thumbnail of America Street, U.S.A.; 8; T.v.
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
America Street USA. A series of programs produced by radio station gave Jacey FM at Foothill College in Los Altos California. But I think the really hard but the good news. In the city of Sunnyvale California there is a street named America street. Families of many different backgrounds live on the street and in the immediate neighborhood. It's a melting pot of America in miniature. What are the feelings the attitudes the texture of life on America's street. What do these Americans think about America as it is today. For if we are to approach the reality of the American experiment in democracy we must know understand and respond to the opinions of America straight
in this series of programs. We ask you to imagine that you are overhearing a discussion among the residents of America straight as occasionally compared and contrasted with informed opinion from other sources. Today's topic. Television in America. Sacramento in through the valley there 30. 30. Take. Us. To our questions on the topic television in America focused on two points of current and controversy all interest. Does TV portray an accurate picture of life in America and what about violence on TV. Perhaps in a more general sense our question was What role does TV play in the lives of Americans today you know when what he what he went by
was basically to forget the point that right now I think children have been the way you think in this case maybe half an hour. Want carrots. Well sometimes I can say that I watch TV a little bit not too much but I don't go for to see the movie. Well I think actually within the last two years we've kind of the program going to crash where we don't want too much TV anymore. Could I could I just say that I think TV is is really one of the most wonderful things that we could ever have and I think the shots of them and all the wonderful things we see on TV in the
documentaries are fantastic and if they had more of this type of thing then more stimulating things for intellectual type programs I think are much better in the same reduction. Well the things that are really have something to tell have something that is well covered. And I think they do a fantastic job when they want to do it by watching TV I don't want to watch this force. I know this is an excellent job of programming sports events golf and some of these things. Very good question. No I'm not sure that America is supposed to as entertainment entertain entertain and I'm sure the average American family would be entertained as they are this is something that would be violence all over again. The 1969 annual report of the AC Nielsen Company states that over 95
percent of the households in the continental United States own at least one television set at the peak of the TV season in U.S. households averaged well over 6 hours of daily viewing for an entire week. The total was forty three hours and 34 minutes. And the man of the house averaged over 23 hours of viewing per week. Well this just 16 hours to hear when I am off I'm usually very tired but I usually watch TV just. Definitive proof is a relaxed you're giving it helps knowing that it wasn't there. Orders are not part of my language but I would just if I were if I were forced to go home and just sit down and try to make conversation I guess from that standpoint I see what you're getting at I think. TV from that standpoint has become a dominating factor but my god I can't remember them you know. I'm not old enough that I can remember when there was a
time when I was on TV there was radio will always be something but I really don't believe even though two people married to each other or know each other they can just sit down at night Aconite just talk with each other you rather face to talk to talk about you really do. In an article in the September 968 issue of Commentary magazine television critic Neil Compton said the last five horrific years have clearly demonstrated if a demonstration was necessary. The television is no longer a secondary and contingent factor in American life. But part of the very fabric of corporate existence that the TV versions of some major events have come to seem more authentic than the unmediated occurrences themselves is due not merely to repetition and ubiquity but also to the awesome credibility of whatever is transmitted by that unblinking and apparently dispassionate electronic yet common sense is surely right whatever philosophers or communications theorist may say
to urge us to be worried about the distortion of reality or our sense of it that results from the unavoidable selectivity of the medium. Nowadays complaints tend to center around televisions evident preoccupation with violence and its quote white racist bias unquote. Opinions may and do differ about the significance and justice of these charges but not even Marshall McLuhan I like to think would dismiss them as totally irrelevant even if public indignation and ritualistic self incrimination by television executives and producers did not invite comment. A review of the past few months could hardly avoid trying to come to grips with the subject. The triumph of Eugene McCarthy the Tet Offensive the decision of the president not to seek re-election. The death and burial of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and the eruption into riot of scores of American cities were all phenomena which either could not have happened at all before the video age or would have happened in a very different way to have ignored all this in favor of such interesting but
less urgent topics as the motherless family and serial drama and situation comedy would have been easier than trying to come to grips with what I suspect are insoluble problems. Nevertheless it would have been a dereliction of duty in the words of television critic Neil Compton. What does America street think about the portrayal of American life on television. No matter what you think is glaringly inaccurate thing it is the colors that everybody. Buy. Well well no particular profound or superficial life. I was going to mention the family situation which is was
because as an adult you don't have very good chopping him down and I think it does it they're letting him truly down. I've watched this show and tried to be very one of the writers on there. To me they're not getting down to the nitty gritty black men in them are true. It's the black men in America the big. For instance I've noticed how clever the writers are to sleep in a little excerpt of black or something brief look everything into pertaining to life. But they have a smooth smooth out. I guess they are restricted in a way that they feel as though they don't want to offend anyone. One of the things that there are that I dislike about the show is that why do they always have to procreate a black woman as being a weirdo and having no husband and she has to struggle to try to raise a son. Realizing that in this
