How is television updating and informing?
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Television is the most powerful and most easily accessible instrument of mass communication, reaching almost every person in developed countries and being an common object in our households and daily routine. Through television, we can get immediate news coverage of events that happen at the opposite side of the world from us. This tendency has increased with the development of cable TV and the birth of television networks devoted uniquely to news coverage such as CNN (Cable News Network) or Sky News. So television has an incredible potential to update and inform so much so that cultural critic Marshall McLuhan emphasized that
human societies are shaped by the nature of their communications media; thus, the media through which society communicates has more impact than the content of the messages being relayed. He argued further that recently developed electronic media—particularly television, which has become the dominant form of communication in the twentieth century—are significantly altering contemporary lifestyles and initiating a new stage in human development.
This quote from the introduction to the Enotes pages on McLuhan criticism also points to a more problematic side of the relationship between tv and information. As McLuhan famously argued, "the medium is the message". This means that the content of the communication is shaped and altered by the medium that conveys it. We should remember, for example, that television is also a business and has to observe some practical aspects if it wants to make money (see third link). These limit the depth of reporting and sometimes its accuracy, rather going for the most sensationalist elements in the events to report.
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