Four Arguments for the elimination of Television

by Jerry Mander

is one of those books I would hardly recommend for anyone. I must admit I didn’t read it to the end but read two thirds of it which means I have earned some right to say something about it.

The argument that TV makes it possible to have the masses have almost the same thoughts or be exposed to the same story or image can be said of newspapers or any media that has a wide circulation. An argument can also be made that Jerry makes his people robots, that they can’t chose when to hit the off switch on their TVs or whatevers.

Jerry’s argument against TV is not limited to TV programming but includes the TV as a medium. And it does seem to me that he would not make allowance for using TV to watch youtube or any docuseries. TV is bad and that is the end of story. If he was writing the book today, would he make the same argument against smartphones and many social media apps that have the potential to be addictive. They may not be harmful.

Since I had not made an appearance on the world stage in 1978, I don’t know how ads were done then but as we speak, there is very important function that ads play in our lives. Without ads, I wouldn’t know whether HP has produced a better comp with much better graphics card and that I should replace my workhorse or maybe where I can bury myself in unhealthy meat burger with honey, cheese, onions and I don’t know what else they put in it. While on ads, an argument can be made that some ads cause harm. Should they be allowed to play on TV? I would say no. But that’s me.

TV is useful for education. And I think it can serve democratic ends though this can be difficult when the TVs and newspapers are owned by oligarchs who may not be interested in democracy or as we have seen with the American media engineering consent for war among the citizens.

Jerry talks of bias embedded in the TV medium but i think bias cannot be avoided in any medium. It can be reduced through objective reporting or allowing for the airing of dissent. And there is bias even in newspapers, books and internet articles.

The only thing going for the book is that it is easy to read though I don’t think it needed to have so many pages. His message could have still been argued in fewer pages.


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “Four Arguments for the elimination of Television

  1. Neil Rickert says:

    I agree with the idea.

    I pretty much gave up watching TV, somewhere around 30 years ago.

    Yes, I still watch some, because my wife turns it on. But I prefer to listen to radio news and to read. TV distorts by putting too much emphasis on what gives good pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we are lucky in the UK with our TV though we didn’t let our children watch ITV which was the main channel with adverts. The BBC does seem to show some bias but I sometimes wonder that, since both the left and the right complain of bias, maybe they have it about right. There are some excellent documentaries, dramas and programmes for children so I can’t agree with your writer that TV is inherently bad.


  3. I watch TV all the time but nothing happens on it. Perhaps I should I turn it on next time I watch it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. judyt54 says:

    Ive been a fan ot TV since my dad brought home our first set, a Dumont, in 1949. yes, that’s a LONG time. And I was a faithful follower of it until we got our first computers, and when I went online for the first time in 1996 and someone answered me back, I was lost, lost.
    I still watched it, sporadically, but then someone decided that TV would not only be pay TV it would be cable, and the set itself was so complicated to turn on, at that stage I said to hell with it.

    end of story. While it lasted, it was great fun, but I think we have moved away from it, into another place. For good or not, I don’t know. But there is a LOT of it…


    • makagutu says:

      When I was growing up, there was no TV in our house and I don’t think anywhere nearby. There was no electricity you see & solar panels were not cheap. My first interaction with computers I think was when I first got to college. So in a way I have grown without TV and for some reason I have not become such a great fun. I enjoy books more


    • basenjibrian says:

      I watch very little television. Mostly with friends, and since they are “social isolating,” the Sunday dinners-and-Westworld sessions have been on pause. 😦 He even gave me his Netflix password, but by myself, I just can’t be bothered to sit through an hour or more.

      Now….the internet was a terrible, terrible thing. 🙂 Without the Internet, how could I be arguing politics with New Zealand Quaker or a Kenyan Architect or the divine midget and future Maximum Leader of the American Empire (inspired by the divine)?

      YouTube is a time sink. I am far too old for it, but….


  5. I enjoy TV a lot. And also I love books.


  6. john zande says:

    Free-to-Air is fantastic in Australia. It’s horrible in every other country I’ve visited/lived in. What I want is to chose my cable package, and pay accordingly. Sadly it seems the big providers aren’t interested providing that model.


  7. […] via Four Arguments for the elimination of Television — Random thoughts […]


  8. I used to have a t-shirt that said “Television ate your children”. It got a lot of comments.


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