Synthesis Essay

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Synthesis Essay




Synthesis Essay


Television in the contemporary society is associated with all the societal evils as some assume that it has abetted the corruption of morals in society. This is true from a single perspective. However, television has been a means of showing the world of the societal changes all of which are attributable to modernization.


Neil Postman is considered as vocally aggressive in his writing, in Amusing Ourselves to Death as part of a dedicated issue on media ecology. He is of the view that television entertainment is merely a modern day “soma” whereby the consumers’ rights are forgone for exchange of entertainment (Postman, 1985). Essentially, he is of the view that television is only limited to certain ideas. As he states, “forms excludes content”, he elaborates that a medium can sustain only a defined level of ideas. He illustrates by print typography, which he defines as society’s rational argument, which is different in entirety from television medium.

Hence societal aspects such as religion and politics are reduced to mere “news of the day” by the various media and specifically the television (Postman, 1985). Such elements are reduced to mere commodities, which are packaged and sold via the television screens. Hence, information depicted in television as news is biased and placed in favor of satisfaction of the consumer needs. Thus, television has played a significant role in the depreciation of quality of information aimed at the views merely due to the need to give consumers what is assuming instead of what is essential to the consumers.

From the writing, it is evident that the quality of information has been replaced by the need to satisfy the entertainment needs of consumers. According to Postman, television news have assumed positions as entertainment programs given their themes, interruption by commercials, music, individuals who are sociable and beautiful aimed at captivating the audience. The visual images are also used to market lifestyles led by the people in the television companies. This is evidenced by political quest whereby individuals assume power because of their ability to present themselves on television programs and talk shows (Postman, 1985).

Quayle agrees with Postman on various aspects in relation to the effects of television on society. He agrees that the modern television news is simply a new form of entertainment. However, he adds that he has contrasted opinions about the medium that is television. In essence, Quayle is right, as he states that media has evolved into a different form of contemporary media in comparison to what Postman defined as media and specifically television media. He agrees with Postman that the increase in entertainment has resulted in a subsequent increase in what could be considered as “junk” programs (Quayle, 2009). He adds that television could not support public discourse in entirety, but some aspects of television according to him have the potency to result into great public discourse.

He differentiates his argument from that posed by Postman as separated by the word “all” in reference to television programs. He states that not all programs are insufficient is the propagation of public discourse. This is according to Qualley is evidenced by the numerous shows aired simultaneously by the various cable networks which contain public discourse such as business shows, speeches by presidents and politicians. Such television programs are not what could be defined as entertainment as they aired with the aim of propagating public discourse. He also gives evidence of the recent financial crisis television airings. These television news could not be termed as aimed at merely entertaining the audience but were solely meant for educational and informative purposes to the audience (Quayle, 2009).

Television has aided greatly in the various public discourses such as improving the economic knowledge of society through business shows and cable news channels. Technology has also played a significant role in the evolution of television and its role in the propagation of public discourse. Products such as technology-based gadgets like smartphones have enabled increased access to television material across the world (Quayle, 2009). He however, tends to agree on the idea that television programming is getting worse in the contemporary society in comparison to the past. It is getting worse in the context of propagating information and entertainment to consumers or audience.

Thus for ecology of media to be substantiated according to Qualley it must be dynamic in nature given the high rate of communication and evolution of the same. This is due to the need to keep up with the changes present in the various communicators used in the media world. He essentially assumes a point of duality while relating to the issues brought forth by Postman. He accepts the rapid changes in the media world and specifically in the television world. On the other hand, he states that media has some positive aspects such as the propagation of public discourse (Quayle, 2009).

Paul Grabowicz states that a majority of journalists in the world of media assumed the profession because of the passion for storytelling. Hence, they were all drawn by the need to provide entertainment and not to provide information to the audience. He indicates that the audience is drawn in by the presence of high quality of entertainment irrespective of lack of information. This according to the author is par of the human brain, which cannot be downplayed or assumed (Grabowicz, 2012).

Digital media in the contemporary society according to the author could affect the print media or narrative as he calls it negatively. Such has resulted in an explosion, in conveyance and movement of information in the society. The “explosion” of information as he defines has resulted in content that is shallow as people are bent on providing raw information and data (Grabowicz, 2012). This could be attributed to the high accessibility of information and digital media, which enable people to, access various types of information that they are able to communicate with others in the society.

Some view that the internet and other digital media as reductionism media that are aimed at reducing the narrative media. However, this new form of communication or media could be used as a platform for experiential and multidimensional storytelling to the audience. The new media platforms could provide people with avenues fro improving their creativity in the development of captivating stories for the audience (Grabowicz, 2012).

He is of the opinion that the various forms of storytelling could be assumed and enhanced with the use of digital media. Essentially a story could be divided into the various segments, which could in turn be propagated via use of various media such as texts, video, audio, photos and graphic images. Creation of stories into the identified formats enhances accessibility of such knowledge. Accessibility comes into play in that various individuals have access to the provided formats of storage of the reading material. Hence, this is a form of giving power to the people through knowledge (Grabowicz, 2012).

In addition, he emphasizes of the need to develop the stories or narratives to fit into the various needs of the audience (Grabowicz, 2012). Audience needs vary mainly due the ages of the audience. Stories should be fitted into the various media forms with the consideration of the message or information contained in a story. This is the main determinant, as different consumers are looking for different content and information in the narratives. In conclusion, media has undergone transformations majority of which could be attributed to technological advancements. Other aspects, such as globalization and modernization, have played a significant role in the growth and changes, in modernization.


Grabowicz, P. (8th September 2012). “Multimedia Storytelling” The Transition to Digital Journalism.  

Postman, N. (1985). Amusing ourselves to death: Public discourse in the age of show business. New York: Viking

Quayle, M. (2009). “The Method of the Medium is in Motion” Across the Legacies of Hope and meaning Conference. New York: Fordham University.

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