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The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left Paperback – October 15, 1981

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520040244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520040243
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Gitlin tells us . . . how The New York Times and CBS reported on Students for a Democratic Society, and how their choices mattered for the development of the 60s movement and the containment of serious political change. -- In These Times

More About the Author

I've published fifteen books, including, most recently, Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street; The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election (with Liel Leibovitz); The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals; other titles include The Intellectuals and the Flag; Letters to a Young Activist; Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives; The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; Inside Prime Time; The Whole World Is Watching; Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (co-author); three novels, Undying, Sacrifice and The Murder of Albert Einstein; and a book of poetry, Busy Being Born. These books have been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. I also edited Watching Television and Campfires of the Resistance.

I've contributed to many books and published widely in general periodicals (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Boston Globe, Dissent, The New Republic, The Nation, Wilson Quarterly, Harper's, American Journalism Review, Columbia Journalism Review, New York Observer, The American Prospect, et al.), online magazines (,,,,, as well as scholarly journals. I'm on the editorial board of Dissent.

In 2000, Sacrifice won the Harold U. Ribalow Prize for books on Jewish themes. The Sixties and The Twilight of Common Dreams were Notable Books in the New York Times Book Review. Inside Prime Time received the nonfiction award of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association; The Sixties was a finalist for that award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

I hold degrees from Harvard University (B. A., mathematics), the University of Michigan (M. S., political science), and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph. D., sociology). I was the third president of Students for a Democratic Society, in 1963-64, and coordinator of the SDS Peace Research and Education Project in 1964-65, during which time he helped organize the first national demonstration against the Vietnam War and the first American demonstrations against corporate aid to the apartheid regime in South Africa. During 1968-69, I was an editor and writer for the San Francisco Express Times, and through 1970 wrote widely for the underground press. In 2003-06, I was a member of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA.

I'm a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph. D. program in Communications at Columbia University. Earlier, I was for sixteen years a professor of sociology and director of the mass communications program at the University of California, Berkeley, and then for seven years a professor of culture, journalism and sociology at New York University. During 1994-95, I held the chair in American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. I've been a resident at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy and the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California, a Bosch Fellow at the American Academy of Berlin, a fellow at the Media Studies Center in New York, and a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Oslo, the University of Toronto, East China Normal University in Shanghai, the Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis in Tunisia, and the Université de Neuchatel in Switzerland.

I lecture frequently on culture and politics in the United States and abroad (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Switzerland). I've appeared on many National Public Radio programs including Fresh Air as well as PBS, ABC, CBS and CNN. I lives in New York City with my wife, Laurel Cook.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on May 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
"The Whole World is Watching," is Todd Gitlin's doctoral dissertation modified for publication. Gitlin was president of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the early 1960's before moving on to other radical causes. Gitlin was educated at Harvard and is currently (I think) a professor at NYU in media studies and journalism. This book deals with the influence of the media on SDS during the 1960's. He's written other works on media studies as well an epic history of the 1960's. Gitlin is definitely the intellectual, and it shows in this book.
In "The Whole World is Watching," Gitlin argues that the theory of hegemony as articulated by Antonio Gramsci can be applied to the media and its operations. Gitlin argues that the media is a tool of the corporate liberal apparatus and that the media acts as a sort of "middle-man" between elites and the masses. The media controls and directs how people think by using "frames." These frames limit the parameters in which discourse can take place in the public sphere. Frames can and do change, however, as elites change their opinions. Gitlin uses SDS as a test case for his theory. He argues that SDS, once it came to media attention in 1965, was framed by the media as an anti-war group, totally ignoring all of the other things SDS stood for (participatory democracy, etc.). This frame attracted thousands of people who joined SDS without any knowledge of what SDS was all about. This influx of people ended up changing the group for the worse, and SDS died a painful death several years later due to sectarian Marxist wackos.
Along the way, Gitlin looks at various other traits of the media. For me, the most important was his examination of how media creates celebrity.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A O Cazola on January 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Todd Gitlin is a media crtic extraordinaire. His teachings in journalism and media departments across North America are unmatched, and he is well-known as a writer on Salon.
The Whole World is Watching is an indepth and scholarly look at how the media portrayed left-leaning student protest in New York and Washington in the 1960s. The words that the New York Times used to describe the protests were as important as the amount of ink they received. Gitlin demonstrates how the coverage the student protests received in the mainstream media determined how the general public perceived their cause.
Gitlin is an excellent writer and The Whole World is Watching is highly researched and well executed.
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