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Slide 11 of 16

Most of our intellectual products today (TV shows, radio, magazines) exist primarily as vehicles for targetted advertising. They serve their advertisers first, the information function is second.

Once you accept advertising you cannot have a truly neutral position on content. Advertisers are very clear that they don't want their products associated with anything unpleasant or that can be perceived as improper. Just a few weeks ago the movie Schindler's List was broadcast on television unbroken by advertising, and the sponsor was considered very sensitive for making this sacrifice. In the early 1980's a program about the holocaust was broadcast on television and it did include advertising breaks. But viewers were very upset by the leap from the very emotional content of the program to cheery ads in lovely settings, and there was quite an outcry. The fact is that any advertising looks bad next to certain content. In most cases, it means that that content can't be shown.

The library is the only source of information that is neutral about the content. We have no stake in getting our patrons to choose one book over another.