The Influence of Television

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Amanda Brown
AP Language
12 February 2013
In his famous “Vast Wasteland” address to the National Association of Broadcasters in May of 1961, Newton Minow spoke about the power of television to influence the taste, knowledge, and opinions of its viewers around the world. Minow is correct in his assertion that television has “limitless capabilities for good – and for evil.” The good qualities of television include educational television and weather channels; however, the bad qualities are also relevant, such as violence and mind-numbing stupidity. Newton Minow accurately analyzes the influence of television on viewers around the world. Readers must take into account the time period in which this paragraph was written – 1961. Viewers at this time did not have access to block channels that they themselves, or their children, did not need to see. Readers must also realize the credibility of the author. As the Chairman of the Federal Communications Center, it is assumed that he has some idea on what he is talking about – as to not falsely represent his company.

An unrealistic thinker might argue that television is completely toxic to the mind and body. On the contrary, many television shows throughout the years have been immensely inspirational to viewers to make healthy changes in their lives. Modern day examples include “The Biggest Loser” and “The Doctors”. In addition educational shows, such as those viewed on National Geographic and Discovery channels, are proven to stimulate the mind and lead to a well-rounded knowledge of things.

In his experienced and professional view, Newton Minow asserts his view of television as having both positive and negative qualities. Educational TV can teach the basic principles of life in an entertaining and safe manner. However, uncensored and violent shows can be detrimental influences in viewers’ lives. The impact of television on viewers’ way of life is definitely substantial.
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