Television's Impact on American Culture

Television's Impact on American Culture

Television's Impact on American Culture

Television's Impact on American Culture

Excerpt

In this study, one of the authors' basic points of agreement was that we should not limit our inquiries to the pros and cons of commercial television versus the educational television stations, which have been set up to do a specific task in so-called "educational" television. It was the Editor's aim to set television, for the first time, into a frame that shows how television fits into the culture which has created it, and to explore what its possibilities are in that setting.

On the other hand, it was beyond the ambitions and limitations of this study, by authors who are specifically concerned with education, to plumb all the complicated range of the impacts of television on American culture as a whole. It was beyond our intentions, e.g., to go into the broad sweep of all the factors that comprise a culture: its social mythology, its technology, its operating ideals, its marriage of the past with the dynamics of the present and future. Aside from the very useful treatment in the chapter by Mr. Laurent of the Bricker Senate Report (excerpts and replies) and Appendices C and D from Business Week, there is no extensive treatment of the vast range of economic problems that the commercial use of television has created in the United States. Our effort does, however, go somewhat beyond setting in a general way the economics which govern the nature of the programs which are specifically educational and those which are in a general way of broad cultural interest. We have tried to show what a network is and why networks exist.

We are aware, also, that television has been regarded as a rival by the motion-picture industry and that radio has been generally relegated to second place by the measurement of mass audiences that like to look as well as listen. Our concern, however, has been to keep to a central theme: How does this rivalry affect education, not only in the audio-visual aids field, but also in the availability of good films and in the comparative effectiveness or power for damage that these new media possess? What new vistas for education can television open up, and how can its good sides be harnessed?

There are many technical aspects of the production of television programs, too, with which none of the authors is sufficiently familiar to make an authoritative contribution, and which would require a special study by . . .

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