case of JR The show was written around that the husband was killed in the action in Vietnam. And that she she has this job and. She's doing OK and she lives in this apartment like this but she has to be very careful of the way the word is written and it means not to offend anyone. But you know if you want to really get a down to earth true picture of the black man in America today then he ought to just write a short and just tell her just like I don't think they're offended by that. The real truth the real thing don't don't don't whitewash it with something else. I mean I think that every day life is so calm and so you know think about your day or think about my day routine a little once in a while something exciting happened. But if you put what happens to me and I have our show it be boring everybody. It can't be if it tries to be you know they can they can
definitely show the problems in the world today. You can show us the problems possible solutions. There's a lot of people in other countries say well we think it's like The Beverly Hillbillies and that's a lot of the movies are just like crash for sure. That's all. I think people sometimes say they would lie for it to be this way that it's more of an escape kind of thing and this is when he comes and you see a family and the situation is how you think it might be and then again sometimes in these family situations that. I know my children and seem likely to be the ones in a new situation but I don't think it actually depicts the family. But it can't really show it accurately because it's it would be too boring to show to say the news programs or specials on TV which are quite interesting about the problems of the ghettos with with black people and
I think that that they're very good to show people what's going on as far as calling a solution or being informative that's all. I don't believe the 90 percent of the shows on tv try to be predictive of life. You can't make a fashion exciting show about an average person. I don't believe that I could take average Joe like myself or somebody and surround him without putting fantasy into it once one way or the other I don't doubt or adding space to make it interesting. I could not make an interesting story about about myself or about anybody else because just there are exciting things happening. But we have a show week after week after week two runs consecutively. You could make me watch it more than once in my life. In English my life there's cops around her and there's a little program from that and I think of the news reports what you see is what's happening but you don't
know for example. The fact remains that about 45 seconds of castors about second objective of the protections for going for your life in America. I mean I would love to see a TV cameraman just part of me around all week and watch the things that do need to get approval for the Church of
the the everyday problems I have on my job my home are come to the things I try to do in my community whether I get well I get resentment of whether these are the things that the black man comes in contact with every minute every second of it life I think of a Peavey camera follow somebody around like that and try to make a documentary series and base it on some I think he will really have something to sell to the to the TV world but this make believe makeshift that they're writing you know just picking important people stars and the like it I mean they're not they're not really talking representing the black man in America. Their freedom and I think they're more or less a friend of mine people because they feel that they're well we do it this way here that they're going to get mad and say well that's all I see that's all we hear about them something like that. So actually they have they're really caught in the middle. They're free of the middle class white have really a
problem get all black you see. So you see they're caught in the middle but you know they have to write them according to what the what the you know and what the for this painting for the television time for. I think that there will be I think you want some things on TV you see a black. A black commercial here and there but how many do you see of the average black man kissing the wife with the attached to the commuter train and going to work for the average whites have taken that for granted for all these years. I mean do we see that how many how many take one of the other television shows nice or we show the nice home in a nice suburban setting. Do you see that about like me and I'm it appropriate to portray him in such a position like this you know I don't think it's supposed to be a
hundred percent realistic any more than a picture is complete realism. You take a snapshot and you're not going to. Get the feeling in the cases that you get the picture that was drawn by an artist and by the same token a good writer or a. Good musician or songwriter fiction writer will be able to bring up these things in life and song in such a way that they'll be attracted to a story or movie. I mean but they don't necessarily have to be absolutely realistic that I do think it's entertaining. Yeah I don't think it's well I don't know that it represented mine marriage I mean some of them something like jewelry. Maybe that couple you know but but it is this is that I mean it's you know
you're Since you've got your own child you think that if you look at I think that every child you know it's difficult for. Yeah to make a study something that you always say well I don't like it. So everybody else should like that or I'm just so that's what we all feel I think that's true. We think we really like to you know at the vacation the neighbors to something or the third car or something just because we're sitting around the world you know something that you look at other times and there was a little more than you think about is an accurate picture of the blood from the mirror. I don't know what is going on because that are either one side of the coin or the other. They're showing the you know the so the rounding they better. Some people would be right down to they just can't get up and go anywhere. And so the only place they have to turn is.
