Chief Beatty visits Montag, who is ill from emotional confusion and guilt. Beatty, having seen this reaction in firemen before, takes the opportunity to explain some of the real history of the book ban, explaining that society became dependent on fast news and entertainment, allowing them to absorb lots of trivia while being ignorant of actual, factual information.
"School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451,Google Books)
This is also reflected in television programs, which have no substance, just fast emotional responses and bright colors to distract the mind. As society increases its speed, both physically and psychologically, the need for books, a necessarily longer and more involved medium, decreased. Finally, the government realized that they could more-easily control society by removing books altogether, allowing dissenting opinions and increased information to become submerged underneath color, noise, and easily-distracted superficial thought processes.