Television: The Most
Influential Media of All?
The Role of Television in American
Politics and Life
November 19, 2008
• How has the rise of television affected the
transmission of information in our society?
• Has T.V. improved or damaged they way
American politics are conducted?
• What role does (and should) satire play in
television political coverage?
• More time to copy notes (16)
• Less notes (12)
• Go too fast (11)
• Too much homework (9)
• Better homework (5)
My Homework Philosophy
• When you graduate you need to be able to:
♣ Have critical thinking skills
• Speciﬁc content knowledge is important, but
writing, reading, and thinking will serve you in
everything you do after high school.
• Therefore, I try to make your homework tie into
♣ That means you will write, a lot.
♣ You will read, a lot.
♣ And occasionally I’ll throw in a more knowledge-based worksheet
• More video
• Explain assignments better
• Less handouts
• More handouts
• Be more interesting
• Easier homework
• More challenging homework
• Move around more
• Tie HW to lesson better
• “Weirdo HW” gets excessive
• Like the use of technology (15)
• Make things interesting (11)
• Video clips (7)
• Lots of notes (2)
• Call on people/keep people involved (2)
• Sense of humor (2)
Military police got back into the compound of the
2.5 million dollar embassy complex at dawn.
Before that a platoon of Viet Cong were in
control. The Communist raiders never got into the
main chancellery building, a handful of marines
had it locked and kept them out; but the raiders
were everywhere else. No one unless identified
were allowed in the street. An Australian MP was
standing guard and firing warning shots into the
air to keep the streets clear. The bodies of two
military policemen who died while they tried to
assault the compound lay near their jeep across the
This is where the Viet Cong raiders broke in.
They sneaked up and blasted a hole in the
reinforced concrete fence surrounding the
compound. They had the thick embassy wall to
protect them. They were inside before anyone
knew. But none of the raiders survived to tell of
their exploit. By 8 o’clock, almost 5 hours after
they broke in, almost all of them were dead. All
in civilian clothes they had been armed with
American M-16 machine guns; they had rockets
and explosives. Their purpose was to apparently
destroy the embassy. At that purpose they did not
T.V. & Vietnam
• Judging from the previous clip, what impact
do you think television had on public
opinion back in the United States regarding
the Vietnam War?
T.V.’s Impact on the Vietnam
• First “television war”
♣“Living room war”
• Initial coverage was very upbeat
♣Not very graphic or violent
• As war continued, violent and disturbing
images were broadcast more frequently
♣Public became disillusioned
♣Helped the anti-war effort
• What role has the media played in the Iraq
What is Satire?
• A type of writing that ridicules the
shortcomings of people or institutions in an
attempt to bring about change.
• Most popular examples, The Colbert Report
and The Daily Show
• Why has satire become so popular on TV
the past few years?
• Is satire a positive or negative means of
critiquing the government?
Political Pundits & Their Shows
• Like radio, political pundits have shows in
which they play up their bias for
• Entertainment + Political Commentary
• Claim to be unbiased
♣Fox = “Fair and Balanced,” “No Spin Zone”
The Take Away Message…
• When you watch something on TV
(comedy, satire, news, political commentary
shows) you need to be able to detect the
bias, decide if it is presenting the facts in a
fair or accurate manner, and make a
decision about how its going to affect your
• Watch a 30 minute news show and
complete the worksheet.
• Be prepared to talk about what you watched
1. What type of mass media is the easiest to
2. Which type is the most entertaining?
3. Which type provides the best
information/is least biased?
4. Which type is most biased?
5. Which type is your favorite?