Split Signals: Television and Politics in the Soviet Union (Communication and Society)
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Television has changed drastically in the Soviet Union over the last three decades. In 1960, only five percent of the population had access to TV, but now the viewing population has reached near total saturation. Today's main source of information in the USSR, television has become Mikhail Gorbachev's most powerful instrument for paving the way for major reform.
Containing a wealth of interviews with major Soviet and American media figures and fascinating descriptions of Soviet TV shows, Ellen Mickiewicz's wide-ranging, vividly written volume compares over one hundred hours of Soviet and American television, covering programs broadcast during both the Chernenko and Gorbachev governments. Mickiewicz describes the enormous significance and popularity of news programs and discusses how Soviet journalists work in the United States. Offering a fascinating depiction of the world seen on Soviet TV, she also explores the changes in programming that have occurred as a result of glasnost.
absent from the Soviet version. For example, there was a lengthy accusation from a man in the Leningrad studio to the effect that the United States was threatening the Soviet Union with its missiles in West Germany. The equally strong American response charged the Soviets with an unwarranted military build-up that took place at a time when an American administration was not initiating arms challenges. The exchange was missing. An American in military uniform is shown briefly on the Soviet edit
which educate for hatred and war. He asks the question that Pozner asked of the British schoolchildren and the New York Times correspondent: Who profits from this? A soft-spoken man in the American audience replies that it is to everyone's profit to have differing points of view and then goes on to say that the Soviet audience acts as though its government is always right, drawing an analogy to the Germans' thinking Hitler was always right. This American response was reproduced on the Soviet
United Nations has become a problem in international relations: the balance of voting and alignments has swung drastically away from the preferences of the Western founders, as the world has changed and new nations have entered. Majority policies of the United Nations have increasingly diverged from policy objectives of the United States, whose leaving UNESCO was only part of a larger dissatisfaction. In fact, as a United States Mission report concludes, most of the world voted against the United
illegally arranging paid shows, and "video speculation."39 In far-away Tashkent, in Soviet Central Asia, Bruce Lee films were being illegally shown by a man who went from village to village charging three-ruble admission fees to audiences of fifteen men. In addition to the flying fists, they showed what the court judged to be pornography. One and a half years in prison was the sentence. The illegal VCR operations can sometimes be very ambitious: a man tried in Moscow advertised, distributed, and
the ratio of capacity to payload very small by the standards of Intelsat, the Western communications satellite system, and the life of the Soviet satellites relatively short. But the design, whatever its efficiency in technical terms, was chosen, he believes, to maximize the political objectives of the regime: the saturation of the entire population by centralized broadcasting.45 The satellites also serve the Socialist international communica- Television in the Soviet Media System 15 tions