The paper explores how dangerous such an important mass media as TV can be, if too many power is concentrated in just a few hands, and how our perception of reality can be manipulated by the selection and manipulation of information presented on TV.
Table of Contents
The development of television
.. p. 4
Globalisation of the TV market
and its effects
. p. 5
How legislation can influence
the quality of journalism
.. p. 6
How television can be abused
Rupert Murdoch´s media monopoly
and its effects on American
television and society
. p. 17
The following term paper deals with the development of television from its early beginnings in the 1920s up to now. My attention focuses on the powers which influence what is shown on TV and the analysis of methods they use in order to manipulate the public opinion. Outlining the success story of this important means of mass media at the beginning of the first chapter, I will then explain the effects of globalisation on the TV market. Considering the example of commercialised American television, I will demonstrate in which ways the extreme competition between TV companies and their struggle for the top ratings has influenced the quality of TV programs. In the second chapter I will deal with "media control" and show how television can be abused by political powers in order to direct the public opinion. After describing the general effects of such influences I will finally return to the example of America and analyse the social and political effects of Rupert Murdoch´s "media monopoly" in the Unites States. Finally I will explain the methods of mass manipulation employed by his Fox News Channel, which are outlined in Robert Greenwald´s film OUTFOXED. Neil Postman´s book "Amusing ourselves to death", Noam Chomsky´s pamphlet "Media Control" as well as Klaus Plake´s "Handbuch der Fernsehforschung" were important sources of ideas and quotations for my work.
The development of television:
During the nineteenth century the industrial revolution, the formation of new nations and the development of infrastructure and traffic had strong effects on society. Travelling became much easier and cheaper while the means of transportation became faster and faster. Even the media had to adapt to the growing spatial mobility of the people and so the challenge was to find a new mean of communication which was able to make information available wherever you are.
First scientific steps towards an electronic media were made at the end of the nineteenth century, when Guglielmo Marconi invented the transmitting antenna, which made primitive forms of wireless communication possible. In 1901 the first Morse code was successfully transmitted from Great Britain to Canada. During the first World War this invention was also used by the military forces (cf. Plake 2004:13).
The electronic tube was a further achievement which improved the capacity and performance of the transmitter. This technical advance finally lead to the development of the first radio stations. In 1920 the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) started broadcasting the first radio programs and soon others radio stations were founded (cf. Plake 2004:13).
While the radio business flourished, television was still in its infancy. In 1928, after a long period of unrealised dreams, concepts and initial discoveries the RCA and the inventor Vladimir Zworykin put the first electronic TV-set called 'Kinescope' and shortly after the first electronic film-camera, the 'Ikonoscope' on the market. All their mechanical predecessors had failed because of their lacking picture quality, but Zworykin´s revolutionary technology lead to an immediate growth of the TV market. In 1930 in New York the first TV station was founded, which frequently...
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