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Nothing ever constrains us to face what is dying when we see it so alive in our images. ~ Jacques Ellul
His powers of thinking rust and freeze! He cannot think—he only sees! ~ Roald Dahl
I'm not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests. ~ David Foster Wallace
The problem [is] a system that has made the center of national attention a market item, for sale at auction prices. The system has put the leadership of our society on the auction block. ~ Erik Barnouw
Television may represent a threat to our culture analogous to the threat of atomic weapons to our civilization. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Television (TV) is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images and sound. Television can transmit images that are monochrome (black-and-white), in color, or in three dimensions. Television is an iconic mass medium, serving as a conduit for entertainment, advertising and news.

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  • The role of television is the illusion of company, noise. I call it the fifth wall and the second window: the window of illusion.
  • The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements—all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics—to make it easy for him to “make up his own mind” with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and “plays back” the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think.
  • The rockets that have made spaceflight possible are an advance that, more than any other technological victory of the twentieth century, was grounded in science fiction… . One thing that no science fiction writer visualized, however, as far as I know, was that the landings on the Moon would be watched by people on Earth by way of television.
    • Isaac Asimov, in Asimov on Physics (1976), 35. Also in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 307.
  • What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish. This is bad for everyone; the majority lose all genuine taste of their own, and the minority become cultural snobs.
    • W. H. Auden, "The Poet & The City", p. 83. The Dyer's Hand, and Other Essays (1962)


  • Everything is being televised so you won't be able to tell where the Revolution is. "Who's revolting? Well, I don't know, what's on the other channel?"
  • The luminous screen in the home carries fantastic authority. Viewers everywhere tend to accept it as a window on the world... It has tended to displace or overwhelm other influences such as newspapers, school, church, grandpa, grandma. It has become the definer and transmitter of society's values.
  • Bread and circuses—to some observers, welfare and television seemed modern equivalents, pacifiers of empire, protectors of power and privilege.
    If television has assumed this role, it is not the result of a struggle between good guys and bad guys. If it were, it would be easy to solve, like problems in televisionland. ... The sponsor who thinks in terms of maximizing sales and profits is doing his duty. ... The advertising agency executive who recommends programs and time-slots in terms of audience size and demographic targets is likewise doing his job... The network sales executive who favors programs that advertising agencies will recommend to sponsors is performing his task. ... The problem—the folly—is not in any of these, but in a system that has made the center of national attention a market item, for sale at auction prices. The system has put the leadership of our society on the auction block.
  • For intellectual authority, the appropriate version of Descartes's cogito would be today: I am talked about, therefore I am.
  • A 2005 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the majority of primetime TV viewers reported learning something new about a disease or other health issue over six months of viewing. About one-third of viewers took some kind of action after learning about a health issue on TV.
    Many medical shows have physicians consult for accuracy, and an article in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics notes that starting with ER in the ’90s, TV shows began using more detailed medical jargon to describe conditions and procedures. But there are still inconsistencies. Treatments for patients with seizures are sometimes downright dangerous, with doctors trying to hold patients down, or put things in their mouths (they could choke). Patients tend to survive cardiac arrest more often on television than they do in real life, making CPR seem more effective than it often is.
  • On TV, the patients that have these compelling rare diseases are played by a revolving door of guest stars. The characters we really get to know are the doctors themselves. And the way doctors have been portrayed on television has changed markedly over the years. Medical shows in the ’50s and ’60s, like City Hospital, Dr. Kildare, and Ben Casey, showed doctors as noble, infallible heroes. These shows apparently received “creative input and guidance from the American Medical Association,” according to an article in Annals of Emergency Medicine.
    Starting in the ’70s and ’80s with shows like M*A*S*H and St. Elsewhere, the pendulum swung toward portraying doctors as the flawed humans they are. We’ve been firmly in the era of flaws for a while now with shows like Grey’s and House, MD (whose rude, drug-abusing titular character gets by on his brilliance). This perhaps explains why, in a 2003 study (on which Chory was an author), watching more prime-time medical shows was associated with “perceiving doctors as more uncaring, cold, unfriendly, nervous, tense, and anxious.”
  • All the heightened drama and medical inaccuracies aside, Chabrerie says it’s the emotional challenges of being a doctor that these shows tend to get right.
    “I do think the emotional aspects get brought up more in shows like Scrubs,” she says. (She’s not the only one—a 2009 Slate article says that despite the show’s “cartoonishness,” it’s “quite in tune with the real lives of doctors.”)
    “In med school, this is what we did. We lay in our beds and watched Scrubs,” Chabrerie says. “At the end of the day, we see [the same things] all the time. We lose patients all the time. It’s never easy. [On these shows], the young doctor gets really upset, and the older, wiser doctor comes in and says ‘You have to let it go.’”
  • I like to watch.
    • Repeated lines by "Chance, the gardner" in Being There (1979), initially referring simply to his lifelong habit of watching television.
  • First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society.
  • It is not so much the low quality of the fare provided that is troubling. It is much more the difficulty of imagining any order of taste, any way of life with pleasures and learning that naturally fit the lives of the family’s members, keeping itself distinct from the popular culture and resisting the visions of what is admirable and interesting with which they are bombarded.
  • Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight?
    • Al Boliska, as cited in: Stuart Kantor (2004) Beer, Boxers, Batteries, And Bodily Noises. p. 39
  • We're aware of the scale of the planet, so we don't accept that our own circumscribed horizons constitute reality. Much more real is what's relayed to us by the TV.
    • John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1968), continuity (17) "Timescales"


