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Made Possible By...: The Death of Public Broadcasting in the United States Paperback – November 17, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859840299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859840290
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

In Made Possible By..., Village Voice columnist James Ledbetter considers the current state of public broadcasting and finds it decidedly lacking. During its early heyday, NET (National Educational Television, a forerunner of PBS) regularly aired innovative and provocative public-affairs shows; soon, however, public-television managers began toning down controversial content in a desperate--and doomed--attempt to secure government funding. When even these efforts failed, public television increasingly turned to corporate sponsors to fill the gap, resulting in a movement away from adventurous programming in favor of politically inoffensive, "safe" shows such as Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theatre, even Ken Burns's The Civil War. Today, Ledbetter writes, corporate influence rules in public broadcasting, much as it does in commercial television. A savage indictment of corporate underwriting and bureaucratic inefficiency, Made Possible By... is also an eloquent defense of public television's possibilities; Ledbetter envisions public broadcasting as a truly democratic arena--and perhaps the only area of American public life not determined by market forces. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A sharp, persuasive analysis of public broadcasting's decline and fall.”—David Futrelle, Newsday

“Crammed with newsy incidents and amazing quotes ... a valuable source book for years to come.”—Richard Buell, Boston Globe

“Ledbetter's refusal to hide behind Big Bird is refreshing; his recommendations are cogent.”—Martha Bayles, New York Times

“Ledbetter's view is balanced, his eye is cold and sharp, and his research is exhaustive.”—Stephen Stark, Washington Post

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Jarvik on June 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
James Ledbetter's concerns are those of a man of the left, and his book reveals a sense of betrayal. He shows how PBS and its insiders used an original left constituency in pursuit of political power and financial gain. Dropped once PBS became an established institution were the unions, performers and artists, educators and other nonconformists to whom the promise of a refuge for individualism and dissidence had been made by what turned out to be -- not surprisingly to libertarian critics -- another self-serving government bureaucracy motivated by the aggrandizement of power and wealth. I.F. Stone said "all governments are liars" and Ledbetter seems to include PBS in that judgement. He reveals why some of those who once believed in PBS no longer are able to offer it unconditional support. While non-leftists may not share his vision of a subsidized agitprop network to replace the present system, many of his criticisms of existing problems within PBS are on the mark.
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0 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I hope this guy has a day job.
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