The Pequod Review:
Erik Barnouw (1908-2001) was an accomplished historian of US broadcasting — he wrote what is widely regarded to be an excellent three-volume History of Broadcasting in the US — and the strongest part of his book The Sponsor is the first third, which covers the evolution of modern advertising. Unfortunately, the last two-thirds of book — which explores the impact of advertising on TV programming and broader society — is anecdotal and agenda-driven, and full of poorly-considered arguments like this one: "For tax purposes the cost of making and showing commercials is generally deducted as a business cost — which means that the citizen is in effect subsidizing much of the barrage of argumentation aimed at him." By this logic, the US government subsidizes all economic activity. Or does Barrow propose we tax revenues instead of profits? Either way, he clearly hasn't thought this through.