  • You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you: you dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion!
  • Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, a football players. We're in the boredom-killing business. So if you want the Truth, go to God! Go to your gurus. Go to yourselves! Because that's the only place you're ever gonna find any real truth. But, man, you're never gonna get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you wanna hear. We lie like hell. We'll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer and that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker's house. And no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry. Just look at your watch. At the end of the hour, he's gonna win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear.
    We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion. So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!
  • I’d park myself a few inches from the RCA color television set we had. I was so close, I could feel the static electricity of the screen tugging at the peach fuzz on my face and smell the wonderful aroma of electrically heated dust coming from the vents of that lustrous wooden console. No matter how many times my mother yelled, “Kevin! Move back before you go blind!” I’d still feel myself powerfully drawn into that world, and the worn-out seats of my Lee jeans bore witness to the pull I was powerless to resist.
    • Kevin Clash, puppeteer who plays Elmo on Sesame Street, on his childhood. Published in 2006 as part of My Life as a Furry Red Monster.
  • My father ... watched very little TV, because once Conscious, every commercial, every program must be strip-mined for its deeper meaning, until it lays bare its role in this sinister American plot.
  • Television is for appearing on, not looking at.
    • Noël Coward in Barry Day (2007), The Letters of Noël Coward (illustrated ed.), Alfred A. Knopf, p. 585


    • Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), p. 139
  • Women in quantitative fields risk being personally reduced to negative stereotypes that allege a sex-based math inability. This situational predicament, termed stereotype threat, can undermine women’s performance and aspirations in all quantitative domains. Gender-stereotypic television commercials were employed in three studies to elicit the female stereotype among both men and women. Study 1 revealed that only women for whom the activated stereotype was self-relevant underperformed on a subsequent math test. Exposure to the stereotypic commercials led women taking an aptitude test in Study 2 to avoid math items in favor of verbal items. In Study 3, women who viewed the stereotypic commercials indicated less interest in educational/vocational options in which they were susceptible to stereotype threat (i.e., quantitative domains) and more interest in fields in which they were immune to stereotype threat (i.e., verbal domains).
  • Exposing participants to gender-stereotypic TV commercials designed to elicit the female stereotype, the present research explored whether vulnerability to stereotype threat could persuade women to avoid leadership roles in favor of nonthreatening subordinate roles. Study 1 confirmed that exposure to the stereotypic commercials undermined women's aspirations on a subsequent leadership task. Study 2 established that varying the identity safety of the leadership task moderated whether activation of the female stereotype mediated the effect of the commercials on women's aspirations. Creating an identity-safe environment eliminated vulnerability to stereotype threat despite exposure to threatening situational cues that primed stigmatized social identities and their corresponding stereotypes.
  • An EEG of a person watching TV shows that after about half an hour the brain decides that nothing is happening, and it goes into a hypnoidal twilight state, emitting alpha waves. This is because there is such little eye motion.
    • Philip K. Dick, in "How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" (1978)
  • Research on the effect that the media has on the public revolves around two interconnected issues. Does coverage of sensationalistic and violent crime create fear among the general public and does this fear influence criminal justice policy attitudes? Review of the research indicates that there are mixed results regarding the influence of the news media on creating an attitude of fear among the general public (Surette, 1998). In an early study, Gerbner et al (1980) hypothesized that heavy viewing of television violence leads to fear rather than aggression. Gerbner et al (1980) find that individuals who watch a large amount of television are more likely to feel a greater threat from crime, believe crime is more prevalent than statistics indicate, and take more precautions against crime. They find that crime portrayed on television is significantly more violent, random, and dangerous than crime in the "real" world. The researchers argue that viewers internalize these images and develop a "mean world view" or a scary image of reality. This view is characterized by "mistrust, cynicism, alienation, and perceptions of higher than average levels of threat of crime in society" (Surette, 1990:8). Further studies on the relationship between fear and television viewing indicate a direct and strong relationship (Barille, 1984; Bryant, Carveth and Brown, 1981; Hawkins and Pingree, 1980; Morgan, 1983; Williams, Zabrack and Joy, 1982, Weaver and Wakshlag, 1986). Conversely, Rice and Anderson (1990) find a weak, positive association between television viewing and fear of crime, alienation and distrust. However, multiple regression analysis fails to support the hypothesis that television viewing has a direct, substantial effect on fear of crime.
  • A primary issue with the media’s inaccurate depiction of crime and the criminal justice system is that it socially constructs people’s perceptions about the nature of crime and how the criminal justice system works. Since most people rely on the media for their information about these topics, their perceptions about the system are skewed by this inaccurate information. Additionally, we know that people may act on their perceptions, such as by supporting certain crime and justice programs over others programs that do not fit with their perceptions, but which may be based on more accurate information. Several studies indicate that the images of crime and justice in the media impact the criminal justice system (Duwe, 2000; Hansen, 2001; Potter & Kappeler, 2006; Surette, 2007). For example, Hansen (2001) explains how news coverage of selected high profile juvenile crimes, in combination with coverage of drug and violent crimes in the 1980s and 1990s impacted the creation of get-tough policies for juvenile offenders (e.g., waivers to adult court, longer sentences, etc.).More specifically, the extant literature demonstrates that fictional crime dramas influence viewers’attitudes towards the criminal justice system (Dowler, 2002; Kort-Butler & Sittner-Hartshorn, 2011), its actors (Dowler & Zawilski, 2007;Huey,2010),and increases fear of crime (Eschholz, Chiricos, & Gertz, 2003). One particular concern specific to fictional crime dramas, often referred to as the ‘CSI Effect,’ postulates viewers develop expectations for police and courtroom settings regarding the collection, evaluation, and presentation of physical evidence, including DNA evidence (Dowler, Fleming, & Muzzatti, 2006;Goodman-Delahunty & Tait,2006). Much ofthe general publics’ exposure to crime and the criminal justice system comes fromfictional crime dramas. Since it is possible that the majority of people’s exposure to the criminal justice system is largely through crime fictional dramas, it is important to understand how the system, police specifically, are portrayed in these dramas.


