Advertising and a democratic press / C. Edwin Baker.Material type: TextPublication details: Princeton, N.J. ; Chichester : Princeton University Press, c1994.ISBN:
- 659.1320973 20
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
Includes bibliographical references.
Ch. I. Advertising: Financial Support and Structural Subversion of a Democratic Press -- Ch. II. Advertising and the Content of a Democratic Press -- Ch. III. Economic Analysis of Advertising's Effect on the Media -- Ch. IV. Policy Proposals -- Ch. V. The Constitutionality of Taxation or Regulation of Advertising.
While often criticized for encouraging a materialistic consumer culture, advertising is commonly assumed to be the financial cornerstone of the inexpensive American newspaper and an essential element for the efficient transmission of information in a democratic society. Instead, in this provocative book, C. Edwin Baker argues that print advertising seriously distorts the flow of news by creating a powerfully corrupting incentive: the more newspapers depend financially on advertising, the more they favor the interests of advertisers over those of readers. Often consumers are willing to pay more for the smaller-circulation competitive paper that strongly presents their favored editorial perspective. But advertising induces newspapers to compete for a maximum audience with blandly "objective" information, resulting in reduced differentiation among papers and the consequent eventual collapse of competition among dailies. The advertising-induced rise of objectivity and the decline of partisanship have also, Baker argues, contributed to the decline in political culture and participation seen throughout this century. Advertisers reward both the print and broadcast media for avoiding offense to potential customers while punishing the media for criticism of the advertisers' products or political agenda. These effects, as well as advertisers' rewarding media for serving primarily higher-income audiences and for creating a "buying mood," raise troubling questions of both direct and indirect censorship. Baker proposes a variety of regulatory responses to promote the press's freedom from advertisers' censorship. In clarifying this murky area of constitutional law, he shows that these reforms are entirely consistent with the best understanding of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.