How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line
A unique and compelling portrait of William F. Buckley as the champion of conservative ideas in an age of liberal dominance, taking on the smartest adversaries he could find while singlehandedly reinventing the role of public intellectual in the network television era.
When Firing Line premiered on American television in 1966, just two years after Barry Goldwater’s devastating defeat, liberalism was ascendant. Though the left seemed to have decisively won the hearts and minds of the electorate, the show’s creator and host, William F. Buckley—relishing his role as a public contrarian—made the case for conservative ideas, believing that his side Continue reading “Open to Debate”
COLD WAR RIGHT-WING BROADCASTING AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST
The rise of right-wing broadcasting during the Cold War has been mostly forgotten today. But in the 1950s and ’60s you could turn on your radio any time of the day and listen to diatribes against communism, civil rights, the United Nations, fluoridation, federal income tax, Social Security, or JFK, as well as hosannas praising Barry Goldwater and Jesus Christ. Half a century before the rise of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, these broadcasters bucked the FCC’s public interest mandate and created an alternate universe of right-wing political coverage, anticommunist sermons, and pro-business bluster. Continue reading “What’s Fair on the Air?”
MEDIA AND CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL CULTURE
In 1999, the Reverend Jerry Falwell outed Tinky-Winky, the purple character from TV’s Teletubbies. Events such as this reinforced in many quarters the common idea that evangelicals are reactionary, out of touch, and just plain paranoid. But reducing evangelicals to such caricatures does not help us understand their true spiritual and political agendas and the means they use to advance them. Shaking the World for Jesus moves beyond sensationalism to consider how the evangelical movement has effectively targeted Americans—as both converts and consumers—since the 1970s. Continue reading “Shaking the World for Jesus”
The History, Politics, and Economics of America’s Only TV Channel for Kids
Nickelodeon is the highest rated daytime channel in the country, and its cultural influence has grown at an astounding pace. Why are Nickelodeon shows so popular? How are they developed and marketed? And where do they fit in the economic picture of the children’s media industry? Nickelodeon Nation, the first major study of the only TV channel just for children, investigates these questions.
Intended for a wide range of readers and illustrated thorughout, the essays in Nickelodeon Nation are grouped into four sections: economics and marketing; the production process; programs and politics; and viewers. Continue reading “Nickelodeon Nation”
Television Regulation before the V-Chip
Many parents, politicians, and activists agree that there’s too much violence and not enough education on children’s television. Current solutions range from the legislative (the Children’s Television Act of 1990) to the technological (the V-chip). Saturday Morning Censors examines the history of adults’ attempts to safeguard children from the violence, sexism, racism, and commercialism on television since the 1950s. By focusing on what censorship and regulation are and how they work—rather than on whether they should exist—Heather Hendershot shows how adults use these processes to reinforce their own ideas about childhood innocence. Continue reading “Saturday Morning Censors”