  • A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection — not an invitation for hypnosis.
    • Umberto Eco, in "Can Television Teach?" in Screen Education 31 (1979), p. 12
  • It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.
  • I used to think that television could be potentially the most powerful medium for the dissemination of knowledge that the world has ever known, it could be a very rich and rewarding thing if handled properly and that the problem was in the execution. I've now come, after ten years in the business, five years of which was as a television critic, to taking the very extreme view point. I think television itself is bad. The idea of television, the act of watching television kills the imagination. It's not like radio, with radio you had to listen, had to make things, you had to build things in your mind. Movies do that. Television is something else again. Television lays it all out there in a very prescribed way and the bare minimum of imagination on the part of the viewer is needed and I really fear for all of us.
    • Harlan Ellison Interview in 1979, quoted in The Online Copywriter's Handbook (2002) by Robert W. Bly, p. 19
  • We are in the process of seeing the fulfillment of Edgar Allen Poe's prophecy in which the painter, impassioned by his mistress-model and also by his art, "did not want to see that the colors he spread on his canvas were taken from the cheeks of the woman seated beside him. And when several weeks had passed, and very little remained to be done, nothing but a stroke on the mouth and a glaze over the eye, the mistress’s spirit still flickered like the flame at the base of a lamp. Then he put on the final touch, put the glaze in place, and for a moment the painter stood in ecstasy before the work he had finished. But a moment later, he was struck with panic, and shouting with a piercing voice: ‘It is truly Life itself,’ he suddenly turned around to look at his mistress. She was dead." Nothing ever constrains us to face what is dying when we see it so alive in our images.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word (1981), J. Hanks, trans. (1985), p. 208
  • The word, although prevalent in our day, has lost its reasoning value, and has value only as an accessory to images. In turn, the word actually evokes images. But it does not evoke the direct images related to my personal experience. Rather, it calls up images from the newspaper or television. The key words in our modern vocabulary ... are stripped of all rational content, so they evoke only visions that whisk us away to some enchanted universe. Saying "fascism," "progress," "science," or "justice" does not suggest any idea or produce any reflection. It only causes a fanfare of images to explode within us: a sort of fireworks of visual commonplaces, which link up very precisely with each other. These related images provide me with practical content: a common truth that is especially easy to swallow because the ready-made images that showed it to me had been digested in advance.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word (1981), J. Hanks, trans. (1985), p. 210


  • The young watch television twenty-four hours a day, they don't read and they rarely listen. This incessant bombardment of images has developed a hypertrophied eye condition that's turning them into a race of mutants.
  • Television is just another appliance- It's just a toaster with pictures.
  • Television, the drug of the Nation, Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
    Where imagination is sucked out of children by a cathode ray nipple. T.V. is the only wet nurse that would create a cripple
    • Michael Franti,Television drug of the nation, from Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, 1991 [2]
  • Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn't have in your home.
    • David Frost, as quoted in A Companion to Television, Wasko, Janet (2005) Blackwell Publishing. Page 9.


