Television - Who's Pushing Your Buttons?

by Doug Payton

When Dan Quayle remarked in a speech that the example of Murphy Brown, a TV character, choosing to have a baby as a single mother was not the kind of message that should be sent to our children and teens, he was lambasted by the liberals in the press and in Hollywood. Cast members of the "Murphy Brown" show did the media blitz, publicly laughing at Quayle for even suggesting that what people saw a fictitious TV character do would somehow influence them.

"It’s only a TV show."

Fast forward the VCR to one year later. Time magazine, in an article in their Father’s Day issue finally admitted, meekly, that "maybe" Dan was right; a family with a father and a mother both involved in the rearing of their children is not simply another choice, but a better one. Studies bear this out time after time. And while the substance of his remarks were vindicated, Quayle’s shot at Television is still regarded by liberals as laughable because, after all,

"It’s only a TV show."

Neilson Media Research says that the average person watches TV 28 hours a week, or 4 hours a day. There is some television watching going on somewhere in the average household for 7 hours and 12 minute a day; a rate that hasn’t change appreciably from 10 years ago (when it was 7 hours and 10 minutes). How can this much TV viewing, this much influx of ideas and values, not have an influence?

When liberals aren’t talking about how TV doesn’t influence, they inadvertently make a good case for how TV does influence society when they talk about other topics. Hillary Clinton has referred to the phenomenon known as the Big Lie; if you hear something told to you enough times over a long enough period of time, especially without much dissent, you start tending to believe it. TV is rife with liberal values, from premarital sex and sex outside of marriage, to the "evils" of authority, to the radical feminist agenda. They are presented as good and positive over and over again, while counter examples are few and far between. Hillary was attacking conservative radio when she mentioned the Big Lie, and how it’s influence can be far-reaching. I wonder why that same influence somehow doesn’t extend to liberal television.

It was Al Gore who praised the show "Ellen" for "forcing" (his word) American society to begin to accept homosexual behavior. If "it’s only a TV show", then this statement by Gore and the accolades lavished upon Ellen Degeneres by Hollywood should be pointless, and they of all people would supposedly know better. It’s Hollywood, after all, that claims that a simple TV show couldn’t change anyone’s mind. But when you look at what they do instead of what they say, their actions speak volumes: Television influences, and the liberals in Hollywood are using it to it’s full potential.

And if you still think television has no influence on it’s viewers, ask an advertising executive how much a minute of commercial time goes for during the Super Bowl, and why someone would pay those exorbitant amounts for time on a medium that doesn’t influence people. And ask why, if TV has no influence on it’s viewer, that 15 minutes of every hour of TV is saturated with commercials, some as short as 15 seconds, and some that simply have 3 frogs burping out "Bud"-"weis"-"er". If they have influence, the other 45 minutes of programming certainly have far more.

So what’s Murphy Brown doing these days? Well, this season Murphy is dealing with breast cancer, and the show’s writers and producers are using her situation to try to raise awareness of this issue in America and get women to do more to prevent this disease. It’s a laudable cause, and I’m so glad to see that Hollywood can use the influence of television for good purpose.

Oh, wait. It’s only a TV show.

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