Broadcast media, including over-the-air radio and television, have been the primary drivers of consumer culture in the United States, and, increasingly, since the latter part of the twentieth century, across much of the world. Broadcast television in particular is the most powerful vehicle that drives consumer culture for three reasons. First, among all mass media, broadcast television reaches and is used by the greatest number of people. It can in fact be argued to be the most “massive” of all mass media. Second, one of the factors that accounts for this widespread use is ease of use. We are able to watch television (and listen to radio) on a continuum from absolute passivity to absolute engagement, but always take in some measure of information as ...

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