  • In the average American household, the television is turned "on" for almost seven hours each day, and the typical adult or child watches two to three hours of television per day. It is estimated that the average child sees 360,000 advertisements by the age of eighteen (Harris, 1989). Due to this extensive exposure to mass media depictions, the media's influence on gender role attitudes has become an area of considerable interest and concern in the past quarter century. Analyses of gender portrayals have found predominantly stereotypic portrayals of dominant males nurturant females within the contexts of advertisements (print and television), magazines fiction, newspapers, child-oriented print media, textbooks, literature, film, and popular music (Busby, 1975; DurMn, 1985a; Leppard, Ogletree, & Wallen, 1993; Lovdal, 1989; Pearson, Turner, & Todd-Mancillas, 1991; Rudmann & Verdi, 1993; Signorielli & Lears, 1992). Most of the research to date on the effects of gender-role images in the media has focused primarily on the female gender role. A review of research on men in the media suggests that, except for film literature, the topic of masculinity has not been addressed adequately (Fejes, 1989). Indeed, as J. Kate (1995) recently noted, "there is a glaring absence of a thorough body of research into the power of cultural images of masculinity" (p. 133). Kate suggests that studying the impact of advertising represents a useful place to begin addressing this lacuna.
  • This study suggests that sex stereotypes implicitly enacted, but never explicitly articulated, in TV commercials may inhibit women's achievement aspirations. Men and women (N=180) viewed locally produced replicas of four current, sex-stereotyped commercials, or four replicas that were identical except that the sex roles were reversed, or (control) named their favorite TV programs. All subjects then wrote an essay imagining their lives “10 years from now.” The essays were coded for achievement and homemaking themes. Women who viewed traditional commercials deemphasized achievement in favor of homemaking, compared to men and compared to women who had seen reversed role commercials. The reversed role commercials eliminated the sex difference in net achievement focus. Control subjects were indistinguishable from their same-sex counterparts in the traditional condition. The results identified some social changes needed to make “equality of opportunity” a social reality for women as well as men.
  • This year, according to statistics published by the advocacy group Women and Hollywood, women comprised just 27 percent of creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography working in television. It’s a figure that’s actually fallen since last year. Women account for 40 percent of speaking characters on television, a figure that’s also dropped.
  • At the same time, though, studio heads and producers have been relatively quick to welcome back actors, directors, and writers who’ve been accused of harassment and assault, particularly when their status makes them seem irreplaceable. It’s a dual-edged message: Don’t abuse your power, but if you do, you’ll still have a career. Part of the confusion comes down to the fact that these men are seen as invaluable because the stories they tell are still understood to have disproportionate worth. When the slate of new fall TV shows is filled with father-and-son buddy-cop stories and prison-break narratives and not one but two gentle, empathetic examinations of male grief, it’s harder to imagine how women writers and directors might step up to occupy a sudden void. When television and film are fixated on helping audiences find sympathy for troubled, selfish, cruel, brilliant men, it’s easier to believe that the troubled, brilliant men in real life also deserve empathy, forgiveness, and second chances. And so the tangible achievements one year into the #MeToo movement need to be considered hand in hand with the fact that the stories being told haven’t changed much at all, and neither have the people telling them. A true reckoning with structural disparities in the entertainment industry will demand something else as well: acknowledging that women’s voices and women’s stories are not only worth believing, but also worth hearing. At every level.


  • Research on women in print advertisements has shown that pictures of women's bodies and body parts ("body-isms") appear more often than pictures of men's bodies. Men's faces ("face-isms") are photographed more often than their bodies. This present study is the first to confirm this finding for television commercials. Results showed that men appear twice as often as women in beer commercials. The body-isms of women significantly outnumbered the body-isms of men. Women also appeared in swimwear more often than men, thus increasing the photo opportunities for body-isms. This study raises concerns about the dehuman&ing influence of these images in beer commercials, and their association with alcohol use and the violence in the televised sporting events during which beer commercials are frequently aired.
  • I know very well the sorts of pressures you're under in television. I don't work in television anymore myself, but I'm constantly hearing from colleagues who present scripts to networks and are told, "The script is too complex. You have to keep it simple because the audience is dumb. You can make more money for the advertisers that way."
    • Michael Haneke as interviewed by Richard Porton, "Collective Guilt and Individual Responsibility: An Interview with Michael Haneke," Cineaste, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter 2005), pp. 50-51
  • Our perception of the truth is determined by what appears on the screen. If an event is never broadcast, it somehow never happened. The electronic image is the word of God. The corporate state controls most of what is seen and heard on television, what ideas and events can be discussed in the mainstream media and what orthodoxies, including neoliberalism and the war industry, must never be questioned. We suffer an intellectual tyranny as pervasive as that imposed by fascism and communism.
  • Like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn’t change people’s habits. It just kept them inside the house.
  • One of television’s great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.
  • Seeing a murder on television can … help work off one’s antagonisms. And if you haven’t any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.
  • Fictional medical programs have long been a staple of television drama. In the 1960s and 1970s, television doctor heroes such as Dr. Kildare and Marcus Welby populated the airwaves. On these programs, the primary focus was on the patient’s story, and the doctors generally could do no wrong. However, the 1994 premieres of ER and Chicago Hope ushered in a new era of fictional medical programming. These programs—in particular ER—prided themselves on techniques such as using medical jargon, increasing accuracy as much as possible without sacrificing entertainment value, and hiring physicians and other medical professionals to serve on the writing staff.
  • …to our knowledge, there has never been a formal, rigorous systematic review of the literature assessing the ability of medical television programs to affect important public health outcomes such as viewers’ health-related knowledge, perceptions and/or behavior. Considering the continuing availability of medical television programming and its potential for continued influence, this is an important gap in the literature. Therefore, we conducted such a systematic review in order to synthesize extant research, make recommendations for future study, and explore opportunities to creatively leverage the infrastructure around these programs.
  • Overall, our results suggest that fictional medical programs do influence viewer knowledge, perceptions and behaviors. Thus, it may be valuable for medical and public health professionals to work with fictional medical television writers, producers and directors to ensure that programs are as accurate as possible while maintaining their entertainment value. Furthermore, there may be opportunities for health professionals to work with these programs to augment current public health and health education campaigns. For example, in 2014 the CDC spent $2.1 million on national tobacco education campaigns, but working with existing medical television programs to incorporate anti-smoking plotlines into episodes could provide additional education to millions of viewers at little to no additional cost.
  • In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity.


