The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left, With a New Preface First Edition, With a New Preface
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"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." --
From the Inside Flap
No phenomenon in American life cries out for examination more than the impact of the news media on persons, movements, and events. One need not accept all of Gitlin's provocative conclusions to praise the exacting scholarship that has gone into this study of what happens to an anti-establishment movement performing on an establishment stage.--Daniel Schorr, commentator, National Public Radio
An enormously useful book. . . . Gitlin writes about the way news organizations, as the category implies, 'organize' the news world, both for practitioners--reporters, editors, and managers--and for the consumers--readers, viewers, and perhaps even more important, decision-makers.--Frank Mankiewicz, Washington Journalism Review
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.--Gaye Tuchman, In These Times
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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. This treatment is particularly important in relation to SDS because it contributed to its downfall. Gitlin shows how SDS's schizophrenic attitudes toward leadership (where organization was needed and advocated by some but opposed by those who hated hierarchy) allowed the media to create harmful divisions. The media tends to profile only the people who are photogenic or those who make good copy. Unfortunately for SDS, these were usually not the best qualified or most stable people. Those that got the attention parlayed their success into monetary gains, alienating other people in the organization. Mark Rudd comes to mind as one who best personifies this problem. Rudd, who sported a comb over that would make Senator Carl Levin jealous, went on to fame and glory with the Weatherman organization. His claims to media celebrity went so deep that when he turned himself in to the authorities in 1977, reporters turned out in droves for what turned out to be a non-event. What is important here is that the media concentrate on image over substance. This can be very harmful to an organization with serious issues to debate.
Gitlin ends his dissertation with a critique of the sources he used for his research. Gitlin was only able to peruse the CBS archives, as ABC didn't have any and NBC wouldn't let him look at theirs. The other main media source for the dissertation was the New York Times. Despite the limited scope of his sources, I think Gitlin has gone a long way towards exposing the hypocrisy any right thinking person knows exists in our media systems. Gitlin even goes so far as to imply that the 1968 Democratic Convention fiasco in Chicago was a media creation. For anyone interested in media studies, this book is a must have.
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.
As far as David Crosby and drugs...It's a well known fact that pot and LSD were used for years without problems. The CIA experimented with them to use them for truth-getting and mind control but failed. At the time, they were not illegal. The hippies used and abused them for creativity enhancement and mind expansion which the establishment hated. They didn't want free-thinkers to challange them or change the status quo. SO they funded the importation of heroin and cocaine, which eventually many counter-culture movement leaders began to use and OF COURSE it destroyed them. That was the plan. The whole movement fell apart. The leaders were so messed up that they became ineffective and irrelevant and some of them went to jail. How many FBI and CIA went to jail for bringing those drugs in though?? Exactly none. Mad yet? The media today is mostly if not entirely controlled by the neocon establishment and their supporters and benefactors. There is no such thing as a liberal media---then or now. Back then, they just reported BOTH sides and were fair and the establishment decided that was not good so they have since established control over the news and to some extent even what we see as entertainment.