Tuesday, October 27, 2020
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


The idiot box

I don’t watch T.V much. Any given evening spent channel surfing usually results in a bout of existential depression brought…

By Amanda Stutt , in Blogs Chick Politiks , on February 12, 2008

I don’t watch T.V much. Any given evening spent channel surfing usually results in a bout of existential depression brought on by witnessing cat-fights on reality shows and celebrity/paparrazi fiascos that, to me, are representative of a massive decline in social values. My mother called T.V the ‘idiot box’, and we were rarely allowed to watch it growing up. Hence the failure to identify with the medium. But since the primaries began, I have been tuning in every night. The other night, after Mitt Romney dropped out of the race, I happened upon the Glen Beck show quite by accident. I vowed in a previous post not to take anymore shots at prominent women journalists. I didn’t say anything about men. This show is emblematic- watching made me realize how sensationalism and fear-mongering in the media has contributed to rampant paranoia in the public.The headlines, “Terror Watch”, and “Immigration Crisis”, juxtaposed images of Muslims and Latinos next to these headlines, and the dialogue was intent on fostering an environment of fear and mistrust. As a journalist with a university degree I am equipped with a critical eye and so recognized the implicit messages: be afraid of muslims because they could be terrorists and migrant workers from Mexico are a threat to both national security and economic stability. Neither of these implications are true, but many television viewers will see these images and sensationalized headlines and accept on a blind faith in the all-knowing and all powerful media that this is true. These are seeds that once planted in a viewer’s mind, can grow into prejudice and prejudices are usually deeply engrained, and passed down from generation to generation.On this evening, the T.V- induced depression was almost palpable.