I wanted to write this week’s blog post on the film “Network”. Because the movie was made years ago, there are many difference between society then and now. The Internet, for instance, did not exist in the 70s. But, whether it is radio (in the ’30s) or TV or Internet or some new form of media, we can all relate to the way users become enthralled in its power.
In one of Howard’s episodes, he mentions the significant role the “tube” plays in the lives of his audience. He says that they are essentially a slave to the “tube”. Everything they hear and see on the “tube”, they believe. This struck a cord with me as an individual growing up in the Internet age. First, I would like to admit that I am somewhat of a slave to both the boob tube and my computer screen. I enjoy TV. It serves as an escape (especially trashy reality TV). Much of what is presented is bull shit, and I try to remain aware of that fact when indulging in my guilty pleasure. Many of us, including myself, now turn to the Internet for all of our information. We rely on the Internet now the way Howard suggests his audience relied on TV then. Howard implies that we have lost of true sense of what is really happening around us. And yet, his message is received so ironically. His intention is to bring awareness and free his audience of the grip on television. But the opposite occurs. His ratings peak, his show has become prime time entrainment. What was his message again…?
In fact, as “Network” suggests, it is difficult to trust any source. There is a scene in the film where Diana scans the newspaper to analyze what made it to the front page and what didn’t. Even the newspaper, a trusted and reliable source, reduced hard news to the back pages of the paper.
The movie forces us to reflect on who we are, what we believe and why we believe it. Do we hold a certain political stance because a news anchor told us to? Do we believe that the Holocaust never happened because some hate-filled blogger said so? What is truly true?