The television has played a critical role on how the society behaves. Most often than not people tends to believe and follow whatever they have watched, perceiving that it is indeed right. Nowadays, the television keeps us informed with plenty of helpful information. We are informed through the television of the latest news, weather, and information which are important in our daily lives. Needless to say, television is the dominant medium of a media-dominated age. Like the atom bomb, it arrived at midcentury and spawned intractable questions about technology and human values.
Nuclear fission altered the nature of world power; television has likewise altered the nature of power but has had far greater impact on everyday life (Scheuer, 2001) . The television often acts as an almanac, dictionary, and an eye into the world around us. It informs us of the most recent happenings around the world within seconds and at the comfort of our own homes. But the question remains, is television capable of having its limitations? Nowadays, we can watch almost anything in the television.
A study shows that when we watch television we see people who have certain occupations, who dress in certain ways, who use certain kinds of language, who have certain body types, who do certain things, who makes certain facial expressions, who pursue various goals, who live in certain kinds of houses, who have certain moral codes, who use certain techniques to solve problems or achieve their goals. Thus, when we watch television programs we are always learning something-even though we may not realize that this is the case (Berger, 1987). Television is in the convenient position of being able to influence people when they are most vulnerable.
Open-mindedness can often be treated as gullibility and therefore used as a tool to manipulate people’s beliefs. When we watch something we absorbed it even unintentionally. It can change our judgment. Thus, television is a very powerful tool in disseminating information and molding the society in such a discreet way. The power of media has come to the point that it can be able to build or destroyed the society, its people and its culture. Sometimes media is also caught up in ratings, cash and the bottom line that other quality factors are thrown aside.
Language is altered, the truth is stretched and the flesh is multiplied. Unfortunately, most Americans eat it up every day. There is a problem that society must deal with. This problem is that as long as there are people who will tune into these tabloids news shows and accepts the information that they receive as truth; these shows will be getting exactly what they want and will continue to confuse the public for entertainment value. When people watched a show, they usually strive to be as beautiful and intelligent and successful as their favorite TV characters, this of course is impossible, as these lives are false.
This desire to achieve this perfect “TV” life often leaves viewers feeling disappointed and with low self-esteem. This affect also is increasingly true for children; they believe most of what they see on television is true to life. Since these children spend a considerable amount of time watching television this makes them particularly vulnerable to the negative affects of it. It is, however, important to keep an open mind and not let any personal prejudices influence a decision on an important topic. Though agreeing with an idea simply to be accepted by others in society is questionable.
In addition, television does not only have its disadvantage but more than anything it can pave a way to improve the economics and cultural aspects of a country, if the television is to be used accordingly. Often times, the media also uses this tool on increasing the awareness of those people in far away places like provinces. Televisions portrayal of society does not necessarily have a negative effect, it can be used to teach lessons in morals and produce admirable role models for children to look up to. Television shows depict a mostly good view of morals, there is violence but the good guys always win.
Hard work, perseverance, courage and kindness are usually depicted as admirable and desirable traits. Parents are usually shown as loving and children are shown as respecting towards their parents. All these subtle lessons will allow children to pick them up and practice them later in life. Television is an excellent educational instrument, it can teach lessons in everything from geography to mathematics. Schools often use television as a way of educating students because on television, they can demonstrate many things that cannot be done in the classroom.
Television also enforces better health attitudes to children, it promotes the penalties of drinking and driving and encourages children not to smoke or do drugs in a variety of campaigns. However it contradicts itself by glorifying things such as drugs and violence in prime time shows. Television is the most powerful teaching tool, unfortunately in most cases it has not been intended to teach and therefore its lessons are sometimes misleading and damaging. Television shows oftentimes tackled current issues that sometimes busy people are not aware of. With the tight schedules of people, they tend not to read newspapers.
Without this media tool, people would had a difficult time keeping abreast of what is happening on their surroundings. Even when it is not intentionally designed to teach, it carries to messages about social interactions and about the nature and values of groups in the society that can influence attitudes, values, and actions among its viewers. It serves as a source of information about the world, whether viewers seek entertainment or enlightenment (Huston, 1992) For instance, take the case of Oprah Winfrey. She has been named by various respected magazine as one of the most influential women in the world.
