Thursday, May 31, 2018

Seeker explains how television entertainment can shape our political opinions

Today is National Autonomous Vehicle Day, but I'm not celebrating it.  Instead ABC's cancellation of "Roseanne" has prompted me to look at another technology, television — in particular, how television shapes our political opinions.  Seeker explains in TV Shows Are Changing Your Political Opinions Without You Knowing It.

We all know the news can be biased, but what about entertainment TV? Can mindless, seemingly-apolitical shows actually change our opinions?
The answer appears to be yes, as the description quoted a press release on EurekAlert: People who watch entertainment TV are more likely to vote for populist politicians.
People exposed to entertainment television are more likely to vote for populist politicians according to a new study co-authored by an economist at Queen Mary University of London.The researchers investigated the political impact of entertainment television in Italy over the last 30 years during the phased introduction of Silvio Berlusconi's commercial TV network Mediaset.
The press release struck an even more relevant note in its conclusion.
Dr. [Andrea] Tesei said: "Our results suggest that entertainment content can influence political attitudes, creating a fertile ground for the spread of populist messages. It's the first major study to investigate the political effect of exposure among voters to a diet of 'light' entertainment. The results are timely as the United States adjusts to the Presidency of Donald Trump."
Hence the image I used to illustrate this entry — Trump isn't the only person to learn a lot watching television.  All of us do, whether we're aware of it or not.

That's it for May.  Stay tuned for the first post of June coming up at or just after Midnight.

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