I grew up on a steady diet of TV and have fond memories of such shows as CHiPs, the A-Team, Miami Vice, Facts of Life, Dukes of Hazzard, Diff’rent Strokes, Family Ties, Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster, Alf, the Cosby Show, BJ and the Bear, and Sheriff Lobo.
As I grew older my TV watching waned considerably, but it wasn’t until 2007 that my family and I completely cut TV out of our life and I haven’t regretted it one iota.
So since my TV watching days were long over, I would never have expected to be interested in or actually read a book about television, let alone one that was over 300 pages in length. But when Ben Shapiro’s book Primetime Propaganda was on sale at last year’s Border’s going out of business sale for a ridiculously low price, I couldn’t pass it up.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at what an engaging and thoroughly researched book it turned out to be. Shaprio has written a definitive work on the history, politics, and propaganda of television. He meticulously examples how so much of what has been broadcast on television leans left–far left–and how that came to be.
Here is Amazon.com’s description of the book:
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 secret political messages. With this groundbreaking exposÉ, readers will never watch television the same way again.
Reading this book solidified for me what I already knew: That programs on television are intentionally liberal with the purpose of changing the hearts and minds of its viewers.
This book also furthered my bewilderment regarding Christians who use this medium as a form of entertainment. It simply boggles my mind at just how many Christians will not only willingly digest the steady stream of messages from television that are deliberately antithetical and hostile to their faith (and allow their children to do so as well), but also how so many Christians will defend and justify their consumption of this trash.
It’s amazing to me that they wouldn’t dare step foot in (and take their kids to) many places in this world because of the sin present there, yet they’re perfectly fine with allowing just about anything and everything the world has to offer to be piped into their home via a television set. What they shun in real life is happily digested as “entertainment” in the comfort of their living room.
I cannot recommend this book enough to those Christians who see little to no problem with regularly setting the images, messages, and “wisdom” of the world before their eyes, ears, heart, and soul through the medium of television. And the author of this book simply can’t be dismissed as a Legalist because he has no affiliation with the Christian faith and did not write the book from a theological point of view.
Shapiro reveals the covert and overt liberal, socialist messages in everything from All in the Family to Sesame Street and will cause you to never watch television the same way again.