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Curriculum Studies

Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson

The Story So Far

In America it is obvious that the ‘story’ is being employed specifically to close off sustained political and cultural analysis. John Simpson (1992) recently wrote about ‘the closing of the American media’. In this closure, the ‘story’ took pride of place in cutting America off from international news and political analysis. Simpson analyzed the CBS news.

After reports on drought in the western United States and the day's domestic political news, the rest of CBS's news broadcast was devoted to a regular feature, `Eye on America'. This evening's item was about a man who was cycling across America with his son, a sufferer from cerebral palsy. It was designed to leave you with a warm feeling, and lasted for 3 minutes, 58 seconds; longer than the time devoted that night to the whole of the rest of the world.
It is no surprise that soon there will almost certainly be no American television network correspondent based anywhere in the southern hemisphere. Goodbye Africa; goodbye most of Asia; goodbye Latin America (p. 9).

As you would expect from a Briton, Simpson concludes that the only repository of serious cultural analysis is on British television which as we have seen, is being re-structured according to American imperatives. The circle in short, is closed:

The sound of an Englishman being superior about America is rarely uplifting; but in this case the complaints come most fiercely from the people who work for American television themselves. They know how steep the decline has been, and why it has happened. All three networks have been brought up by giant corporations which appear to regard news and current affairs as branches of the entertainment industry, and insist they have to pay their way with advertisers just as chat-shows and sit coms do. Advertisers are not good people for a news organization to rely on: during the Gulf war NBC lost $25 million in revenue because companies which had bought space in the news bulletins cancelled their advertisements — they were afraid their products would appear alongside reports of American casualties.
The decline of the networks is depressing. CBS is one of the grandest names in journalism, the high-minded organisation which broadcast Ed Murrow's wartime despatches from London and Walter Cronkite's influential verdicts on the Vietnam war and Watergate. NBC's record is a proud one too. Recently it announced it was back in the news business and would stop broadcasting stories that were simply features. But NBC News seems very close to the rocks nowadays, and it does not have the money to send its teams abroad in the way it did until a couple of years ago. The foreign coverage will mostly be based on pictures from the British television news agency Visnews, and from the BBC (Simpson 1992, p. 9).
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  • Date of publication: 15/09/2005
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 272
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Learning, Curriculum and Life Politics: the selected works of Ivor F. Goodson
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £27.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-35220-8
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