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Television in American Society

Television is a pervasive element in American society today and is seen as having a great deal of influence, even an excessive amount of influence, especially over the young. Television is not the only medium driven by advertising and the need to appeal to the lowest common denominator, but it is the advertising medium that most directly affects our lives. Numerous concerns have been raised over the influence of television and the impact it has on American social values.

This impact will be considered in terms of specific dimensions of this impact based on the way images on television challenge certain cultural values and shape new values that are not as socially beneficial:

(Cultural distortions (projections of unrealistic expectations affecting the poor, unrealistic body images affecting men and women, the seductions of advertising reducing the ability to discriminate)

(Political distortions (an influence reducing trust in government, diminishing the desire to vote, bolstering the establishment, reducing activism)

(Blurring of new and entertainment to the detriment of good order (greater fear of crime than is warranted, false images of minorities and women).

The nature of these concerns will be indicated as well as some of the research into how pervasive they may be.

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