Williams substitutes a world view for data
I did not know anything about Raymond Williams before I read Television. However, after reading it, I am not surprised to find that Wikipedia calls him a Marxist and "an influential figure within the New Left." The worst part about this book is that it substitutes a world view for data, and so I agree with Neumann's critique. I speculate that Television largely confirmed the views of contemporary and subsequent academics, and therefore became highly popular. But that's really just speculation.
Neumann attacks the lack of focus in Television and he's right. I found myself looking for a real, hard-hitting thesis early in the book. However, I found sections that do not connect to one another. In fact, I think the Preface does the best job of telling the reader what the book is about. In the last chapter, Alternative Technology, Alternative Uses?, Williams finally lets us in on his real motivations for writing Television: "there has never been, and is unlikely to be in the future, a more suitable time for a general reconstruction of communications policies" (p. 153). In the end, Television is a work of media activism, not science.
Williams should have put the last section first, couching his analysis in activist terms. Instead, he drops hints and values commentary on us. For example, talking about a television show he deems an important piece of art, he says, "this new television drama stimulated similar work elsewhere, though in the United States, because of sponsorship difficulties, it was shamefully cut short" (sorry, lost the page). Where does he get off telling us it was "shamefully cut short?" Along those lines, I think Williams clearly wants us to know that he thinks the BBC produces more valuable programming than American television, and that corporate interests have hijacked American TV. He just doesn't want to tell us in one sentence; he would rather take four chapters to do it.
Conservatives and libertarians feel largely unrepresented in academia (and for good reason). Unfortunately, Television just confirms that view.