Darrell West argues against prevailing wisdom that the media has increased in influence in the past decade. Covering over 200 years of American history, beginning in colonial America and ending with the present day, The Rise and Fall of the Media Establishment provides an overview of the media in various key stages of American History, paying particular attention to the rise and fall in influence of the media elite. West organizes the book into five distinct media eras: the Partisan, Commercial, Objective, Interpretive, and Fragmented Media. Each chapter, organized around these media eras, includes case studies that illustrate the theme of that chapter. Ideal for the general reader as well as the academic, The Rise and Fall of the Media Establishment offers an accessible, engaging book with a challenging thesis.
This book's strength lies in its unique blend of historical and political perspectives. West (political science, Brown Univ.), who has authored many books on related topics (e.g., Checkbook Democracy: How Money Corrupts Political Campaigns), details here the growth and development of the media in the United States during the period between 1789 and 2000. Divided into five historical periods of media development (partisan media, commercial media, objective media, interpretive media, and fragmented media), the book is slim in size but surprisingly wide-ranging. West gives a thorough, succinct overview of the topic by providing extensive references and meticulous documentation. In the early chapters, he primarily discusses political relationships, while in the later chapters his discussion expands to include social and economic issues. The last two chapters, which explore the fragmentation of media influence and other issues still to come, are particularly well written. Highly recommended for academic libraries upper-division undergraduates and above. Angela Weiler, SUNY at Morrisville Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.