Split Signals: Television and Politics in the Soviet Union (Communication and Society)

Split Signals: Television and Politics in the Soviet Union (Communication and Society)

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0195063198

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Television has changed drastically in the Soviet Union over the last three decades. In 1960, only five percent of the population had access to TV, but now the viewing population has reached near total saturation. Today's main source of information in the USSR, television has become Mikhail Gorbachev's most powerful instrument for paving the way for major reform.
Containing a wealth of interviews with major Soviet and American media figures and fascinating descriptions of Soviet TV shows, Ellen Mickiewicz's wide-ranging, vividly written volume compares over one hundred hours of Soviet and American television, covering programs broadcast during both the Chernenko and Gorbachev governments. Mickiewicz describes the enormous significance and popularity of news programs and discusses how Soviet journalists work in the United States. Offering a fascinating depiction of the world seen on Soviet TV, she also explores the changes in programming that have occurred as a result of glasnost.

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the West and their own population provide evidence of the strong concern about control and vulnerability so frequently and consistently displayed over the course of Soviet history. We should expect these contradictory tendencies and tensions to accompany any major policy change. Bold moves have been made; more appear to be on the way. But the momentum into a fuzzily defined new freedom can take the process too far, as Pravda learned. In his day, Nikita Khrushchev imposed some far-reaching new

voiceover, that is now seen as inadequate. The story may be generated by the hearing, but the issue as understood by and affecting Americans "out there" can become the subject of the story. This trend has been called "Sauterizing the news," after the former president of CBS News, Van Gordon Sauter, who "came to New York [from a background largely in local television] convinced that the networks were out of touch with the rest of the country, that CBS in particular had to become less

selfabsolving, waffling explanations. The inspector asked where the money for these unsold products had come from. The answer: from "credits." "Credits" were clarified by the inspector to mean the operating funds of the factory, including the wage fund, which was debited to account for the unsold inventory. The managers were sharply asked what they thought the workers were going to say about the fact that their wages were prevented from rising by these faulty managerial practices. The answer:

nature of the story. The balanced story, as Americans understand the term, does not carry the same value for Soviet media people, administrators, and correspondents.17 Then, too, there are stories—usually TASS bulletins—which are simply announced: a meeting of NATO, a bomb explosion in Brussels, an election in Portugal. These stories—the neutral bulletins and the programs in which the newsmakers provide the commentary—are rather different from the one-third of the international stories with

percent. Much of this was related to the activities of the new Soviet leader, whose trips were seen as an important legitimating factor. Second to this subject in total newstime was another that was stunningly increased: operations of Party organizations, which rose from 3 percent of newstime under Chernenko to 16 percent under Gorbachev. As early as the fall of 1985, preparations were being made for the Party Congress the next February. However, the very sharp increase related not only to that

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