  • News is not at all an easy thing to do on television. A good many of the main news items are not easily made visual — therefore we have the problem of giving news with the same standards that the corporation has built up in sound.
  • Television is simultaneously blamed, often by the same people, for worsening the world and for being powerless to change it.
  • When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth.
    • Steve Jobs, Interview in WIRED magazine (February 1996)
  • On the big screen they showed us a sun
    But not as bright in life as the real one
    It's never quite the same as the real one.
    • Elton John "Grey Seal" from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • As I sat in my office last evening, waiting to speak, I thought of the many times each week when television brings the war into the American home. No one can say exactly what effect those vivid scenes have on American opinion. Historians must only guess at the effect that television would have had during earlier conflicts on the future of this Nation during the Korean war, for example, at that time when our forces were pushed back there to Pusan or World War II, the Battle of the Bulge, or when our men were slugging it our in Europe or when most of our Air Force was shot down that day in June 1942 off Australia.
  • When the war finally started, we were ready. On January 16, 1991, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw reported to the world, “The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated . . .”
    As predicted, Iraqi power and communications systems were destroyed by stealth fighter jets and cruise missiles. Every media company based in Baghdad—except CNN—lost power and transmission capabilities. Only CNN broadcast live to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. All channels turned to us for exclusive coverage; there was no place else.
    Back then CNN was the only global 24/7 news channel. That live coverage of war—the first time it had been televised worldwide—transformed the media landscape. CNN became required viewing for informed citizens and heads of state, the one truly global news source. That has changed now, with multiple cable networks and news breaking on social media. But without the investment in journalism from visionary owners such as Turner, today’s networks focus more on commentary than newsgathering.


  • This study examined whether exposure to TV ads that portray women as sex objects causes increased body dissatisfaction among women and men. Participants were exposed to 15 sexist and 5 nonsexist ads, 20 nonsexist ads, or a no ad control condition. Results revealed that women exposed to sexist ads judged their current body size as larger and revealed a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body sizes (preferring a thinner body) than women exposed to the nonsexist or no ad condition. Men exposed to the sexist ads judged their current body size as thinner, revealed a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body size (preferring a larger body), and revealed a larger discrepancy between their own ideal body size and their perceptions of others’ male body size preferences (believing that others preferred a larger ideal) than men exposed to the nonsexist or no ad condition. Discussion focuses on the cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral consequences of exposure to gender stereotypic television advertising.
  • The new values transmitters are the television producers, the movie moguls, the fashion advertisers, the gangsta rappers, and a host of other players within the electronic media-cultural complex. ... These trend-setters exert an extremely powerful hold on our culture and our children in particular, and they often have had little or no sense of responsibility for the harmful values they are purveying.
    • Joe Lieberman, In a lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Awake! magazine, April 8, 2000; "Are Morals Worse Than Before?"
  • The culture is unchallenged as the standard setter, and the child’s sense of right and wrong and his priorities in life are shaped primarily by what he learns from the television, the movie screen and the CD player.
    • Joe Lieberman, In a lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Awake! magazine, April 8, 2000; "Are Morals Worse Than Before?"


