overly critical of a policy, it was less likely that he would have access to officials in the future. This caused a softening of criticism.The reliance on government sources and the need for a patriotic appearance for sponsors meant that early news media helped shape the "Cold War consensus" in a very similar way to how Soviet media did. The objectivity of the news media was greatly exaggerated at the time and has never fully recovered.Even though this argument seems a bit obvious, the research done by Bernhard is outstanding. In addition, her presentation brings into sharp relief a problem that is often overlooked in both Cold War history and modern media studies.