chapter  8
18 Pages

The Vast Wasteland: Television

BySteven Starker

The basic principles upon which television would operate were suggested as early as 1880. The transmission technique involved a rapid "scanning" of each element in a picture, line by line, frame by frame. During the 1950s, the character of American television gradually became established as certain programming genres emerged. The soaps, for example, successfully moved from radio to television. The critics of television, Jack Gould noted, already were predicting "the death of culture," despite the fact that its social effects would be largely unknown for a generation. Surveys of parental reactions to television, aimed at proving the medium harmful to youngsters, were already appearing regularly in newsletters and journals. Individuals already concerned with the evil influence of television soon found much to fuel their fears. The content of television programming was becoming a political issue, with many angry voters calling for action. Television violence remained in the political arena for many years.