Does TV Affect People's Behavior? - Island of Sanity

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Does TV Affect People's Behavior?

Did you ever see a TV commercial that left you wondering just what these people are trying to sell? I saw an ad yesterday that was a little mini-drama about a man who is arrested for selling some gadget that people use to steal cable TV service. It ends with the prosecutor offering to make a deal if he will reveal the names of all his customers. At first glance, this would seem to be a public service spot warning people that stealing cable TV service is not only morally wrong but could also get them into legal trouble. But then I noticed that it was put on by a TV industry trade group. These are the people who have been patiently explaining to us for decades that what people see on TV does not affect their behavior, and showing us all sorts of scientific studies that prove it. They broadcast hour after hour of programming that routinely presents cheap sex as fun and liberating and having no consequences, violence as fun and exciting and the victims as faceless non-entities, criminals as heroes fighting a corrupt establishment, unruly kids as sources of wisdom whose only need is to be freed from their stupid elders, anyone who talks about God as either a hypocrite or a dangerous maniac, anyone trying to run a business as an exploiter of the poor and a despoiler of the environment ... But none of this matters, because what people see on television does not affect their behavior. Surely they do not think that people are unaffected by a 60 minute program, but will change their lives because of a 60 second commercial. So ... why did they put on this public service spot? They know that it will not change anyone's behavior. They've explained that to us.

© 2002 by Jay Johansen


Lexi May 19, 2014

I am doing a report on this topic, and looking for a reliable source that is not biased. However, this includes the word 'I' making it biased. This also includes opinion: "But none of this matters..." Just friendly feedback! :)

Jay Johansen May 20, 2014

Hmm, I don't see how any statement that includes the word "I" is automatically biased. If I say, "I was born in New York", that includes the word "I", but it's a plain statement of fact. I don't see how you could say it's biased in any way. But in any case, this article is commentary. It is unabashedly an expression of my opinion. If you took out the opinion, there would be nothing left.

Paul Jul 23, 2014

I was gna buy a specialised bike with skininer tires. But it was soo shiiny, I figured it was more likely to get nicked. I hope you don't lock that badboy anywhere public the same place regularly, or anywhere for over about 2hours!And please tell me you have it data tagged, have the serial no off the frame and get the police to acid mark the frame?Anyway, have you bought a new camera too, u jammy so and so?

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