"Don't Be a TV: Television Victim"

By Murray, Michael D. | Journalism History, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

"Don't Be a TV: Television Victim"


Murray, Michael D., Journalism History


"Don't Be a TV: Television Victim." Media Watch. Literacy Primer. P. O. Box 618, Santa Cruz, Calif. 95061-0618.18 minutes.

This video provides an overview of many of the widely debated issues concerning children and television. It offers an overview of topics such as media control, media violence, advertising influence, and the impact of sexual and racial stereotypes. Designed for elementary school students, children appear in each segment and a teenage girl serves as the spokesperson.

The program opens with a rap song about the overall pervasiveness of television and its pollution of culture. The song asks viewers to consider what values are being portrayed in popular children's programs and commercials. To its credit, rather than being prescriptive, the program shows children asking rhetorical questions concerning issues such as who benefits when the same company or people own all elements of mass media? The usual suspects, Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch, are mentioned in this context. Their influence almost guarantees to serve as a springboard for discussion.

The culture of commercial television advertising is also broken down as a means of evaluating influence peddled to children by professional athletes and movie stars in the promotion of certain goods. The content of commercials is examined, such as one created by a prominent pizza company employing an imagi-nary male hero. He appears out of the blue to comfort a lonely housewife in the commercial. Product placement issues and special formats in which sales items are created to appear as news items give the viewer a look at what is often lurking beneath the surface in television advertisements. …

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