Does TV tell the truth? Is what we see on television real? And who decides what appears on our TV screens each day?
Elemental as they might seem, those are big questions to answer in a half-hour show -- especially when you're directing those answers at kids. But that's what Linda Ellerbee does in "Special Edition: It's Only Television" at 5 p.m. today on the Nickelodeon cable channel. While Ellerbee comes up short in her final answers, the 25 or so minutes leading up to them includes some of the most socially responsible analysis TV has ever done on itself.
This "Special Edition" -- the second of three public affairs programs aimed at kids -- goes about it with three segments. In the first, producer Gary David Goldberg admits that shows, like his "Brooklyn Bridge," are there to attract an audience to watch commercials. TV is an "audience delivery system," he says.