Analysis Of The Impact Of Television On American Politics

Television forms one of the earliest audiovisual technologies whose discovery can be traced back to the 19th Century. However, its impact on the contemporary society in regards to politics, economy and the societal values has often been downplayed. Television, as a medium of communication formed the main topic of discussion in Neil Postman’s book “Amusing ourselves to Death” whereby the impact of television is analyzed against primitive forms of communication such as the use of smoke signals for communication across long distances. The book analyzes this concept through the lenses of two characters who include George Orwell and Aldous Huxley who had opposing opinions on the political, economic and social implications of the new technologies. In this paper, the opposing views will be used to analyze how television has affected politics within America through the lens of Orwell and Huxley.

Technology has increased the platforms through which people send and receive information even across long distances. However, increased levels of communication normally have adverse effects on the quality of communication since some people and specifically in relation to politics where television presents a potential for manipulation of the view of people on certain political issues and candidates. However, past leaders and politicians have often argued that the medium of communication has the “net effect for the better” since people could be able to judge for themselves between the level of deception and honesty in the information passed thus creating a revolutionary effect in the long run.

Politics within America for the longest time has been affected by ‘television’ which can be attributed to the manifestations of Orwell and Huxley that can be said to have been true in regards to the various ways they predicted the effects that could be manifested either within the contemporary society or in the modern communities.

The community visual perception creates a certain context to the communication being passed on through the television which allows false depictions to flourish. According to Huxsley, the notion by Orwell on the effects of externally imposed oppression is not accurate in explaining the effect of television as a communication medium within the society on the cultural aspects of people. It is worth noting that culture is normally made up of the socially accepted behavioral norms and beliefs that are shared by people across the society thus Huxsley argued that people normally tend to adore the technologies which eventually alienates their capacities to think. However, in the modern world, there is usually a large variety of information to choose from thus bringing some irrelevance in the sea of information provided which gives different opinions. This provision is quoted by Huxsley whereby he describes politics as an independent form of the show business with an example being that of sport which is considered one of the main branches of the show business whereby the main perception on the players’ changes with his compliance to the set standards thus faking the particular relationship between the athlete and the standards is impossible. However, according to the book the relationship between the standards and the level of adherence of the players to the rules in meriting the main participants is not exhibited in the political scenario whereby the public poll shapes the main results of the process for example results.

Television has however played a huge role in determining the political decisions of people since it provides a platform through which the politicians can reach out as well as forming the medium through which the voters elect someone based on their depiction on the politicians’ views and ideologies. This is a preposition that has often been identified by various leaders just to showcase its importance of television in shaping the opinion of the public for example J.F. Kennedy who realized the importance of television on the opinions of people. However, the manipulation concept goes without saying that the provision also subject to manipulation by demagogues. This provision is mainly supported by the fact that just like the show business enhance by the provision of visual media, politics doesn’t pursue excellence but rather what people want to hear and how much those provisions provided by the politicians can satisfy them thus alienating the notion of truthfulness of the information provided by the politicians.

Advertising is closely related to the politics since advertisement showcases the fulfilment of the needs of the customers by the products thus their decisions are normally aligned with the various provisions that are directed by the fulfillment of those needs with the product in the political scenarios being presidents and other elected leaders. The advertisements have for the longest time been identified as the main criteria that shapes the opinions and perceptions of the American citizens mainly because a person normally sees a lot of commercials before and after retirement thus an assumption is that television commercials has significant influence of American habits of thought.

As a major source of information in regards to politics and general information on other issues, television has been known to increase the rationality within Americans when face with political decisions for example on who to vote and who to rule out (Aderoju & Aririgozou, 2018). This provision is explained from a capitalistic point of view which is practiced in the United States that states that success in the market place is usually driven by the market requirements that the buyers perceive as being good for him and generally good for everyone. Thus, if the seller doesn’t produce value to the buyers, the he stands to lose out on the trade within a rational market place with a lot of options available. The law in America however emphasizes on the truth with the use of the television to communicate to the people due to the realization of the adverse effects the false claim can have on the rationality in decision making for the larger American community who are subjected to the use of television as a medium of communication. In third world countries, the use of media by politicians never has a lot of regulations as in the United States where the truth guides the use of the platform by politicians due to the realization of its impact. In Africa, lack of true information relayed through television has led to unprecedented problems like underdevelopment due to election of leaders based on false merit that they cannot be legally held accountable for at the end of their term.

Politics as defence of the indefensible. The television within the United States politics has been used for a long time as the medium through which the public is engaged in a process of expressing their needs which are in return met by the aspiring politicians. This provision is supported by the fact that television normally provides the basis through which people reach out to the masses. However, as a double effect, the citizens similarly use this platform to rationalize their decisions on who to elect based on their needs that they perceive as being important for example the Obamacare that propelled President Obama to presidency based the realization of the need for better health among citizens. It is worth noting that the various candidates are normally publicly engaged on a debate of how the such systems will be implemented so as to determine the viability of those propositions thus ascertaining the decisions by the voters regarding a certain candidate. This provision also ascertains Hurvey’s assumptions that television would become the trivial culture, which is characterized as being filled with feelies, orgy porgy centrifugal bubble puppy.

This provision is quiet true since as much as people have become overly dependent to the level of captivity according to Orwell, people have been controlled by the television by the manipulation of the desires by the politicians which with time come to ruin as the long term effect of the same. This can be exhibited from the implementation of the Obamacere which was meant to improve on the quality and accessibility of health care by the citizens. As much as the intervention managed to improve on the level of accessibility and quality of the healthcare, it increased the overall costs of healthcare among the American citizens due to high cost of insurance premiums as well as diagnosis for unidentified diseases since some patients were tested and subsequently treated for unknown diseases for the first time.

In conclusion, television, as a form of communication has played a crucial role in American political history due to the influence it has had on the individual perception of the citizens in regards to the suitability of various political ideologies as addressed by leaders. This provision has often been facilitated by the development of a common platform through which the “truth” by the politicians can be evaluated and validated by the citizens which normally make the final decision. However, in unregulated environments, television, as a medium of communication stands to negatively affect the rationality of decision making within individuals. However, laws put in place in America has made sure that the truth has prevailed though its long term effect has not been evaluated thus showing the truth in the assumptions made by Hurvey that rationality in humans is based on their needs which in return might end up ruining them as exhibited by various policies suggested by leaders during campaigns to entice the voters into voting for them. 

16 August 2021
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