Book Review: “Audience of One” by James Poniewozik

audience of oneWhatever you may think of Donald Trump, there’s little arguing with the fact that TV played a major role in propelling him into the White House. While he was no stranger to television by then, from the moment he descended the escalator in Trump Tower and announced his candidacy, he received near-constant coverage. And that was before anyone even began taking his chances of winning seriously. In this book, James Poniewozik, the chief television critic for the New York Times, not only shows just how well President Trump used TV to keep both himself and his message out there, but also discusses the history of the medium and how the brash, loud, anti-hero-friendly, and increasingly fractured landscape that it has become helped to shape his views and campaign. It’s interesting to hear the story of how our popular culture has evolved over the decades via the shows that helped define the different eras, and Mr. Poniewozik makes some compelling arguments for how this evolution has gotten us and Mr. Trump to where we are today. Given his area of expertise, the book does feel a little myopic, and a few repetitive moments also suggest it could have been a bit shorter. Still, while other factors were certainly involved, Audience of One makes a strong case for the outsized role played by our current mass media. ★★★★ – Sean Farrell

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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