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The Use of Media by Politicians
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Postman observed that the use of television as a tool for entertainment was gaining popularity in political campaigns. He discovered that the use of television was used so that the public could not understand the lies that politicians used to attract the favor of voters. It was also observed that people were transforming from the culture of the word to the culture of images. Thus, a politician who did not have the best way of convincing voters could easily do so by using television to attract voters. Postman also discovered that technology continued to improve; people were becoming less interested in discourse but the amusement of the politicians. This implies that a politician who used certain word to amuse the public was regarded as being the best candidate while his policies were regarded the best. In this book, Postman ensures that he illustrates the epistemology of television more visible by showing that the use of television towards gaining information is against typography’s manner of knowing as well as illustrating that it is not superior to it. He argues that the use of television is a contradiction in a term as it speaks only concerning entertainment, which is less serious, less weighty discourse- the type of discourse required for politics, religion and education. The author describes television as being relentless in transforming the culture of the people to that where every area is regarded as a venue for entertainment. The use of electronic information spearheaded by television but being overtaken by computers has transformed the way we perceive the world and the way we do any kind of public discourse. In the past, discourse was more valuable than content. Currently, people involve the use of sound bites, and the use of discordant images derived from a range of contexts and with style while in the past people relied on substance. This has contributed to loss or winning of elections by politicians not because they do not have the right content, but because of the manner in which they appear when they say it. All these effects are demonstrated in the Huxley’s ‘Brave New World's and Orwellian 1984. Initially, there are oppressive regimes that have controlled over the world while after elimination of oppression, people allow themselves to be dominated by amusement and entertainment and pleasure so that they believe they are not oppressed.
According to postman’s flashback of the 19th century presidential campaigns, politicians would engage in one on one debate in front of the public and speak at length concerning an issue that a president would need to tackle if he is elected by constructing logical arguments as well as criticizing his opponent’s claims, by being analytical about them in a sincere manner. This is because the minds of people were set towards a literary form of communication compared with pictures and films that a person cannot differentiate whether it`s fit or not. An example of this case is the debate between Lincoln and Douglas that illustrates the shift in the chasm between discourse in the past and as it is presently. In this debate, there was counter arguments between Lincoln and Douglas for three hours concerning an issue in which speech was given for one hour, a half hour for responses and a half hour for arguments. The most fascinating thing about these debates is that they were shorter and debates of the forms that were normal during those times.
In addition, advertising was carried out in a literary manner with the intention of making those who are in doubt understand. In addition, news was only local before the invention of telegraphy. However, following the invention of means that allowed transfer of information from one part of the world to another at the speed of light, the Age of Exposition started declining and the Age of Show Business started making its way in the media. In this new age, it is possible for news to come from everywhere which results into irrelevancies to peoples’ requirements. This is the state of affairs at present. In this age, facts are used to make other fact irrelevant at the fastest speed possible without the opportunity to do evaluation. In the Age of Show Business, pictures are used to create the illusion of context. For instance, if a train has crushed somewhere and a person reads it in the news, he is able to understand that the train is meaningless to his life. However, if he sees the picture of the train, he will associate it with the one that has crushed. This only results into amusement. Thus media has been used to illustrate a refuge of a culture that has been challenged by irrelevance. Currently, people are used to the information they receive being placed in a pseudo-context that they cannot recognize or make no sense at all.
It has also been observed that the Americans are the most entertained people and the least informed people in the Western World. For instance, poll statistics suggest that about 70 percent of the Americans do not know who the Secretary of State is or who the Judge of the Supreme Court is. The use of television has created a different meaning to being informed by creating a kind of information that can be referred to as disinformation. That is misleading information that is not relevant and misplaced. It is a form of information that makes one have a sense of getting some information but makes one have no knowledge concerning an issue. This does not imply that television news is intended to deny the Americans coherent, complete and detailed information concerning the world. It implies that when news I put in the form of entertainment, this is the result that always comes into fact. In addition, saying that television news is used to show entertainment and not to inform, there is a serious topic of deprivation of authentic information. It implies that there is a considerable loss of sense of meaning of being informed. It argues that ignorance can be corrected, but the problem is when we accept ignorance to be the knowledge we require.