The five myths of television power, or, Why the medium is not the message



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Booknotes copy has inscription:"For Brian Lamb and C-Span which clearly inspired some of these pages (cf 214-217) Douglas Davis 3/93."


Davis, Douglas, “The five myths of television power, or, Why the medium is not the message ,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed October 7, 2022,


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The five myths of television power, or, Why the medium is not the message


Davis, Douglas


Program air date: May 30, 1993.


The Five Myths of Television Power is a provocative and controversial book. It challenges the conventional assumption, repeated every day, that television dominates American life - if not the life of the entire world. Douglas Davis takes on this belief with arguments that will change the way we all view television. Is TV-as-we-know-it dying? Douglas Davis contends that television's perceived power is just that - only perception, not fact, grossly exaggerated, and damaging to our national life. In The Five Myths of Television Power, Davis shatters the following myths: TV controls our voting. TV destroys our students. TV is (our) reality. TV pacifies us and keeps us at home. We love TV. Davis analyzes many of television's most famous "events," from the home tapes that recorded the beating of Rodney King and, later, the Los Angeles riots, to the Gulf War, to the Clarence Thomas hearings, to Murphy Brown's illegitimate child and the surprising 1992 elections. Throughout he proves that the medium is hardly omnipotent, crushing all resistance in the viewers who turn it on. Rather, it is "a fat-bellied emperor unclothed, ready to succumb to leaner, looser, more invigorating competition." He warns that "traditional" television, if it remains complacent and unwilling to change, will self-destruct before a host of media and print challengers. The Five Myths of Television Power will stir debate within the TV networks, the new cable TV empires, and among editors, publishers, students of media and the arts, and liberated TV viewers everywhere. Americans are tired of being told that they cannot think for themselves - the hidden message of Marshall McLuhan's books. The Five Myths of Television Power refutes McLuhan. It recasts the relationship of the viewer to television in an entirely new direction - one that empowers the viewer, and one that television executives should heed.


"Television broadcasting--Social aspects."
"Television and politics."
"Technology and civilization."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


Simon & Schuster
George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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