Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why Television?

Our values are under attack. It seems that no matter where we turn, we are seeing messages and images that entice us to forgo our value for something different. Often that something different is portrayed better than the value we must forsake by being more entertaining, more prestigious, or more valuable.

One arena that is at front of this battle on our values is the media. Movies, magazine, television, and the Internet are bombarding our families with messages that our values are old fashioned, unreasonable, and even damaging. With these messages coming at us from various media, some might wonder why this site targets television specifically.

Among the many reasons, the first must be that television has a greater presence in our lives than any other form of media. While many families, who are sick of the negative messages coming from the tube, are turning it off, there are still many who like the occasional diversion that a half-hour program may provide them on occasion.

According to a recent study, the average family watches 8 hours of television. Perhaps this is because there is an average of 2.4 television in the American home. These numbers indicate that more Americans are exposed to the images of television than they are to newspapers, movies, or radio.

Further, televisions messages are more important to criticize because TV has proven to be a great source for influencing consumers. Generally, this influence is in our willingness to buy. If TV ads don't work, then they would go away, and we would all be required to pay a subscription in order to watch any TV in our homes.

If you don't think that TV works think about the last time your kids told you they wanted a certain toy (especially around Christmas time) because they saw an ad during children's programming on TV. Or remember the last time you had a craving for a restaurant was because you saw their latest menu item on TV.

If the television can cause us to want something that we might not have wanted without advertising, then it can have a similar influence on our values. Television executive are often heard to argue that they don't influence values, but rather they just reflect values. However, it is interesting to me to see how the values on TV always seem to be one-step further away from the value standards of today.

Further, It is important to address televisions influence on our values, because no one is doing it. When we look at the TV critics out there today, they usually only discuss the directing, writing, and acting of the shows. This discussion is important and a good thing for television media, and they too will be discussed on this site. However, we should also critic TV according to the messages it sends.

Michael Medved has proven his importance as a movie critic with his values based criticisms. His insights have help many to be a more thoughtful consumer of movies. Medved, however, seldom addresses the most prominent media in our lives, television.

So, because if TV's prominence in our lives, and its ability to influence our decision making, it is clear that we need address its counter-values messages to our homes. Thus, TeleValues will approach this important medium to hopefully influence it to more family friendly programming.

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