  • Television encourages separation: people from community, people from each other, people from themselves, creating more buying units and discouraging organized opposition to the system. It creates a surrogate community: Itself. It becomes everyone’s intimate advisor, teacher and guide to appropriate behavior and awareness. Thereby, it becomes its own feedback system, furthering its own growth and accelerating the transformation of everything and everyone into artificial form. This enables a handful of people to obtain a unique degree of power.
  • I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
    • Groucho Marx, as quoted in Halliwell’s Filmgoer’s Companion (1984) by Leslie Halliwell
  • Thanks to television, for the first time the young are seeing history made before it is censored by their elders.
    • Margaret Mead, as quoted by Robert P. Doyle (1993) Banned Books Week '93: celebrating the freedom to read. American Library Association. p. 62
  • I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and-loss sheet or rating book to distract you—and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.
    • Newton N. Minow, FCC Chairman, May 9, 1961 [3]; republished by Minow in Equal Time (1964), p. 52.
  • Hollywood, television and film is not my prime area of interest. Because I would never have any control, working in those areas. It’s nice to get the money from a Hollywood project, but whatever they do with it, it would be their piece of work, and not mine.
  • Interviewer: Frank Hunt asks: What were the most important lessons you took away (as a writer and producer) from your time working on Star Trek?
Moore: That it’s all about the characters and that you really have to be willing to dig into the characters and make it about the people and understand them. That means sitting in rooms for hours on end and arguing about who these people really are. It’s about trying to challenge the characters and challenge yourself. It’s really the lifeblood of television. It’s what it’s all about. People tune into these shows again and again not for the plot of the week and not because they want to be wowed by visual effects. They tune into the show because they fall in love with the characters. They fall in love with Kirk and Spock and Sisko and Janeway and Picard and Data. They want to see those people again. So it’s all about the characters, and that’s the most important thing I learned at Trek.


  • Television may represent a threat to our culture analogous to the threat of atomic weapons to our civilization.


  • I haven't had a TV in 10 years, and I really don't miss it. 'Cause it's always so much more fun to be with people than it ever was to be with a television.
  • Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force into an immovable object.
  • Unless and until there is unmistakable proof to the contrary, the presumption must be that television is and will be a main factor in influencing the values and moral standards of our society.
    • Pilkington Report, Great Britain, Committee on Broadcasting (1960), Report (Command paper 1753) (1962), chapter 3, p. 15, 19.
  • Television does not, and cannot, merely reflect the moral standards of society. It must affect them, either by changing or by reinforcing them.
    • Pilkington Report, Great Britain, Committee on Broadcasting (1960), Report (Command paper 1753) (1962), chapter 3, p. 15, 19.
  • Those who say they give the public what it wants begin by underestimating public taste, and end by debauching it.
    • Pilkington Report, quoting an unknown source. Great Britain, Committee on Broadcasting, 1960, Report (Command paper 1753) (1962), chapter 3, p. 17.


  • … evidence indicates that viewing or expressing a preference for relationship-themed television genres is associated with a greater acceptance of romantic myths, such as a belief in predestined soul mates (Holmes, 2007), more traditional dating attitudes (Rivadeneyra & Lebo, 2008; but see Vandenbosch & Eggermont, 2011, for null results), higher expectations for intimacy and stronger intentions to marry (Segrin & Nabi, 2002), and one's general style toward love (Hetsroni, 2012; Segrin & Nabi, 2002). At the same time, however, attributing more realism to media content appears to have the opposite effects and is linked to more pessimism, including weaker expectations for intimacy and weaker marital intentions (Segrin & Nabi, 2002). Indeed, in their survey of 392 married individuals, Osborn (2012) found that attributing more realism to television's portrayals of romantic relationships predicted lower marital commitment, higher expected and perceived costs of marriage, and more favorable perceptions of alternatives to one's current relationship.
    • Lauren A. Reed, “Sexuality and entertainment media”, in ‘’ Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology’’, Volume 2: Contextual Approaches, Chapter: Sexuality and entertainment media, Publisher: American Psychological Association, Editors: D. Tolman, L. M. Diamond, J. Bauermeister, J, William, G, Pfaus, J, Ward, L.M., (January 2013), pp.381.
  • For example, violent video games, television, films, and music have all been found to affect aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior (Anderson et al., 2003; 2010), while the introduction of television itself to a rural area of Nepal significantly affected residents' attitudes and behaviors regarding family issues (e.g., contraceptive use; Barber & Axinn, 2004). However, not all media are expected to have the same effects on beliefs and behavior. Intuitively, it seems to follow that media content should tend to influence beliefs that are relevant to that particular content. For example, watching television crime drama is related to oppositional attitudes toward gun control (Dowler, 2002). Similarly, viewing genres of film or television that focus on relationships (e.g., romantic comedies) is associated with idealistic relationship expectations (Segrin & Nabi, 2002). As a final example, watching shows with paranormal content is associated with paranormal beliefs (Tseng, Tsai, Hsieh, Hung, & Huang, 2014). Each of these examples illustrates how specific content is associated with specific attitudes in ways that are consistent with the content. Media may influence attitudes as disparate as our perception of aggression and paranormal beliefs, so there is reason to believe that media may also influence sexist attitudes.
  • Sexism in media partly involves the portrayal of both men and women in ways that are consistent with prevailing stereotypes. Illustrating this sexism, men are more likely to appear in prime-time programming than women, and when women are shown, they are less likely to be shown working outside the home and more likely to be shown in a romantic relationship (Signorielli, 1989). Lauzen, Dozier, and Horan (2008) similarly found that women were underrepresented in prime-time shows and were more likely to be shown in interpersonal or social roles, while men were more likely to be portrayed in work roles. This underrepresentation of women even pervades television commercials, where women not only appear less, but are also more likely to be portrayed as secondary characters supporting a male character when they are present (Ganahl, Prinsen, & Netzley, 2003).
  • To get a prime time show - network show - on the air and to keep it there, you must attract and hold a minimum of 18 million people every week. You have to do that in order to move people away from Gomer Pyle, Bonanza, Beverly Hill Billies and so on. And we tried to do this with entertainment, action, adventure, conflict and so on. But once we got on the air, and within the limits of those accident ratio limits, we did not accept the myth, that the television audience has an infantile mind. We had an idea, and we had a premise, and we still believe that. As a matter of fact we decided to risk the whole show on that premise. We believed that the often ridiculed mass audience is sick of this world's petty nationalism and all its old ways and old hatreds, and that people are not only willing but anxious to think beyond most petty beliefs that have for so long kept mankind divided. So you see that the formula, the magic ingredient that many people keep seeking and many of them keep missing is really not in Star Trek. It is in the audience. There is an intelligent life form out on the other side of that television too.
  • Television. An advanced technical method of stopping people from making their own entertainment.
    • Leonard Rossiter, English comic actor. ‘...To Rossiter’, The Devil’s Bedside Book, Hamlyn paperbacks (1980) p. 46


