The TV offers something to most of us and is a normal part of our modern world. Those who choose to have no TV are the odd ones out, as the majority are big into what the TV brings from the outside into their home.
The TV was invented by John Logie Baird in 1924. It was originally known as “the televisor” or mechanical television and had its first screening in London in 1926. (1)
In December 1996, United Nations General Assembly announced 21st November as World Television Day.
The UN website tells us that this day is not so much a celebration of the tool, but rather the philosophy which it represents. Television represents a symbol for communication and globalisation in the contemporary world.
The TV was recognised by the United Nations as a ‘major tool in informing, channelling and affecting public opinion’. (2)
We are a world that loves watching a screen and with technology we get all the sounds to make anything come to life and feel real. Some do the box at home and others watch TV on their smartphones, tablets and computers.
As kids it may be a form of entertainment.
For the elderly it can be a way to pass the time.
For teenagers it could be a way to distract themselves.
For adults it could be used to wind down or relax.
For many it is because we are simply just plain bored.
So what exactly is our TV communicating?
How is TV influencing us all in our present day?
What are we using the television for?
What is the TV informing us?
How is the TV affecting public opinion?
What is the channelling doing to our body?
How much TV do we watch?
Do we stick the telly on just out of habit?
Are we a movie buff?
Are we addicted to certain programmes?
Can we imagine life without the TV?
Do we watch telly before bed?
Do we use television to help us fall asleep?
Do we get carried away with emotion watching sports?
Do we use TV for computer games?
Do we put the box on just for company?
Do we sometimes talk to the TV screen?
Do we get involved in what we are watching?
Do we eat in front of the telly?
Do we drink alcohol when we have the TV on?
Is TV our best friend?
Is watching TV better than admitting we are Bored with Life?
Do we have TV’s in every room?
Does our TV take pride of place in our room?
Do we miss the TV when we can’t watch it?
Do we use the TV so we don’t have to spend time with the kids?
Do we need our TV when we don’t want to deal with our issues?
Do we love the TV because we can shout and yell at it?
Watching TV like all other media is a way of keeping up to date with what is going on around the world. It can offer us education about things we may not be aware of. We also have our favourite movies, programmes and whatever interests we personally have.
So have we stopped and asked the WHY questions?
WHY do we need Television?
WHY is a TV high on our list even before other household contents?
WHY do we love to eat in front of the TV?
WHY do we not register what we have eaten whilst watching TV?
WHY do the adverts get us eating more foods than our body needs?
WHY do we get excited or emotional watching a screen?
WHY do we get involved in the characters on Television?
WHY do we put the TV on just for company?
WHY do we need the TV on to help us go to sleep?
WHY do we like TV as a background noise?
WHY do we like staring at a screen just to pass some time?
WHY has the TV become a necessity in modern life?
WHY are there hundreds of TV channels?
WHY do we make TV a priority above other important things in life
WHY do we moan about the TV, but carry on watching it every day?
WHY do we record in advance our favourite programmes whilst on holiday?
WHY do we record and watch stuff over and over again on TV?
Have we ever stopped and asked if what we see on TV is affecting us in anyway?
Are we aware of how our body is feeling before, during and after watching TV?
Does our breathing change during a movie?
Does our mood change whilst watching TV?
Is our state of mind altered by what we are watching?
Do we absorb what is going on in our favourite movie or TV show?
Do we use the TV to avoid feeling what is really going on in our lives?
Do we use the TV to numb our day down?
Do we use the TV to vent our frustration and anger?
Do we use the TV to feel connected in some way?
Is TV our comfort in life?
Whatever our answers, this presentation is saying that it could be possible that we may not be totally aware of what TV watching is doing to our body and how much we are absorbing what is on the screen.
Do we have a Responsibility in anyway when we choose to watch TV?
Do those who make the TV programmes have a Responsibility?
Do our Television Broadcasting Companies have a Responsibility?
Good Night and Good Luck is a film set in the 1950’s when Senator Joseph McCarthy was carrying out his communist ‘witch hunts’.
CBS TV journalist Edward Murrow was determined to report real facts and enlighten the public with the support of the staff and producers at CBS. They had to defy corporate and sponsorship pressures and go ahead with examining and exposing the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy.
As a direct result of this exposure on TV, senator McCarthy is brought before the US Senate.
The legacy of Edward Murrow and the news team at CBS during this time have remained to this day a marker of the standard for high quality journalism.
In the film Goodnight and Good Luck, the following transcript is at the beginning –
“This might just do nobody any good. At the end of this discourse a few people may accuse this reporter of fouling his own comfortable nest and your organisation may be accused of having given hospitality to heretical and even dangerous ideas.
But the elaborate structure of networks, advertising agencies and sponsors will not be shaken or altered. It is my desire, if not my duty to try to talk to you journeymen with some candour about what is happening to radio and television and if what I say is responsible, I alone am responsible for the saying of it.
