Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America

Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2019. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9781631494420. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631494437. SOC SCI
Chief television critic Poniewozik turns his eye to an exploration of Donald Trump’s symbiotic relationship with television, including how it became an essential part of his career. The book mimics television—organized into three parts divided into episodes with Trump as the main character. Documenting the fragmentation of the media during Trump’s coming-of-age, Poniewozik shows how central TV was to the president’s life, and how he’s used it to brand and develop his political career. The author further argues that reality television blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction and claims that the reality show The Apprentice influenced Trump’s sense of reality, which in turn shaped his campaign and presidency and how the media could not resist covering him.
VERDICT Poniewozik’s well-argued work advances the investigations in Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death and is an important reminder of the media’s influence on society.
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