1st Edition

The Sound Bite Society How Television Helps the Right and Hurts the Left

By Jeffrey Scheuer Copyright 2002
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

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    It was once said that all politics is local. But today, all politics is televisual. Candidates spend millions on TV ads. Most people get their news from TV's sound bites. Television doesn't just affect politics--it is politics. But how does that mega-medium shape our political ideas and values? In THE SOUND BITE SOCIETY, Jeffrey Scheuer argues that the rise of television is directly linked to the decline of the American left and the ascent of the Electronic Right. Political argument has been simplified to quick, telegraphic TV sound bites which, he argues, inherently favor the right wing. Television's visual and rhetorical conventions are biased toward simplicity, Scheuer argues, making it the perfect vehicle for conservative messages advocating a simpler society and smaller government. Web site: www.thesoundbitesociety.com

    Introduction: The Politics of Electronic Information Chapter 1: The Ascent of the Electronic Right Chapter 2: Shouting Heads: The Language of Television Chapter 3: Video Games: Television and Reality Chapter 4: Complexity and Ideology Chapter 5: Critical Vision: Television and the Attentive Society Notes Selected Bibliography


    Jeffrey Scheuer writes about politics and media. His criticism and commentary has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and Dissent. He lives in New York City.

    "...refreshing. Whatever your political persuasion, however, The Sound Bite Society offers an interesting... take on what shapes the politics of television." -- NationalJournal.com
    "Irrespective of whether one fully agrees with Scheuer's thesis, [The Sound Bite Society] will be very useful in stimulating active discussion in classes dealing with political communication and the media." -- Susan Tyler Eastman, Communication Booknotes Quarterly
    "... a true intellectual discourse, an essay in the realm of ideas." -- The Jerusalem Post
    "Thoughtful, in many ways amazing. Part polemic and part rainbow of dazzling insights." -- Victor Navasky, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The Nation
    "The most searching book I have seen on television's assault on our psyches and our society. Scheuer emerges as not only a first-rank scholar of the media but a philosopher of the media." -- Daniel Schorr, Senior Analyst, National Public Radio
    "Beautifully written and powerfully argued...social criticism of the best kind." -- Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study
    "Breaks new intellectual ground...deeply incisive." -- Chicago Tribune
    "Valuable..." -- James Fallows, Washington Monthly
    "Exceptional...unusually well-argued and supported." -- The Eye, Toronto
    "An insightful but profoundly unsettling volume." -- Dissent
    "Scheuer aims to intrigue and provoke and he does [so] on every page." -- Boston Review