The American Psychological Association recently discovered what many have long recognized: Television does not accurately portray the real world. The medium remains the "vast wasteland" critics dubbed it back in the 1950s.
The APA report, "Big World, Small Screen," reiterates much that was already known about the viewing audience. The average child watches television three hours a day and will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,000 violent crimes on television by adolescence. Low-income people watch television the most. People with less education watch more than the highly educated; blacks watch more than whites, boys watch more than girls, women watch more than men and the elderly watch more than any other age group.
What they watch, the researchers noted, is carefully crafted not to reflect their life experiences but rather to mesh with the sensibilities of a relatively small slice of affluent young adults who have enough money to buy sponsors' products. "So long as the primary goal of programming is to lure audiences to advertisements, the needs of many demographic and ethnic minorities will not be met," the report concluded.