, Research Paper
What role does television play in society?
For decades we have seen many parts of our world rapidly going through changes in technology. Today’s society has been transformed by means of communication and the available information through mass media. Most Americans rely on television for news, sports, and entertainment. Television is just one of the many examples of how technology has changed our lives. Since the invention of the television in the early 1900’s, it has played a very important role in our lives.
Having a television set in the home has become very essential in today’s society. We depend on it to entertain us with its sitcoms and to inform us about current world issues. The problem is that sometimes what we hear or see on television is not always accurate or correct. Sometimes news stories give us the wrong information and we believe that it is true because it is being said on television. They may give you a story, but they may leave out some details to prove their point or to make the story more interesting. According to Neil Postman in “Future Shlock,” “…Americans are among the most ill-informed people in the world” (676). He goes on to say that “Television, in other words, is not the great information machine. It is the great disinformation machine” (677). I agree with his statements because TV tends to mislead us with its stories. I also believe he says that we are “among the most ill-informed people” because we tend to want to watch the entertainment shows and not tune it to the news broadcasts so we are not informed about what is going on in our world. We complain that there aren’t enough intelligent people in the world and yet we are being misinformed by what is supposed to be our main source of information.
Another way television misleads its viewers is by the way that they present candidates for an election of politicians. They spend all their time and money trying to put together a commercial that only puts down the other candidate. How are voters supposed to know whom to vote for if all they are presented with is negative ideas about each candidate?
Television also tries to persuade us to vote for a certain proposition. Voters are also lured into voting for or against a proposition by listening to the music being played in the background of the commercial. An example of this type of situation may be the campaign on proposition 5 dealing with the Indian Casinos. They play sad, and convincing, music in the background of their commercial so the viewers can soften their hearts and vote “yes” on their proposition.
Television is powerful enough to make our shopping easier. Actually, it is making us lazier. TV shows such as the Home Shopping Network make shopping as easy as dialing some numbers on a touch tone phone.
People are also convinced to buy a certain product because a celebrity is presenting it. For example: if supermodel Cindy Crawford presents make-up, ladies will buy it and wear it because they believe that it will make them look like her.
As a television viewer myself, I believe that television has us all trapped in a world where we believe everything that is being said. As technology keeps advancing there will be less tasks for us to do. Television is one of the many advances in technology that has made our lives easier, or should I say it has made us lazier? Whether that is good or bad, I don’t know, but what I do know is that technology is robbing us of our ability to think for ourselves.