Robert MacNeil began his article the, The Trouble With Television, with the overwhelming statistic that the average television viewer squanders one thousand hours per year watching television programming (MacNeil). One thousand hours is a tremendous amount of time squandered watching programs with unchallenging content, this time could be better spent earning a college degree or perhaps earning various languages (MacNeil). I concur with MacNeil that television does discourage concentration and applied effort for the reason that viewers spend an excessive amount of time watching unsophisticated and undemanding programming rather then engaging in activities that will further develop the viewers critical thinking.
In MacNeils article he asserts that viewers waste an excessive amount of tome watching television that is brief and unchallenging. He also adds that programmers deliberately create brief and rousing programs in hopes of achieving the goal of exposing viewers to their advertisements so that a profitable outcome can be reached. MacNeil informs his readers that approximately thirty million adults are functionally illiterate in America, meaning that thirty million adults are unable to read past the fifth grade level. He does not go as far as to say that television is to blame for this outcome, but he does
believe that television contributes significantly to the misfortune. MacNeil also insinuates that viewers are attracted to simple and quick resolutions for many of todays complex problems in these one half hour shows.
Complex problems and quick, easy solutions are often found in these ine half hour comedy sitcoms such as Home Improvement. In a recent episode eighteen year old Brad (the eldest son) confronted his parents about his plans to marry his girlfriend of two months. Brad was convinced that he and his girlfriend wer in live and that was all that they needed to survive. Jill (Brads mother) turned to Wilson (their neighbor) for advice. He gives a simple resolution to a complicated problem: reverse psychology. Within a matter of four minutes the problem had vanquished, the young couple would wait until they had both completed four-year at a commendable university. Although quite witty, this simplistic one half hour comical sitcom is not challenging and it does not develop the viewers critical thinking because it does not break down the problem and explain a sophisticated and real resolution. Real resolutions are not given in these types of short sitcoms because real resolutions are lengthy and do not keep viewers watching.
News programs do offer a wide array of information, but because of time complications topics are not discussed thoroughly. Viewers are receiving thirty-second brief summaries about world events that have been stripped of important information because their is simply not enough time. Unfortunately, the viewer is not attempting to retrieve any additional critical information. By not retrieving any additional in-depth, viewers may be submitting themselves to one side of the story and are more susceptible
to take the same view as the reporter because the reporter chooses what information to give to their viewers.
Professional sports on television are an unchallenging type of programming that does not cause viewers to engage in activities that will challenge their intellect. Take ice hockey for example, basic knowledge is learned from the program that the sport is played on ice, six players are on one team, and a puck enters a net to score a goal. However, this knowledge is not on a sophisticated level, a sophisticated level would be if the viewers understood the game plans and techniques used to achieve that ultimate goal. This time could be better spent joining a local hockey league where game plans, rules, and techniques are thoroughly discussed and put into action because this would allow the viewer to engage in an activity that would further develop their knowledge of the game.
I have been discussing programming; however, the most basic and simplistic of all programming has yet to be discussed. I believe that most talk shows particularly The Jerry Springer Show are aimed towards shocking its viewers rather than benefiting them. I must admit that the content on the Jerry Springer Show does shock me, it shocks me to know that Americans today can be so ignorant and