A Look at the Final Chapter of Timothy Glander’s Book, Origins of Mass Communications Research During the American Cold War: Educational Effects and C

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The final chapter of Timothy Glander’s book, Origins of Mass Communications Research During the American Cold War: Educational Effects and Contemporary Implications (2000) stands as a disappointing example of academic research becoming hijacked by the author’s personal opinion. Focusing on the hidden nature of propaganda in American life, his concluding chapter presents a very drastic view of the individuals who crafted the academic subject now known as mass communications. I see the need for investigating the status quo, for digging into the motivations behind the images and data churned out in the mass media, and for questioning the trivia facts that become common knowledge. For that reason, I am wary of completely discrediting the …show more content…

Circling any solid thesis, he claims that generations of Americans have been brainwashed by mass communications, ruining any “genuine community life” (2000, p. 214), a vague picture of the pre-Cold War era that never becomes defined. The Cold War era may have featured significant changes in the way American communities functioned, but summoning up a sitcom image instead of genuine examples to support one of his key arguments simply weakens his case. His one clearly stated goal is to revive the association of the phrase “mass communications” with the word “propaganda” – a word that appears thirty times in these fourteen pages.

Making the unfortunate choice of attempting to eliminate detractors of his claim without addressing their concerns, Glander frames them as being lost in the propaganda of their time. His claim, “people still remain largely unable to…understand the powerful ways in which [television] is used to shape and control their thinking” (2000, p. 207) means every generation since the Cold War is so permeated by mass communications that they are now incapable of external analysis. Using this logic, critics of his argument are brainwashed by this new establishment, a victim of social control that they cannot see or change, leaving us in a vicious circle at the mercy of the media.

Two accompanying book reviews echo my concerns with this logic. Found in History of Education Quarterly (2001) and

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