Rise Of Mass Media Analysis

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The past century has witnessed the rise of technology that connects one person to another. From the telegraph to the radio, from the radio to television, and from television to the internet, the world has increasingly shrunk. With this change in how we communicate comes fundamental changes in how we govern ourselves. In particular, the rise of television in the decades after World War 2 was heralded as a hero of democracy, bringing the leadership and citizens closer in ways never seen before. As the years drag on, we find such thoughts are increasingly naïve. In contrast to earlier beliefs, the incorporation of television into the public sphere has harmed presidential elections. The belief that television would produce greater…show more content…
In a way, Source E is enlightening, portraying the power of mass media embodied by Walter Cronkite in stopping the unpopular Vietnam War. Disregarding the fact that mass media itself influenced that opinion, Source E reveals a frightening preposition: as more and more people turn to watch the television, the interests of those in control of television, oftentimes firmly in the direction of personal gain, grow increasingly influential. Source F reveals how one such incentive, profit, can lead to huge damages. Source F reveals that profit accrues to television channels that appeal to the “lowest common denominator” and purposefully warp events to appeal to such people. These television channels reduce the complexities of politics, economics, and international relations into simple, pleasant terms that do not do justice to the originals, and it is these television channels, which earn more, that survive. The view of candidates’ proposals provided by these channels cannot be called anything but a mockery of actual solutions. In its pursuit of internal interests, television has inadvertently harmed elections…show more content…
At a basic level, Source B suggests this trend, pointing out that intense contact with politics may instead pushed people away from it. However, Source D confirms it. It is interesting to note that television ratings for presidential debates have virtually perpetually gone down since their start in 1960, but it is far more important to realize that the number of people watching these debates have, bar an initial rise, most likely due to increased television ownership, attracted increasingly less viewers. In fact, in 1980, the debates reached 45.8 million homes. In 1996, even with population growth, the debates reached 31.6 million homes, a number marginally greater than the number of viewers at the conception of the presidential elections. What does it say about the effectiveness of television in encouraging involvement from the public when the overwhelming response has been a turn-away from politics? The very voters that television promised to involve are slowly being driven away, as both viewers and perception of politics plummet, and an uncaring and unknowledgeable population is certainly not a benefit for presidential
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