Television: the Bad or the Good?

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07.12.2009

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If there was no television today, undoubtedly one should have to invent it. Not coincidentally already in the early XVIII century Jonathan Swift wrote: “I am hazy about some superior force that will become extremely popular among vast masses of people, giving a perfect material for calming capricious children and entertainment in wearisome winter evenings.”

The present possibilities of electronic mass media are considerably wider than the “social order” of the English writer and publicist of genius. According to the Russians polled by sociologists of the Public Opinion Foundation, television affords an excellent opportunity to know late news, expand notions and knowledge about the world (44%), take off the weariness, get distracted, take a rest (24%), and see a good film (8%). Besides, one can occupy the spare time therewith, to elude boredom and loneliness — 13% respondents think like this.

True, one likes by no means all in today’s television. Its critics complain that “many programs have low cultural level,” that it “savours scenes of violence and cruelty,” “traumatizes the psyche”. There are serous claims to television series too. By the way, according to the All-Russian Center on Public Opinion Research, they are currently less watched compared with the 90s, when they appeared on our television. And according to data of Boris Dubin from the Levada Center, young audience increasingly turns away from television. A present TV program, he believes, “repeatedly cycling political news plus simple entertainments “for everybody” in form of series and variety shows with a narrow conventional set of singers and humourists satisfy the young audience less and less, though seem to be oriented in many respects just to youth.”

And nevertheless, say what you like, but we can't do without television. According to the poll carried out by the Public Opinion Foundation, 69%, i.e. the majority of the Russians like it all the same, and those who are not quite happy about it, are much less — only 20%.

Are You satisfied with TV’s impact on culture in whole?

  • Absolutely satisfied — 7%
  • Rather satisfied — 26%
  • Rather not satisfied — 37%
  • Absolutely not satisfied — 21%
  • Don’t know — 9%

Data of the Bashkirova and Partners Company.