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The Power of Television

Television is one of the single biggest influences on American culture. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of American households have one television; sixty-seven percent (67%) have two or more. According to the National Association of Broadcasters, the average American watches nearly nine hours of television every day. 1The average American child spends more time in front of the television set than any other activity of their waking lives. 2

Americans rely upon television to keep informed about local, national, and international events, more than any other source of information.3 Television news, therefore, is the most powerful factor in determining what issues we debate in our communities and what we hold our political representatives responsible for.4 Neither tragedy nor triumph register with most Americans if they are not reported on television.

But how news shows cover issues and politicians is not the only influence TV has over our political life. Television is the single reason our political campaigns cost so much money. 5

Television also has a powerful impact on our families and our children. Families rely upon television as the principal source of entertainment.6 Parents rely upon television as the primary babysitter to their children. Indeed, in many homes television is a child's first window to the larger world. Television can be a positive educational tool, or a value-destroying influence.

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