Our history will be what we make of it and if there are any historians about 50 or 100 years from now and there should be preserved the kinescopes of one week of all 3 networks, they will there find recorded in black and white and in colour, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live.
We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have a built in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this but unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognise that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it may see a totally different picture too late”.
Edward R. Morrow – 25th October 1958
So what was this honest TV journalist spelling out to us back then?
WHY did he feel it was his duty to report Truth to the world?
Have we bothered to pay any attention to his words?
Can we agree when he says “our history will be what we make of it”?
Does this mean we each have a hand in what history will end up being?
What has changed since 1958 in the television industry?
Why have we continued to use Television in full Technicolor for even more ‘evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live’?
Can we agree that this man nailed it back then when he said ‘we are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent’?
Would it be true to say we today ‘have a built in allergy to unpleasant and disturbing information’?
Have we bothered to recognise or be aware that ‘television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us’?
If after half a century, as the most intelligent species on earth, we happen to be at the same place, then what does this tell us about our real evolution?
This is one man speaking the truth publicly using the media platform of CBS back then to broadcast to us, standing to lose everything and yet nothing stopped him from presenting this simple truth.
In his public reply speech to McCarthy, Morrow says the following at the end –
Having searched my conscience and my files, I cannot contend that I have been right or wise. But I have attempted to pursue the truth with some diligence and report it, even though as in this case, I had been warned in advance that I could be subjected to the attentions of Senator McCarthy. (3)
Do we have any upfront, ‘say it as it is’ TV journalists like Edward Morrow today?
Or do we have them but they are afraid to lose their career so they hold back?
Are those who subscribe to the TV industry the problem or those who run it?
In other words, is it us demanding distractions to delude us, the real problem?
WHY do we not have straightforward honest TV journalism that delivers Truth?
WHY do we need our decadence, escapism and insulation from reality?
WHY do we demand this from our Television companies who simply want the mass numbers?
At the end of the film Morrow delivers a power pack wake up call for his audience.
“I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are then history will take its revenge and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. Just once in a while, let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. Let us dream to the extent of saying that on a given Sunday night, a time normally occupied by Ed Sullivan is given over to a clinical survey on the state of American education and a week or two later – a time normally used by Steve Allen is devoted to a thorough going study of American policy in the Middle East.
Would the corporate image of their respective sponsors be damaged?
Would the shareholders rise up in their wrath and complain?
Would anything happen, other than a few million people would have received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country and therefore the future of the corporations.
For those who say people wouldn’t look, they wouldn’t be interested, they are too complacent indifferent and insulated, I can only reply – there is in one reporter’s opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost”.
This instrument can teach. It can illuminate and yes it can even inspire but it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it towards those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.
Could it be possible that what Edward Murrow is saying is true and that television can educate and inspire us?
Is he saying that it comes down to what we request and demand?
In other words, the TV networks supply what we ask for and so the future of these corporations is in our hands.
What would TV be today if we had Edward Murrow leading the way as a reporter of Truth?
What would our world be like if there was a moral compass that is unwavering inside each journalist?
What if there were journalists who are not afraid of losing their job because they reported pure Truth?
What if we had journalists only reporting the real facts and no sensationalism existed?
What if we brought an end to the decadence, escapism and insulation from reality that TV gives us today?
Are we aware of the influence that Television maybe having on our lives?Do we care about the impact that TV maybe having on the lives of others?
How serious is it when a man is strangled and the body is placed in a bath with acid? He said he was playing out what he saw on a cult TV program. He lost all sense of reality and his moral compass was not on the radar. Is this OK? (4)
WHY do we just read and accept what we see or hear on the news and do nothing, say nothing and just carry on with our lives as if it has nothing to do with us?
Is this going to stop us subscribing to Cult TV?
Have we all heard about Cult TV?
What is it?
Who is behind this stuff?
Does this exist because we want it?
Is the regular stuff not cutting it, so we want extreme stuff now?
WHY is Cult TV described as attracting a fanatical following?
WHY do Cult TV shows get a small group of people obsessed?
WHY do we need fascination to entertain us?
WHY do we love extreme excitement?
WHY do we need fiction, fantasy and horror to fuel our passion?
Could it be possible that we crave TV because something is missing in our lives?
Could it be possible that the amount of TV hours spent each week and the quality of what we are choosing to watch, may have an effect on our general health and well-being?
(1) McGoogan, C. (2016, January 27). Who Invented the Television? How People Reacted to John Logie Baird’s Creation 90 Years Ago. Retrieved November 14, 2016 from:
(2) (n.d). World Television Day 21 November. United Nations. Retrieved November 14, 2016 from
(3) (2016). Edward R. Murrow. Response to Senator Joe McCarthy on CBS’ See it Now. Originally Broadcast 13 April 1954. American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank. Retrieved April 24, 2017 from
(4) (2016, November 14). Stefano Brizzi Guilty of PC Gordon Semple’s Murder. BBC News. Retrieved November 16, 2016 from