After a long day of classes and practice, there's nothing like coming back to my room, taking a break, and catching up on the days news stories and sports updates on my television. Sometimes, however, I like to steer clear of the world of informative and enlightening program and get lost in an episode of Jersey Shore or Family Guy.The extremes presented in television programming are an interesting representation of the way society has constructed a large gap between substantial and mindless programming.
The television is an interesting medium because it allows for communication to an extremely wide audience due to the prevalence of televisions in the world. As discussed in one of our early sessions, we discussed a graph in the textbook that acknowledged the fact that in 2000, 98% of American households contained at least one television (Croteau, Hoynes 5). The fact that so many people have television access allows for increased exposure of advertisements, programs, and as the book described, politics. During a presidential election, for example, the expanded television coverage allows for people all across the country to gather facts about candidates to make informed decisions regarding who the viewer would elect. The television coverage can also allow people who might not attend a local political rally for a candidate to view the highlights and learn information they would not have been able to without the use of the television. On the other hand, however, the book also references the way in which television and mass media have caused politics to "steer away from substantive policy to policies of soundbites and photo opportunities" (264). This is also representative of the way television programs have seemingly regressed over time, from sitcoms with wholesome family values to reality shows with hardly any substance or worth besides mindless entertainment.