A Look at the Final Chapter of Timothy Glander’s Book, Origins of Mass Communications Research During the American Cold War: Educational Effects and C

A Look at the Final Chapter of Timothy Glander’s Book, Origins of Mass Communications Research During the American Cold War: Educational Effects and C

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The final chapter of Timothy Glander’s book, Origins of Mass Communications Research During the American Cold War: Educational Effects and Contemporary Implications (2000) stands as a disappointing example of academic research becoming hijacked by the author’s personal opinion. Focusing on the hidden nature of propaganda in American life, his concluding chapter presents a very drastic view of the individuals who crafted the academic subject now known as mass communications. I see the need for investigating the status quo, for digging into the motivations behind the images and data churned out in the mass media, and for questioning the trivia facts that become common knowledge. For that reason, I am wary of completely discrediting the conclusion of Glander’s book, a feeling voiced by reviewers in History of Education Quarterly and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. However, the truth is never black and white, never only good and evil, yet Glander’s final chapter seems based on exactly this Shakespearean premise.

His conclusion creates a world where a cabal of geniuses, collected from around the globe during World War II, join together with the American government to continue wartime propaganda’s work of controlling an unsuspecting populace. An author could occasionally push logic to an extreme wing as a devil’s advocate and with full disclosure. But by positioning himself as a conspiracy theorist instead of a skeptical yet credible source, Glander’s argument becomes too extreme to even grant this leniency. His running theme of the “multiply deceptive ways mass communications research has been used to sustain a dominant view” (2000, p. 211), asserted with no counter-argument, leaves the piece unable to be called a researc...


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...mmunications’ academic founders, but they become undercut by his aversion to offering a counter viewpoint. The two book reviews agree that this creates a lack of credibility and ultimately moves the book away from scholarly work and into an opinion piece. Glander sadly wastes a promising opportunity for critical examination of propaganda’s role in education and mass communications.


Works Cited

Cravens, H. (2001). [Review of Glander's Origins of mass communications research...]
History of Education Quarterly, 41(2), 292-294.
Danielson, W. (2000). [Review of Glander's Origins of mass communications
research...] Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 77(2), 433-434.
Glander, T. (2000). Origins of mass communications research during the american cold
war: Educational effects and contemporary implications. Mahwah, New Jersey:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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