In NBC we trust: The public interest, hegemony, and the "Today"show, 1952-1958
AuthorCallie, Mary Elizabeth
History, United States.
Business Administration, Marketing.
AdvisorMeehan, Eileen R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation considers processes of hegemony, or the construction of consent, in network television marketing practices in the 1950s. Specifically, a case study of the Today show, which premiered in 1952, examines how RCA, and subsidiary network NBC, generated consent for continuing domination of the national television airwaves. In the context of post-World War II concern about the place of the multi-national corporations and the media in American democracy, RCA/NBC constructed its company, programming, and the image of its audience within a nexus of anti-trust, good trust (or legal monopolies/public utilities), and free speech/free press regulations. To understand this regulatory context, the study begins by identifying the deep structural contradictions of liberal democratic capitalism and the political economic conditions which demand that power, privilege, and control be legitimated. These conditions shape rhetorics of common interest through which groups and individuals---empowered by the state with delegated authority---seek to establish and maintain consent. This control is constructed as an exception to the rules of free trade and free speech/press. In the end, the study suggests that processes of hegemony construct market control---and consumer free choice---as natural, preordained, and in the best interests of the public as a whole, while downplaying, denying, or discrediting any other real alternatives or possibilities. The particular findings of this deep historical and case study can inform present day broadcast reform efforts and offer core approaches for re-framing hegemonic corporate rationales.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies