Objects that Helped Change Our View of the World

March 15th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

CNN posted an article the other day on how three particular objects changed our lives.  Those three objects are television, interstates, and internet.  It was very interesting to see that interstates were one of the items on the list.  Interstates certainly did help improve a network of shipments of goods and provide families and friends a freedom of visiting each other at anytime of the day.  However, without any doubts, television and internet did create a phenomenal change in our society.

The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the .com was on March 15th.  Who knew that a three-letter word and a punctuation mark would create an immense impact on the society?  Jose Antonio Vargas wrote a fabulous article this past week explaining the history of internet.

Internet and television both have been tools to help us define our perception of the world.  While they have been helping us be armed with a great amount of information, they also have been indoctrinating us with myths that force people to believe that they are factual information.  The writer of the CNN article clearly stated the issues that the television has created in our society:

The executives who ran the newly formed television networks had an enormous amount of power. Their decisions about what to put on the air determined what people would be talking about the next day. They, in essence, controlled what people would laugh at and when, what people would cry over and when, what would anger people and when it would anger them.

According to an article on MSNBC.com, many television viewers are continually misinformed about the health care reform; 79% of the Fox News viewers and 39% of CNN and MSNBC viewers said the health care reform would lead to a government takeover, which is completely false.  Another instance of perpetuating misinformation is when Glenn Beck on Fox News made claims that President Obama is a socialistCNN allowed Mary Matalin to falsely claim that former President Bush inherited the terrorist attacks from former President Clinton.

Television has certainly influenced our voting decision in elections.  According to a research study by Stefano DellaVigna and Ethan Kaplan, The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting, Fox News has been helping shift the non-party-affiliated voters to Republicans’ viewpoints:

Based on this evidence and on micro-level audience data, we estimate that exposure to Fox News induced 3 to 8 percent of the non-Republican viewers to vote for the Republican party. This estimate is consistent with field and laboratory evidence of media effects on political beliefs and voting. This suggests that the media can have a sizeable political impact, especially when a politician controls a substantial share of the media, as Berlusconi does in Italy.

Internet has been creating as much negative impact as the television too.  Wall Street indoctrinated their readers that President Obama and his supporters wanted socialized health care and equated to the Canadian Single-Payer system. While Rush Limbaugh could be heard on the radio in the car, he could also be heard on the internet; He fed misinformation several times to his audience regarding the global warming as he claims that it is a hoax.

While it seems that there are so much negativity on how internet and television altered our lives, internet and television can still be an invaluable source of instant information as long as the audience/readers are reasonably intelligent enough to do their own research to form educated opinions.

1 Comment

April 15, 2010 at 9:11 am

I definitely agree with you…

And I’m not surprised at interstates being life changing – they made life easier , and helped a lot more..shortening trip times , making a lot of more materials being distributed easier.

But since Greece was slow in the uptake of interstates I still can remember our trips before them.One intended destination was reached a little later because we had found ourselves in points of interests.Like stopping at that village because it had breathtaking view.Or possibly noting it down for future trips.Living life with its unexpected surprises.

Now life is so much faster , always hurry to reach destination , not seeing little gems.Both are good.But sometimes the other is needed.
Few weeks ago I had to visit family , and at some point of the trip , the bus had to get off the interstate as it was under repair.And all the childhood memories rushed back , with seeing the lake spark under a glorious sun.Seeing ducks trying to hide or flying.It was an hour drive back to the past , when we were again on the interstate I felt a bit bummed.

As for the .com silver anniversary , and in general the internet…it definitely was life changing.I do remember a life before the internet ( it wasn’t wide spread in Greece till 95 I think , as internet connections back then WERE expensive. ) but I cant think a life without it anymore.Or on the rare moments I wonder what if I didn’t made the decision to be involved on the net , or to research for what I wanted to do , I’d be still the same ? I have friendships over the internet both in Greece and abroad – some I have met , some not , but I care about them and they made my life richer.I wouldn’t know a lot of things if I was without it.Or developed new interests.Or kept contact with my parents and extended family so much easier as I’m deaf and I can’t phone them as easily as anyone could.
Also – with social networking , internet use has exploded more.I still marvel on the impact of them.

As for television – news from all around the world, learning new things…yes it had a profound impact – but I don’t know if it’s a good impact , as sometimes we see the world skewed..

I better get off my *late build* soapbox.

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