NEWSWATCH by Thomas Griffith: America's Own Cult of Personality

Newswatch/Thomas Griffin

The marketing of personality is changing from a cottage to a growth industry. Johnny, Merv, Mike, Dick and Kup go on forever, with their interchangeable guests. Barbara Walters gives up anchoring for the interviewing she's better at, PEOPLE magazine is a spectacular success.

The trend coincides with a current journalistic emphasis, even in the respectables, on what is interesting, against what is important. (The important may make a comeback in news interest but at the moment lacks either the urgency of danger or the stimulus of hope.) Recognizing this shift, politicians constantly conduct polls about their image and resist...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!