That's The Way It Is: A History Of Television News In America

Paperback | September 9, 2016

byCharles L. Ponce De Leon

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When critics decry the current state of our public discourse, one reliably easy target is television news. It’s too dumbed-down, they say; it’s no longer news but entertainment, celebrity-obsessed and vapid.
 
The critics may be right. But, as Charles L. Ponce de Leon explains in That’s the Way It Is, TV news has always walked a fine line between hard news and fluff. The  familiar story of decline fails to acknowledge real changes in the media and Americans’ news-consuming habits, while also harking back to a golden age that, on closer examination, is revealed to be not so  golden after all. Ponce de Leon traces the entire history of televised news, from the household names of the late 1940s and early ’50s, like Eric Sevareid, Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite, through the rise of cable, the political power of Fox News, and the satirical punch of Colbert and Stewart. He shows us an industry forever in transition, where newsmagazines and celebrity profiles vie with political news and serious investigations. The need for ratings success—and the lighter, human interest stories that can help bring it—Ponce de Leon makes clear, has always sat uneasily alongside a real desire to report hard news.
 
Highlighting the contradictions and paradoxes at the heart of TV news, and telling a story rich in familiar figures and fascinating anecdotes, That’s the Way It Is will be the definitive account of how television has showed us our history as it happens.

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When critics decry the current state of our public discourse, one reliably easy target is television news. It’s too dumbed-down, they say; it’s no longer news but entertainment, celebrity-obsessed and vapid.   The critics may be right. But, as Charles L. Ponce de Leon explains in That’s the Way It Is, TV news has always walked a fine l...

Charles L. Ponce de Leon is associate professor of history and American Studies at California State University Long Beach.

other books by Charles L. Ponce De Leon

Self-Exposure: Human-Interest Journalism and the Emergence of Celebrity in America, 1890-1940
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Kobo ebook|Oct 15 2003

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:September 9, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022642152X

ISBN - 13:9780226421520

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments
Prologue
Chapter One: Beginnings
Chapter Two: The Voice of God
Chapter Three: Public Alternatives
Chapter Four: News You Can Use
Chapter Five: Rebirth
Chapter Six: The New Entertainment
Chapter Seven: Fade to Black
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Charles Ponce de Leon has written a brisk and informative history of television news since its inception in the late 1940s, covering the more than six decades of TV news from Douglas Edwards to Diane Sawyer, from the Camel News Caravan to Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The narrative moves quickly, yet pauses to offer extended discussions of such topics as the genesis of PBS, the establishment of CNN, the innovations of Roone Arledge at ABC, and the ways that local news helped to reshape the network evening newscasts."