American Protestants and TV in the 1950s: Responses to a New by Michele Rosenthal

By Michele Rosenthal

Whereas tv this present day is taken without any consideration, american citizens within the Nineteen Fifties confronted the problem of negotiating the hot medium's position in the house and in American tradition often. Protestant leaders--both mainstream and evangelical--began to think twice approximately what tv intended for his or her groups and its strength effect on their paintings. utilizing the yankee Protestant event of the creation of tv, Rosenthal illustrates the significance of the interaction among a brand new medium and its clients in a fascinating publication appropriate for normal readers and scholars alike.

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The case studies below document this process, comparing how different groups of users and nonusers approached this new medium, and the possible consequences of these approaches. ”: The Liberal Protestant Critique of Television In May 1960, Elvis Presley, newly released from the army, appeared on television. ” Even worse, this performance had earned Elvis a whopping US$125,000, a sum that could have been spent on the yearly salaries of twenty-five teachers or forty-two ministers, or sixtythree farm hands.

29 and Film Commission with the networks during this time were generally not reviewed in The Christian Century. 44 In the eyes of the editors, TV’s potential contribution (however limited) lay in the realms of politics and education (and notably not entertainment). Observing Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s 1950 political campaign, the editors were hopeful that television could bring the “town-meeting” to America’s living rooms. These fleeting hopes that the TV could create a new public sphere or that the TV could act as an alternative educator in remote areas were soon dashed.

Religious leaders have tended to speak this mixed language as well. 29 In addition to editorials, The Christian Century also published articles by guest writers about television, particularly religious television. Both the editorials and articles by guest writers concerning television were equally ambivalent about the potential affects of this new medium on the audience. ”30 Advertising strategies were considered to provide a potential model for religious broadcasting. “Television missionaries,” argued J.

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