How do any of the television programs you watch reinforce positive or negative views of government?  Do you think that cartoons, television, movies, music, etc., tend to promote different images...

How do any of the television programs you watch reinforce positive or negative views of government?


Do you think that cartoons, television, movies, music, etc., tend to promote different images of government because thay are different types of media?

Asked on by kimannette

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Good question.  As I pondered the idea of government in each of the media you mentioned (cartoons, music, movies, television), I could think of examples in each which both support and mock or satirize  the authority of government.  So the short (and rather lame) answer has to be that it depends on the cartoonist's, musician's, director's, or producer's point of view. 

I will say this, though--it's much easier to lampoon or satirize all authority, government included, than to praise it.  Look at the comics, and anything political is making fun of the government rather supporting it.  Movies in which there is political corruption or ineptitude are way more common than movies where the President or the politicians are heroes (such as Independence Day).  Television shows are rarely set in the political arena; when they are there is generally a perspective and practice of corruption.  (My favorite TV series of all time, West Wing, is a glaring exception to the rule.) Music which concerns itself at all with such matters is either patriotic and supportive of the country (with rare references to actual political offices) or hating "the man" who's in charge.

It seems to me what is more prevalent in each of these venues is an attitude toward authority--parents, law enforcement, the courts, teachers...anyone who is an authority figure.  They're villified or made to look foolish many more times than they're portrayed as the actual heroes or authorities they are in real life.  And that's across the board in movies, cartoons, television, and music.

An interesting idea to think about to start my morning.  Thanks!

lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I'll chime in with my two cents on this one. When I contemplate your question, I can think of a few shows that influence one's view of government in positive or negative ways.

Satiric cartoon shows such as The Simpsons and South Park can certainly promote a negative view of government. Whenever the workings of government are portrayed on these shows, they are rarely positive (consider the mayor, etc. in The Simpsons).

A lot of the movies in the past 10 years have painted government in an ominous role -- a deceitful bureaucracy intent on destroying the individual (remember The Matrix?)

Some music paints a positive picture. Country Western music, for example, tends to be pretty patriotic, hence when the Dixie Chicks dissed President Bush, they suffered a backlash not only from many of their fans but also from the Country Western music industry.

The show that has the biggest negative impact on me personally with regard to the government is THE NIGHTLY NEWS!  Ha ha. In my state, a candidate for governor has recently been discovered to have plagiarized some writing that he did several years ago. This event has been blown way out of proportion by the media, and I realize this, but neverthless, I hesitated when filling out my mail-in ballot this morning. Should I vote for this guy? Is he dishonest? I know this man personally, however, so I made my decision based on my own knowledge of his character, not what is appearing in the media. did make me hesitate.

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