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Sins of omission : shaping the news at CBC TV

Author: Barry Cooper
Publisher: Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Studies over nearly a generation have shown that Canadians receive most of their information about the world from television. Barry Cooper contends that what TV, including TV news, does well is entertain, rather than provide accurate factual information or balanced insight. TV news is produced with great deliberation and technical skill. It has a logic that extends from the camera angles used in recording visual  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Cooper, Barry, 1943-
Sins of omission.
Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, c1994
(OCoLC)624475301
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Barry Cooper
ISBN: 0802005977 9780802005977
OCLC Number: 29028050
Description: xii, 255 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Ch. 1. Observing Television News. 1. Content Analysis and Secondary Orality. 2. Producing News. 3. Agenda Setting. 4. Method and Data --
Ch. 2. Back in the USSR. 5. Visions of Soviet Life. 6. Imperial Headaches --
Ch. 3. New Thinking about the Summit. 7. Media Sherpas. 8. Selling the Cause in Washington. 9. Little Ants in Moscow --
Ch. 4. Into the Dark on Africa. 10. Ethiopia. 11. South Africa. 12. Mozambique --
Ch. 5. Conclusions.
Responsibility: Barry Cooper.

Abstract:

Studies over nearly a generation have shown that Canadians receive most of their information about the world from television. Barry Cooper contends that what TV, including TV news, does well is entertain, rather than provide accurate factual information or balanced insight. TV news is produced with great deliberation and technical skill. It has a logic that extends from the camera angles used in recording visual material to the anchor's carefully crafted script, desk, and lighting. Cooper argues, however, that TV news is consumed like a live performance. The combination of careful and reflective production with careless and unreflective consumption makes it possible for TV news to construct a world that may be unrelated to the common-sense reality of everyday life. And audiences know they have no way of determining whether TV mediation of the real world in a particular instance is trustworthy. Cooper supports his contention that audiences are right in not trusting TV news by focusing on CBC TV coverage of the Soviet Union, the Reagan-Gorbachev summit talks, the Afghanistan war, South Africa, and the wars in Ethiopia and Mozambique, in roughly 250 broadcasts between June 1988 and June 1989. He places the news items in the context of ongoing coverage so that the weave of displacements, omissions, and emphases comes to the foreground in a way it does not for the nightly news watcher, who sees a mosaic of bits and pieces. The larger question, beyond the matter of the stance taken by CBC TV news in these stories, is the place of television in technological societies such as ours. If TV news is encouraging a growing gap between common-sense reality and the second reality produced by TV, then viewers will increasingly distrust both TV and common-sense reality, a consequence that is discouraging for the prospect of responsible participation in society and responsible democratic government. This is a fascinating and provocative analysis of an important topic that so far has received little attention in Canada.

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