24/7 Politics: Cable Television and the Fragmenting of America from Watergate to Fox News

Princeton Univ. Aug. 2023. 424p. ISBN 9780691246666. $35. POL SCI
Brownell (history, Purdue Univ.; Showbiz Politics) chronicles the rise of cable TV and its impact on U.S. politics. Her book presents useful background on the role of television in politics in the 1950s and early 1960s, with a close look at Pat Weaver’s early “pay tv” alternative to free television. However, it wasn’t until Richard Nixon embraced cable TV as a weapon to use against network television that the industry took off. Nixon established the Office of Telecommunications Policy in 1970 to encourage more choices in political broadcasting. By 1980, new networks C-SPAN and Cable News Network (CNN) became important political tools used by Democrats and Republicans. This book examines legislative attempts to regulate the cable industry, which culminated in the Cable Communications Act of 1984. The appeal to cable audiences became critical in presidential campaigns, and Brownessl briefly discusses how Fox News propelled Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. Brownell made extensive use of the C-SPAN Video Library and resources at the Cable Center, which are reflected in the nearly 60 pages of notes.
VERDICT An important work of political and media history for readers who want to understand the evolution of the current polarized political environment.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing