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Well Researched Examination of the Progessive Left Turn of Television

  • Mar 17, 2012
If you don't live in New York or L.A., then you've been aware for years that there is a left-wing bias in television programming. There is a ton of anecdotal evidence and there have been several surveys completed to support this claim. Despite this, most of the spokespeople for the television networks and cable channels as well as most producers and content creators claim that no such bias exists. The few times that a person in position of power within the television industry does admit that there is such a bias, it is followed by statements such as, "But it must not be too much of an issue because people on the right still watch" and "If you don't like what's on, just change the channel or turn the tv off." Besides the general fallacy of what's in those statements, even when people make an issue and/or don't watch tv or change the channel when biased programming is on, it only makes a slight impact because television is so prevalent. To completely avoid television in the United States requires a complete lifestyle switch because even if you don't own a tv, television programming shows up on the Internet, on the radio, in newspapers, on billboards and advertising, and even at the movie theatre. It's extremely hard to avoid.

Ben Shapiro noticed this liberal bias, too, and decided to write a book about it. However, unlike many other books on the subject, Shapiro went straight to the sources. He met with and interviewed countless Hollywood executives and producers and gained their personal accounts and testimonies of how the tv business is biased to a progressive point of view. Not only that, but the vast amount of people that Shapiro talked to in writing this book is unprecedented. The people he interviewed range from those who were there and helped shape the early days of television to current tv executives and people from every era in between. Most of the people were quite candid with Shapiro and what they reveal says a great deal about the industry as a whole.

The book gives a detailed history of television from the very early days after WWII until the present. Some of the topics explored include how the networks gradually changed from producing content that appealed to the largest number of people to producing content for a small minority, why the network programming seems to have stagnated, the relationship between government and the television industry, programming aimed at children that's really intended as brainwashing, and how the industry is currently in a state of chaos because of the "new media".

I've been aware of the bias in tv programming since the late 1980s when networks virtually stopped producing most family-oriented material and instead began producing material that appealed to only a small segment of the population. However, I was unaware of exactly how far back and how deep the progressive influence upon the medium of television has been. For instance, take the show HAPPY DAYS. Until Fonzie jumped the shark and the show went kind of crazy, that show was wholesome, humorous family entertainment that often included an uplifting message. However, one of the creators of the show talks about how he tried to incorporate anti-Vietnam messages into some of the stories.

Personally, the thing I found most interesting about Shapiro's research is how advertising executives convinced television creators and executives that it would be more beneficial to their bottom line if they marketed their shows to the "youth market": the 18-35 year-old market. Even though study after study has shown and illustrated that the older viewership, 35 year-olds and up, spend more money than the younger viewership, there are countless broadcast shows that continue marketing to younger viewers, often at the loss of the older viewership. There have been many instances where a show was hugely successful and near the top of the ratings only to be cancelled because it didn't appeal to the "lucrative" younger market. PRIMETIME PROPAGANDA gives a detailed explanation of how advertisers deceived programmers to begin producing content that was specifically aimed at a younger market.

I enjoyed PRIMETIME PROPAGANDA and found it to be a great non-fiction read. Some people will find fault with the book because there is so much evidence within it that they might feel like the message is being repeated one too many times. Personally, I liked all the interviews. It really puts things into perspective. Also, although Shapiro's writing style is somewhat academic, it's not dry and dull. Instead, he presents his case in a narrative format that makes PRIMETIME PROPAGANDA read more like a story instead of an academic paper.

Lastly, the book also offers possible solutions to the problem and what conservatives working in a progressive environment can do to bring about balance in television.

Highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in television or entertainment in general.

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review by . September 19, 2011
The topic of the news media left-wing bias has been by now been explored ad nauseam in various reports, articles, opinion pieces, and books. Unfortunately most of the left-leaning public is still in denial over this fact, so there will probably be no end in sight exploring this matter. Most people are also somewhat aware of the left-wing bias in the scripted TV, but this issue has been decidedly less explored. When pressed they would not be able to clearly articulate many of the root ideological …
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The inside story of how the most powerful medium of mass communication in human history has become a propaganda tool for the Left

Primetime Propaganda is the story—told in their own words—of how television has been used over the past sixty years by Hollywood writers, producers, actors, and executives to promote their liberal ideals, to push the envelope on social and political issues, and to shape America in their own leftist image.

In this thoroughly researched and detailed history of the television industry, conservative columnist and author Ben Shapiro argues that left-leaning entertainment kingpins in Los Angeles and New York have leveraged—and continue to use—their positions and power to push liberal messages and promote the Democratic Party while actively discriminating against their opponents on the right. According to Shapiro, television isn't just about entertainment—it's an attempt to convince Americans that the social, economic, and foreign policy shaped by leftism is morally righteous.

But don't take his word for it. Shapiro interviewed more than one hundred of the industry's biggest players, including Larry Gelbart (M*A*S*H), Fred Silverman (former president of ABC Entertainment, NBC, and vice president of programming at CBS), Marta Kauffman (Friends), David Shore (House), and Mark Burnett (Survivor). Many of these insiders boast that not only is Hollywood biased against conservatives, but that many of the shows being broadcast have ...

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