Meehan on “Why Television is not Our Fault”

Meehan, Eileen.  “The Blame Game.” Why TV Is Not Our Fault: Television Programming, Viewers, and Who’s Really in Control. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005. 1 – 26.

In this introductory chapter, Meehan presents a well-written (even funny) argument that broadcast television does not simply “give people what they want.”  She analyzes speeches by Frank Stanton and A.C. Neilsen to show how industry officials have tried to paint critics of television as elite snobs.  She demonstrate that even accepting an Adam Smith view of market competition, the broadcast television market fails to empower audiences members as buyers with the power to determine what will be offered to them.  Meehan concludes, “As consumers, we are given choices from a constricted menu, and we have no say in how that menu is constructed” (22).  I’ve found this one to be a great discussion starter.

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