Beyond Bias: Conservative Media, Documentary Form, and the Politics of Hysteria

ISBN : 9780197551226

Scott Krzych
272 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Mar 2021
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Beyond Bias offers the first scholarly study of contemporary right-wing documentary film and video. Drawing from contemporary work in political theory and psychoanalytic theory, the book identifies what author Scott Krzych describes as the hysterical discourse prolific in conservative documentary in particular, and right-wing media more generally. In its hysterical mode, conservative media emphasizes form over content, relies on the spectacle of debate to avoid substantive dialogue, mimics the aesthetic devices of its opponents, reduces complex political issues to moral dichotomies, and relies on excessive displays of opinion to produce so much mediated "noise" as to drown out alternative perspectives or viewpoints. Though often derided for its reliance on nonsense or hyperbole, conservative media marshals incoherence as its prized aesthetic and rhetorical weapon, a means to bolster the political status quo precisely by confusing those audiences who come into its orbit. As a work of documentary studies, Beyond Bias also places conservative non-fiction films in conversation with their more conventional counterparts, drawing insight from the manner by which conservative media hystericizes such issues as the archive, observational methods, directorial participation, and the often moral imperatives by which documentary filmmakers attempt to offer insight into their subjects.


Democracy, Media, Psychoanalysis
Political Hysteria and the Traumatic Insights of Conservative Media
Chapter 1
Documentary Form, Hysterical Biases, and Democratic Representation
Politics, Documentary Form, and Hysterical Discourse
Chapter 2
Biased Beliefs: Common Sense, Political Disagreement, and Fundamentalism in Religious Documentaries
Chapter 3
The Price of Participation: Representative Examples, Reactionary Rebuttals, and Other Documentary Pedagogies
Chapter 4
Observing the Presidency: Privacy, Publicity, and Interesting Economies of Attention
Chapter 5
Stockpiled Arguments: Archives of Difference and Paradigmatic Politics,
Post-Truth and Other Biases

About the author: 

Scott Krzych teaches Film and Media Studies at Colorado College. His teaching and research focuses on political media, documentary, psychoanalytic theory, and film-philosophy.

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