RE: TV- entertainment promotes non-democratic feelings

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue May 14 2002 - 11:03:53 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: TV- entertainment promotes non-democratic feelings
    Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 11:03:53 +0100
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    Hi Kenneth,

    Thanks for this.
            <The connection between watching entertainmentprograms and the
    > of uncertainty- feelings, is mush clearer than previously supposed.
    > This is the conclusion of an investigation done by VUB- docent M. Hooghe.
    > Suprisingly is that not so mush the newsprograms are the cause for those
    > uncertainty feelings.
    > " We could conclude that watching easy entertainment programs for a long
    > time, points to a tendency to seclude oneself from the ( hostile and
    > dange-
    > rous) outside world, and thus to search for an easy form of relaxation/
    > diver-
    > sion/ relief."
    > The outside world is perceived ( more and more) as a strange and
    > threatening
    > environment, which must be avoided. According to Hooghe has the tendency
    > to put everything under a jolly/ pleasant/ funny/ amusing spell important
    > political and cultural consequenties.>
            I think one of the interesting things here is not so much the
    possible effects of the media, but the normative aspect of what the media
    should and shouldn't do. There's a well known theory, called cultivation
    theory, and this argues that because the media focus on events in
    persistently distorted ways, audiences' priorities and concerns are
    disproportionate to what they should be (e.g. the incidence of crime in the
    media is far higher than in real life so people become more scared about
    crime than they need to be). This piece looks like it offers a similar
    idea. What it adds is the notion that if the media are used as an escape
    from the real world that this is inherently wrong. Yet one of the problems
    of the global media landscape (those of us in the developed world have
    access to) is that we are routinely exposed to events that can emotionally
    effect us, but which we (as in most ordinary people) can do little or
    nothing about, sep 11th being an obvious example. (maybe there's the hook
    for Paul Marsden's suicide contagion stuff- factually based media output is
    routinely depressing and a reminder of the ordinary person's lack of power).

            Also, the reality of fiction (if that's not an oxymoron :-)) is that
    it is both an escape from the real world and a commentary on it, and why
    should the mass media be any different to literature say? The presumption
    here is that it's much worse in mass media because of its consequences, but
    even if that were true (and I'd argue strongly it isn't) why shouldn't there
    be political/cultural consequences? What if some of those consequences are
    good (that's the old press freedom argument BTW, which people at one time
    believed in).

            <What for me raises the question, to what programs were the Dutch
    > for the last ten years that a guy like Fortuyn could get so mush support
    > !?
    > And by the way, Vincent, to some people, the media is one of the causes
    > he was mudered. The media made of Fortuyn someone he really wasn 't....>
            Well, I've no idea what Dutch TV is likle in terms of reporting
    politics, but how fictional programming might lead to a right winger's
    political success/assassination is beyond me. People's mindsets aren't
    determined by the media, and the success of the far right, so marginalised
    by mainstream newsmedia in Europe and America, is evidence of that. If
    mainstream politicians want to know why people are turning away from them,
    and I know this is a naive hope, they might consider actually reviewing
    their policies and attitudes. Increasingly government in Western Europe and
    North America (at the very least) is run by the corporate sector, for the
    corporate sector and of the corporate sector, and yet they wonder why the
    public are disillusioned with politics.

            Er... rambling again, so I'll stop.


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