  • Gerbner and his colleagues further propose that compared to light television viewers, heavy television viewers are more likely to perceive the world in ways that more closely mirror reality as presented on television than more objective measures of social reality, regardless of the specific programs or genres viewed (Herbner & Gross, 1976).
    Although the complete range of cultivation indicators has not yet been specified (Potter, 1993), individual researchers have tested the cultivation hypothesis in a variety of contexts, including racism (e.g., Gerbner, Gross, MNorgan, & Signorielli, 1982; Morgan, 1986), alientation (e.g., Morgan, 1986) and gender stereotypes (Gross & Jeffries-Fox, 1978). However, the most studied issue in the extant cultivation literature is the prevalence of violence on television and its effects on perceptions of real-world incidence of crime and victimization (see review in Potter, 1993). Numerous content analyses of network television programs have demonstrated that the number of violent acts on U.S. television greatly exceeds the amount of real-world violence (Gerbner & Gross, 1976; Gerbner et al., 1977). In turn, research by Gerbner and his colleagues has shown that heavy television viewers: (A) overestimate the incidence of serious crime in our society, and (B) are more likely to believe that the world is a mean place where people cannot be trusted (i.e., the “mean world” syndrome; e.g., Gerbner et al., 1994).
  • Although there are no current content analyses of portrayals of marriage on American television, a review of content analyses of portrayals of marriage on American television, a review on content analyses of British television revealed that “family roles in general are portrayed as largely conflict-free relationships, with an emphasis on affection and altruism… and a minimum of negative or rejecting interactions” (Livingstone, 1987 p. 253). Ultimately, Livingstone (1987) concluded that “television provides a highly distorted representation of personal relationships” (p. 253).
  • This study sought to explore the association among television viewing and holding idealistic expectations about marriage, as well as holding marital intentions that were immediate (i.e., “I plan to get married soon”) and idealized (i.e., “my marriage will last forever”). The results of several different analyses converge to suggest that, whereas overall television viewing is not a good predictor of either idealistic expectations of marriage or marital intentions, particular television genre viewing is. That is, viewing television programming that focuses on marriage and close relationships (e.g., romantic comedies and soap operas) is associated with each of these constructs. Results of the path model highlight the seemingly powerful role of idealistic expectations about marriage in shaping intentions to marry.
  • The value of incorporating ‘realism’ into the literary, visual, and dramatic arts with respect to reaching and appealing to a wide audience has long been recognized by authors, artists, and playwrights alike. Since the dawn of the television drama in the 1950s, the portrayal of realism has been of similar concern, with the goal of sustaining mass market consumption of television programming. Recognizing the influence of this new medium, the American Medical Association (AMA) created the Physicians’ Advisory Committee for Radio, Television and Motion Pictures in 1955, with the goal of establishing organizational influence and control regarding the medical issues being portrayed on such early television serials set in hospitals as Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare.7In exchange for consultation regarding accuracy in the portrayal of disease, appearance of operating rooms, use of medical instruments, and performance of emergency room procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, television procedures were able to display the seal of approval of the organization in the credits, effectively providing an aura of realism as sanctioned by an authoritative body. It was obvious to the AMA, at a time when media psychology was a nascent science, that the portrayal of the medical profession on television could have significant influence on the public perception of doctors, hospitals, and the practice of medicine in general.
    Although the producers of television dramas have long abandoned with formal, public collaboration with organizations such as the AMA, they continue to employ physician consultants to assist with accurate portrayals of patients, physicians, and hospital settings with the goal of realism in mind.
  • Furthermore, television portrayal of medicine may have a profound effect on patient’s medical knowledge and decision-making. A survey of geriatric patients demonstrated that 42% of older adults named television as their primary source of health information.
  • How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper?
    • Rod Serling, Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval (October 1997), American Masters (PBS: Thirteen/WNET)
  • On the Twilight Zone I knew I could get away with having Martians say things Republicans and Democrats couldn't.
    • Rod Serling, Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval (October 1997), American Masters
  • For the first time in television a writer will have the opportunity to let his imagination take him where ever he wants to. The sky is no longer the limit.
    • Rod Serling in Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval (October 1997), American Masters
  • Most research about the effects of television in sex role socialization focuses upon children, and examines perceptions of sex-typed behaviors or personality traits and tendencies to identify with specific characters. Miller and Reeves (1976) found that children nominated television characters as people they wanted to be like when they grew up. Reeves and Miller (1978) also found a strong tendency for children, especially boys, to identify with samesex television characters. The identification of boys with television characters was positively related to perceptions of masculine attitudes (physical strength and activity level); girls' identification was positively related to perceptions of physical attractiveness.
  • There are fewer studies examining the relationship between television viewing and conceptions of sex roles. Many of these studies, although not necessarily conducted as part of this ongoing research, reflect the theoretical perspective of cultivation analysis that television dominates the symbolic environment of modern life. The theory posits (1) that the more time spent watching television, the more likely conceptions of social reality will reflect what is seen on television and/or (2) that television viewing contributes to the cultivation of common perspectives among otherwise diverse respondents, i.e., mainstreaming (see, Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1986; Morgan & Signorielli, in press). For example, in a study of 3-6-year-old children, Beuf (1974) found that those children who watched more television were more likely to stereotype occupational roles. Gross and Jeffries-Fox (1978), in a panel study of 250 8th-, 9th-, and 10th-grade children, found that television viewing was related to giving sexist responses to questions about the nature of men and women and how they are treated by society. Atkins and Miller (1975), in an experimental setting, found that children who viewed commercials in which females were cast in typically male occupations were more likely to say that this occupation was appropriate for women.
  • My favourite show is The Sopranos. Movies would never have let [David Chase] do that ending. There would have been repercussions. They would have stopped promoting it a certain way and would have said ‘hmm, we tested it and it’s not doing so well, half the audience hates it’, that kind of stuff. But on TV everybody watched it. They might have hated it, but they all watched it and it was up to Chase to decide the ending. He had that freedom.
  • Watching violence in movies or in TV programs stimulates the spectators to imitate what they see much more than if seen live or on TV news. In movies, violence is filmed with perfect illumination, spectacular scenery, and in slow motion, making it even romantic. However, in the news, the public has a much better perception of how horrible violence can be, and it is used with objectives that do not exist in the movies.
  • There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to The Outer Limits.


