Artifact Politics-Television

The television has been around the world for many decades now. Its basic creation purpose was to transmit video and sound to viewers. While its importance and usefulness may be debated, how much it  is used and how popular it is surely cannot. It seems that everybody has a television in this day and age. In fact, the average number of TV sets in U.S. households is an astonishing 2.24, according to a study by California State University. It’s impossible to believe that with this much popularity, it doesn’t have an impact on people. But how exactly does it impact us?

The television allows people to watch a large variety of channels. Categorical examples of channels include TV shows, News, Sports, and many others. There are so many choices of things to watch that people could sit by all day and not get bored, which many people actually do. Besides the simple fact that this isn’t physically healthy, it also has the possibility to alter mental states.

Television is a political form of communication, and it’s very simple to see how. However, some people may not understand it, as they don’t think about technology in political forms. They see a television, sit down, and simply turn the channel to watch what they are in the mood for. In this way, the television takes political form, as everybody can choose what he or she wants to watch and obviously nobody has to watch TV. In this way TV may be seen as politically democratic.

While people may see TV in a democratic form on their end, because they have the power to watch whatever they want, this isn’t truly the case. Television takes an authoritarian form in many ways. While the viewer can choose what channel they want to watch, they obviously don’t know the exact content that they will see, as this is all done on the side of the creator. Therefore, the creator has all the ability to impact the viewer. This should be seen as authoritarian, because the creator of a channel or network has all say in the impact they have on their viewers. No matter what channel it is, many people will be watching, meaning at all times there is an authoritarian form of control occurring.

There is a cycle of political impact occurring with a television, which will be exemplified through the following. Somebody goes to turn on the television, they scroll through until they see something interesting on the news. The news channel was created by a network, and this network often may try to get some sort of viewpoint across. Through this viewpoint, a network can impact viewers. This is the basic structure of political impact that a television may have.

While it seems that all of these impacts may be bad, it is not necessarily true. Through this authoritarian form, the television can do many things. Often, it is used just to enforce the feelings a viewer may have, instead of change them. Also, because all of the viewers have a choice of what to watch, they have the chance to detect what may be deceptive or dishonest, and watch accordingly or change the channel. The television is a political form of technology which has had many positive and negative effects on viewers.

Footnotes:

“Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture.” Television and Politics. <http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/hope-for-america/television-and-politics.html&gt;.

“Television Statistics.” <http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html&gt;.

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3 thoughts on “Artifact Politics-Television”

  1. I would agree that the television has taken both a democratic and authoritarian role throughout its existence. Watching TV is such a common activity in today’s society that most people don’t even stop to think about what they are watching and how it is affecting them. Additionally, I think TV has become increasingly authoritarian because it allows us to see and understand what is happening around the world, through news shows and other programs. This has created almost a necessity to watch TV, in order to be sufficiently updated on breaking news. Avoiding TV, and not substituting with other forms of news, could leave you with no awareness of what is going on in the world.

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  2. I like the fact that you argued the television has taken both an authoritarian and democratic role in our society. We can choose what we want to watch, but those programs and the times they are shown at are selected by a minority of people. I think that something like Netflix, where you can watch however much of a show, whenever you want, is far more democratic. Perhaps that is why people seem to enjoy it so much more.

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  3. I like how you point out that while watching television has potential positive effects such as a more educated public, too much of it can also be hazardous. Also, you pointed out how because it reaches such a large population of people, it opens the door for possible manipulation.

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