“I watch whatever is on TV.”

January 16, 2012 | By | Reply More

I recently overhead a conversation between two women who were discussing television shows.   After discussing the particular shows they watched each night of the week, one of them blurted out: “Actually, I watch whatever is on.”

This attitude concerns me because it risks handing marketers and content providers the keys to one’s brain. To the extent that we indiscriminately allow our televisions to stream programing into our homes un-self-critically, the television view of the world risks becoming our view of the world.  A salient example these days is that millions of Americans believe that the United States is under constant serious attack by Middle East “terrorists” who have the capacity and desire to destroy America.   A constant stream of television programming, including “news” reports, warns us of these “terrorists” without any indication of who these “terrorists” are.  The end result is a national nightmare, not a reality, that massively skews our priorities and budgets.

As long as the media providers are a diverse group and as long as they vigorously question both the conventional national wisdom and our political leaders, it wouldn’t be a terrible strategy to “watch whatever is on.” That’s not the type of programming that is typically offered, however, and that is the reason for the existence of Free Press. I just happened to receive this save the date card for the next national conference for media reform (April 5-7, 2013 in Denver Colorado), and the message on the front of the card is apropos:

The above short message recognizes three critically important ideas:  A) the power of the media, B) the danger of a captured media and C) the opportunity we could have if only our media seriously accepted its responsibilities, as envisioned by the founding fathers:  Speaking truth to power.

It’s amazing what passes for “news” these days. There are many good reasons to make sure that our televisions are turned off unless we are consciously seeking particular programming.

For more information on the work done by Free Press, search this site for posts from prior media reform conferences, and be careful that you don’t slip into watching “whatever is on” TV.


Category: Journalism, Media

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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