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Neil Postman And The News Essay

693 words - 3 pages

The news is a great source to gain information about things going on around the world. In Amusing Ourselves To Death, author Neil Postman says that the news is not used to inform, but is used as a source of entertainment. Postman wrote that the news became entertain through the music, the length of the stories and the commercials shown during the news. Postman was not entirely correct about the news. News channels use music, the length of stories, and commercials for a purpose that is not entertainment.
Every news channel starts out with some type of up tempo music that makes those watching feel intrigued, happy, or safe. Music played at the beginning of newscasts are used to intrigue those watching. It makes people want to watch what is on and listen to the stories that are being told throughout the newscast. The that is played after each story is used as a tool to make news watchers feel happy. Stories that are given in the news are mostly ...view middle of the document...


Newscasts share many different stories about a wide variety of topic, because of this the stories can’t be long. Postman talks about the average story being around 45 seconds long. He is correct when he says this. The purpose of this is to allow several different stories to be shared. If newscasters were to share every detail of every story, then each story would take at least five to ten minutes to tell. Newscasts only spend around forty five seconds because that allows them to give those watching the essential details, but not bore them with facts that are not actually important to the story. Shorter stories allow for more stories to be told, which allows for viewers of the news to gain more knowledge of things going on.
During the news, commercials breaks are taken periodically. Postman believes that commercials are shown to make the stories seem less scary or less important. (104). This is not the case because commercials are used to help fund the news, not to defuse the stories. Television programs are costly to produce. Companies pay to have their ads ran on television, which helps fund programs, such as the news, that help to inform citizens about what is happening in the world. Commercials aren’t played to make any story less scary or important. Commercials usually don’t have anything to do with the story that is being told. If commercials were being used to make stories less serious, they would make an attempt to lighten the mood about the story the newscaster just told.
Amusing Ourselves To Death is a book written by Neil Postman that talks about television programs. In this book, Postman says that the news is not used as a source to inform those watching, but used as a source of entertainment using things like music, the length of the stories, and commercials. Newscasts do use all of theses things, but they are used for a purpose and not the purpose of entertainment. News channels use music, the length of the stories, and commercials as tools to share things happening in the world. Newscasts could be seen as entertaining, but the main purpose behind them is to spread awareness of things going on in the world.

Works Cited

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves To Death. New York: Penguin Books, 2006. Print.

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