In a a perfect world, the media wizards who spawned Willie Horton would be out of business. But these propagandists are just one feature of a larger crisis of democratic capitalism: the interpenetration of politics, television, entertainment, and wealth. The mixture of cash ‘n’ camera has eroded civic discourse and brought about what Todd Gitlin calls “an eerie politics of half-truth, deceit, and evasion in which ignorant symbols clash by night.”
This crisis has two dimensions: the spending side and the spinning side. On the spending side, money talks—mainly the language of television. On the spinning side, television itself is, for structural as well as commercial reasons, a formidable instrument of propaganda....
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