Entertainment media tends to undermine rational discourse

1 Nov

Paraphrased from Neil Postman – Are We Amusing Ourselves to Death on YouTube:

“I don’t want to claim that American television executives or networks
set out in some sort of organized and systematic way to alter
the way people will express themselves in politics religion education and so on.

I think rather, what has happened is we have a new technology that in its American expression
tends to suppress, undermine and otherwise degrade what we call literate, analytic, rational discourse.

I think for example when political campaigns in America are conducted largely by
30 second TV commercials, it must be obvious that candidates can no longer
spend the time – or will no longer have the time, even if they had the wit and syntax –
to explain in any sort of complex way the issues that the voters have to face.

I don’t say that this is a conspiracy on anyone’s part.

If you or I am running for office, I am going to try to beat you through the 30-second television commercial.

If you decline to use the commercial and instead choose to publish intelligently written position papers
on all these issues, you will lose.”

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