The moment of broadcast television that I examine in this book-an institutional and presentational crisis fueled by the emergence of cable-then, also roughly fits within another historical trough, one formed by the mass-market cloning of the avant-garde in 1980 and the reemergence of an activist small-format camcorder revolution at the end of the Reagan-Bush-Gates era in the early 1990s.
Note: Era
As long as journalists conceive of the world (or posture it for self-serving reasons) as a collection of inert facts bound to confuse the citizenry and see television's task as collecting, selecting, and mustering information in the name of truth, then journalism constructs for itself on television a heightened and privileged place.
Note: Caldwell, 1995. On supremacy of words over pictures
an interlocutor inserted between dead data and the audience at home, broadcast journalism frequently becomes a kind of performance art, a showy marshaling of facticity. Gone is any sense of the world as a semiotic process or as an experience or phenomenon accessible to common viewers. In its place culture has constructed a publicly sanctioned cadre of professionals, uniquely trained and sensitive to the overwhelming nuances of facts. Meaning, we are encouraged to believe, can only result from journalistic discourse and argument-that is, from the verbal mediation of static facts, not from the world...
Note: "The cult of professionalism". Caldwell, Televisuality, 1995
The American people, we are lead to believe, are actually adversaries, the "lowest common denominator" that threatens television's cult of delegation. Whether or not this was arrogance or simply insecurity, such rhetoric suggests that there is a fundamental crisis in the field.
Note: Broadcast TV's crisis bore similar sentiments in the 90's as prof.journalism vs. Web debate today