The Influential Television

The Influential Television

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The Influential Television

Throughout the last century, society has seen innovation in many
technologies, each of which carries its fair share of positive and
negative influences. Possibly the most talked about set of influences
are those which have arisen since the innovation of television.
Television broadcasting today includes a wide variety of emotive,
educational and persuasive programmes, ranging from a documentary on
starvation in the Sudan to reality television programmes showing
street violence as a form of “entertainment.” Television shows have
generated controversy, been a focus for moral panics and stimulated
debate throughout society.

Like any medium television is influential both in positive and
negative ways, although there will never be an agreement about what we
should celebrate or condemn, television represents social conflicts
and fractures and feeds back into them. Broadcasting today relays
information to the public or global society, but the sources, effects
and biases of this information are often complex and not immediately
clear. Television creates a new relationship between individuals and
societies in a global context.

The combination of emotive language with video has led to a deeper
global concern being injected into society, a recent example being
shown by the many commentaries within the Western world after the
events of September 11th 2001. Ecological concerns, movements for
peace and democracy and campaigns for human rights have been given a
fresh force by the global problems of the last few years, with America
under Bush offering a clear denial of global responsibility for the
environment, combined with an assertion of global responsibility as
the world’s best armed superpower.

The next positive point controversially is the widening of social
attitudes over the last decade through a hidden doctrine of positive
discrimination we have seen a more socially diverse community of
actors and actresses. In an attempt to avoid any allegations of
discrimination this doctrine has allowed society to become aware of a
wider society that encloses it, upon recognising the interest of its
viewers the producers have gone one stage further, to include regular

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programmes focused on smaller cultures, leading noticeably to
society’s acceptance and awareness of different cultures. One example
surrounds the formally controversial concept of homosexuality; in my
opinion a main contribution to the greater acceptance to homosexuality
is the awareness that has been made through television.

A recent survey found that in a blind tasting people could not
distinguish Coke from Pepsi. The two are chemically identical.
However, the survey also found that when consumers knew they were
drinking Coke it evoked a specific brain patterns in the experimental
subject, which Pepsi did not. Therefore, Coke’s strong brand of
identity has a measurable effect on the mind and brain of a Coke
drinker – and a stronger one than Pepsi’s. What does this tell us
about the media? For one, it tells us that advertising and marketing
work, it shows the influence of the media in shaping our ideas, our
preferences and our responses. This influence is inescapable as every
one today uses the media for information and entertainment.

The range of media available increases all the time, as more and more
people have more and more technologies which access media products;
your phone links to the web, which carries videos, tunes and online
newspapers; we talk all the time about the media we share. Media
influences extend from personal life to the outcome of elections;
elections are lost and won on television, footballers’ careers are
made and broken, royalty rises and falls depending on a public image,
constantly created and re-created in the media more fundamentally, our
values and beliefs are subtly shaped by the ideology frameworks which
underpin media reporting, TV drama and Hollywood film (to name but
three.) Not only our specific preferences but out underlying beliefs
are influenced by the media, in ways we are often un-aware of. This
unconscious of our opinions and therefore our lives is the most
controversial and most complex of media influences.
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