Term Paper: Television and America

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[. . .] (Kaid 2003)

It is through sound bites as they are now called that many national campaigns are won and lost. This tactic has even become pervasive in the local television market, as commercials for candidates and issues that have substantial financial backing have become more and pervasive in the political process. In many ways the changes that have occurred express the media hyped image of the humanity of individual candidates. Even in its very first of this type of modern application television gave the country foresight into its impact in the future.

Stevenson made it easier for the Eisenhower campaign by refusing to participate in this type of electronic campaigning. Although Stevenson did produce television commercials for the 1956 campaign, he was never able to overcome Eisenhower's popularity. (Kaid 2003)

Since that time the interplay of American politics has been broadcast not only all over the United States but all over the world. Many would say that the influence of the United States abroad, both politically and socially can be directly linked with the pervasive television coverage of both the American lifestyle and American politics.

Another very important political and social movement that can be directly linked with the media of television is the civil rights movement. It was through the imagery of television that the major events of the peaceful and not so peaceful interplay of civil rights events met the American population.

American television coverage of the Civil Rights Movement ultimately contributed to a redefinition of the country's political as well as its televisual landscape. From the 1955 Montgomery bus boycotts to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, technological inno- vations in portable cameras and electronic news gathering (ENG) equipment increasingly enabled television to bring the non-violent civil disobedience campaign of the Civil Rights Movement and the violent reprisals of Southern law enforcement agents to a new mass audience. (Everet 2003)

It is through this imagery that individual American's even those to young to have lived through or to young to remember them recall the people and event of the civil rights movement. After many years of separate but equal and racial segregation the American population was divided from its population of minorities. Having little if any exposure to the events and lives of those people who were the most effected by segregation many Americans were insulated from their situation, through geography or choice.

King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on 28 August 1963, at the March on Washington rally. King's speech not only reached the 300,000 people from civil rights organizations, church adults from across the country into the deep South during the so-called "Freedom Summer" of 1964. (Everet 2003)

Without such imagery, such as the sit in's at lunch counters and the civil rights march on Washington it is doubtful that progress, at least legal progress would have advanced so far so quickly. People, who were then, moved to alter their own belief systems and further challenge the segregation and subjugation of people, heard the messages of the civil rights movement, through the images of television. It can even be said that some of this imagery deeply effected the cause of the South African blacks, subjugated by segregation regardless of their status as the largest proportionate group in the country.

In closing it is clear through only a few examples of fundamental moments that have occurred across the country through the media of television this country would not look and sound as it does today.

It is doubtful that the Philo Farnsworth as a young farm boy of fourteen would have visualized the impact his moving picture transmission would have upon the United States and the world. Yet, the reality is the background news program that will probably be airing in every reader's home tonight. The impact that television has had on politics, civil rights and international Americanization is immeasurable, for the good and bad the world will never be the same.

Mary Bellis "Television Invention Timeline."2003

http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_television_timeline.htm

Anna Everet "The Civil rights Movement and Television."

2003 http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/C/htmlC/civilrights/civilrights.htm

Lynda Lee Kaid. "Political Process and Television." 2003

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/P/htmlP/politicalpro/politicalpro.htm

Paul Schatzkin "Television is 75" 2002 http://www.philo75.com [END OF PREVIEW]

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