This last week my students wrote an essay taking a position on whether television has had a positive effect on presidential elections. I came across this post by Roy Peter Clark from the Poynter Institute that speaks to this well. In it he cites Edward R. Murrow, Aldous Huxley, and Thomas Jefferson among others. It's amazing how timely these thoughts are as we are bombarded with stories about image and our current presidential candidates:
Here's Murrow: "A society of the wise does not need television. Democracy, I suggest, cannot do its work well without it. Supposing that freedom is more important than safety, then the tyranny of the wise is only less objectionable than the tyranny of the unwise. The choice we face is between a despotism of the ruthlessly ambitious, not of the wise, and of an intelligent democracy." In other words, citizens need to develop a form of critical literacy that allows them to encounter the political words and images on the television screen and not just see them, but see through them.Growing Up Online) might be another doom and gloom look at new media tools. Hopefully there will be a range of opinions.
As in so many things, education is the answer.
Original image from "Wikimedia Commons" of Edward R. Murrow