But how did she manage to influence millions of people despite the fact that she came from a subordinate race throughout the history of the United States of America? How can Oprah do something which even the most influential leaders failed to do? President Bill Clinton may have political power; Microsoft founder Bill Gates may have economic influence; but Oprah Winfrey spend more time on television both listening and talking to both ordinary and extraordinary people, and that gives her a larger audience than either the world’s top political leader or its dominant industrialists (Page 1Lowe, 2001).
This could have been the factor why Oprah stands out. Another factor that can contribute why Oprah has become a sensational is that she was not only able to influence Americans and women but she even reached out to the people of other countries through her television show, book and movies. She was able to transcend the boundaries of race and gender. Oprah Winfrey’s gift for connecting with the audience is rooted in her honesty; and she refuses to compromise on that virtue (Williams, Mink, 2003) The degree of Oprah Winfrey’s influence in the American Society is overwhelming.
Not only was she a billionaire, a sensational TV-show host but more than that, she has established herself as a role model for everybody. This can be attributed to the fact that Oprah open up herself to the public, subsequently the public will open up to her. Unlike many actors or TV new anchors, she was able to admit that she has been exploited physically and sexually. Through this many people has been able to give her their sympathy and in the process she has gained their respect, as she become successful. Many people feel that they can identify with her and that she is not as prejudiced as some of the TV hosts were.
People look at Oprah with that kind of mystified looks. They follow everything she says, closely weighing her reasons. Newspapers and radio all talks about her opinion on a certain topic. And whether the society admit it or not, her stand on certain issues affects the way the society thinks and reacts. Different personalities from different sectors dreams to be her guests. This is because when they guests on her shows, they are sure to be watched by millions of people not only in America but in other countries too.
Thus, popularity always seems to be at hand. This is also true for authors, It is said that most authors dreamt to be invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Exposure on this television show can sometimes propel a book onto bestsellers list (Deval, 2003). Oprah has been seen as a role model and inspiration to all of people. Although she was born with all the elements that can sustain failure, she was able to surpass it and in the process she has become the epitome of the rags-to-riches cliche.
She has inspired many people because she reminded us that people can achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves. She talked about any topic without hesitation. On one of her episodes, she has gained many critics when she apparently denied that Jesus in front of millions of viewers. This has create waives of chaos, because the church and the Catholic society has reacted violently to what Oprah Winfrey has done. To analyze, if this is done by some other TV-show hosts, the issues may not be as controversial as it is with Oprah.
The reason is simple. Oprah has million of followers, subsequently, the church is anxious that people might reconsider their faith on Jesus Christ. Hence, a lot of propaganda has been used to discredit her. The effect of these kinds of situation might reveal to us how much influence does a television figure has. She can undoubtedly question something that has been around for centuries. And that was only within a few words in just a span of several minutes. So this is what television has brought to us.
The power for those who can use it and confusion for those who is not sure of what they believe in. Such scenarios have happened several times in the history of television. Many people have been lead to believe numerous lies, which has turned the society into a more unstable and complicated situations. Take the examples of what has happened during the 9-11 bombing in New York City. The media has been able to disseminate what has probably taken placed from the airplane until such time it collides with the twin tower.
With that, the whole world got to be aware of terrorism attack. Numerous countries have tightened their security and anti-terrorism measures were implemented to the highest level they could do. That is just an example of the worldwide phenomenon that can happen when news are aired over television. With Oprah’s case, she might have been under a lot of criticisms now for what she aired about Jesus Christ. Hence, we can assume that there have been a lot of people who supported her idea and there has been some who might have reconsider their beliefs.
With her reputation as a just and respected television host, sometimes people trust he words even without reconsidering. She has placed herself as one of the idols of the contemporary American society. She has paved her way by her distinct motivation to help other people realize their dreams and their place under the sun. Her ongoing program that concerns her race has been significantly mentioned to a lot of respected magazines and newspapers alike. This could also be one of the reasons why she was the most esteemed member of the Black American society.
Through her works, she was able to open up the eyes of the world that despite coming from a race that has been oppressed for time immemorial, she was able to stand up and be known to the whole world. Oprah’s programs now are focused on helping her race and all the women. Although the show identifies the failures and limitations of the American Dream for women and African Americans and, to a lesser extent, for the lower classes, in the end, it recuperates this classic mythology by affirming that self-actualization is indeed the key to social and economic success (Harris, Watson, 2007).