The People's Films: A Political History of U.S. Government Motion Pictures

The People's Films: A Political History of U.S. Government Motion Pictures

The People's Films: A Political History of U.S. Government Motion Pictures

The People's Films: A Political History of U.S. Government Motion Pictures

Excerpt

It is regrettable that a few cognoscenti in the realm of communication theory continue to support the notion that what the new sight-sound media contribute to the political process is ephemeral and hence irrelevant, if not downright harmful, to the free society. Those who should know better still maintain that the political effects of film and television communication are less significant than messages transmitted to us by courtesy of Guten berg's invention. Such a narrow view not only suggests ignorance of the central facts of socio-political communication in our time, but of the entire historical evolution of homo communicatus.

In truth, the print-versus-non-print argument no longer has a real point of focus, and is kept alive only in a running dialogue-of-the-deaf between defenders of print vested interests and zealous audio-visual technicians. It is far more sensible simply to recognize that all of man's communications throughout history have been cast within two broad media-systems, the "platform" and the "parchment"--both of which are very much alive and well today.

We must look upon the new media of radio, television and motion pictures as nothing more than extensions of the ancient platform tradition and it is as foolish to deny their impact upon our political institutions today as it is to deny the "influence" of every great political figure in history. Man's political history has been shaped not so much by words on paper as by human personalities in public verbal interaction, and as the extensions of this interaction dominate our experience, so the influence of the parchment tradition must continue to wane.

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