  • I think TV is sometimes more creatively satisfying because, you know, every week, like say on Samurai Jack, we were able to do something new and different. We really challenged ourselves. Oh, this week, we're going to fight zombies, and so, we'll do a real scary one. The next week, we're going to do a rave, and so we'll do it not as scary and just do more focusing on the dancing and the music. So, that was really fun creatively, but then the speed makes you suffer, because we have to go so fast. We have limited budgets, and so, we just go as fast as we can. Everything that we do is really our first instinct.


  • One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
  • Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.


  • And I'm not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.
  • Two matched series of TV commercials served as stimuli in a study with 52 female undergraduates. One series consisted of 4 replicas of current network commercials. The other series consisted of the same 4 commercials, identical in every respect except that each of the roles in the scenario was portrayed by a person of the opposite sex. Ss viewed either the traditional or reversed-role series. Those exposed to the nontraditional versions showed more independence of judgment in an Asch-type conformity test and displayed greater self-confidence when delivering a speech, thus supporting the hypothesis that commercials function as social cues to trigger and reinforce sex role stereotypes. Findings suggest that repeated exposure to nonstereotypic commercials might help produce positive and lasting behavioral changes in women.
  • I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.
  • TV is a drug, and we as a nation have become hooked.
    • Kenny Werner, Effortless Mastery (1996, pp. 16)
  • What do you get from a glut of TV?
    A pain in the neck and an IQ of three
    Why don't you try simply reading a book?
    Or can you just not bear to look?
  • I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television — of that I am quite sure.
  • Television will enormously enlarge the eye's range, and, like radio, will advertise the Elsewhere. Together with the tabs, the mags, and the movies, it will insist that we forget the primary and the near in favor of the secondary and the remote.
  • I kind of treat moviemaking and TV like the Army, and I kind of always have. Whoever is in charge, is in charge, and if they're going to march you up a hill and get you all killed, that's what you do. You march up that hill. You have to respect that, you have to respect that chain of command. I've done it under directors I believed in, I've done it under directors I didn't believe in. I've done it with executives and on projects.
  • Except for ... people with enough power to tell the studio ‘I’m going to make a movie about dreams and there’s nothing you can do about it,’ ... everything else is driven by marketing, entirely by marketing.


  • I may be vile and pernicious
    But you can't look away
    I make you think I'm delicious
    With the stuff that I say
    I'm the best you can get
    Have you guessed me yet?
    I'm the slime oozin' out
    From your TV set.

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