And have I have. First it is part of the so-called middle class movies and here's a you know forty five thousand dollar house and three cars in the driveway and everybody's got a new suit and guys go out and play golf all weekend and apparently just no lack of financial. Support and you know that's And to me that's not middle class. So I don't know that I think everything that entertainment had to depict life as it was raised by going to the movies and seeing anything of good looking people with good looking clothes doing things reading you know what I mean in the past few years the problem of violence in America its extent and its significance has increasingly concerned all Americans. The Commission on violence established by President Johnson after the assassination of Robert Kennedy questioned whether violence on television simply reflects the violence in our society or serves to increase violence by dramatizing it. Federal Communications
Commission or Nicholas Johnson testified before the Commission on violence. The television set manufacturer is legally liable for physical damage done by radiation from the set. Why should the network be free of responsibility for the psychic harm done by what radiates from the set. The Department of Health Education and Welfare has begun an inquiry into possible health hazards from violence on television. According to an editorial in The Saturday Review this inquiry will attempt to study the mental well-being of young Americans are regularly exposed to televised brutality violence and criminal. How to. And the Senate communications subcommittee under the chairmanship of Sen. John Open Story of Rhode Island has begun a series of hearings to investigate the possibility of a need for tighter control of the material presented by television. In an article in TV Guide Magazine Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island wrote of the influence of constant exposure to violence which has the kind of immediacy of impact
that violence in television has and which newspaper articles or other media do not. Senator Pell pointed out that the television industry has answered this question for itself affirmatively its financial foundation rests entirely upon the principle that TV does influence the minds and actions of people. On the other hand Herb Jacobs president of TV stations incorporated said in a speech aimed at what he believed were the incompetent criticisms of TV a few years ago the graduate and undergraduate classes at Fordham University were given a paper to do on the problems of modern along with other concerns quite a few of the students named. Television is one of the prime causes of the other evils. When challenged to prove the connection between the two the students gave the professor a stunned look as if to say everyone knows that. Well I for one do not know that true Jack Vance Packard and a dozen or so other prophets of doom know it as of course do most of the college professors
artists and intellectuals they all know it. The only people who are ignorant of the causal relationship are the social scientists and those who have had long experience with mass media the social psychologists are particularly ignorant for they hesitate to make any really sweeping statements about the influence of mass media on national values. The evidence available does indicate that mass media does have some influence in some area. I don't know that it's necessarily not sure whether the other is quite a bit but there's always been a lot of violence. When I was a young kid which is a few years ago one of the Saturday after the movies all the writers of the Martian with Israel gonna come out and shoot down 10 wrestlers and you know there's more media to broadcast it. But they. Don't just pick any more violence and there but this far as far as virus goes
I enjoy a good action picture of it actually but I don't enjoy it they love a program. Fistfight detectives working on cases and stuff like that might differ I think but I think I think the basic problem with this is from the proper relationship to just recognized by others have some effect but I don't think it's come up somewhere. Well I would think that this may have some effect on a family that. Don't spend much time with the children but I think whether it be a
television or a book or whatever the media the child is going to be exposed to it will have to depend on the environment outside of these things to the children. I think children have a tendency to be parents and to. Copy what they see and hear. But. There again I think even at that early age. The family environment is the thing that's going to prevail and the rule and hopefully will write them in their way of living and if they see something that has. Marked this or. Improper I would feel that this would not. Really guide their lives so much as these other influences when they're doing life. Mark Young made a number of
my own stereo not for me there isn't because I didn't have a person of our own not really pirate myself right enjoy seeing a little bit of I was really less uppity and maybe that's the wrong way for people to feel that I just move in me as one that has nothing exciting having right now to think what's happening is exciting and of and what it what virus or isn't it. However they are in the impressionable minds of the youngsters are there should be. I've often thought about it. No real way to do it. Bloggers TVs open everybody a way of screening what the children actually see because the they are Russian boy and they they do have want to see some of their favorite hero TV bang bang get somebody there they go around you to figure somebody don't like it together. They care about. But I think it's really good like. Poor quality. Shows on TV sets that the violence becomes.
It's not. The context the context the revise the meeting out of bounds or not. For example there were some documentaries. On TV Regarding yet more. Some shops name is lovesome. Yes I. Think that has. As much to do with the significance and meaning. That's important in this part of life to fixing it in the context of other natural events and why more should be natural. Events and do it then. I don't think that would be too much. Trouble. True. But you know. Violence. In the ghetto or in war and depicting how the reality of life when in such poor sensationalism
down in the south. And I think it's very bad because too of violence until it was too much shooting quite a bit but to me you have no brain to learn to coach the Warriors were the way it works out as you are ready to go to the Bible doesn't bother you to have ever your tears are banned from watching world war 3 through slowly and your words show the written word. I'm sure the pictures I watch some of them were from middle and certainly you know many different pictures to show but I don't know me I don't think some of it may be a little hole but actually when you come right down to it here and we're rather going to take it the wrong
way or not but actually sure that I think there's too much emphasis put on. For people to lie in order to see the show and I think they emphasize is fine. In certain shows and they may say you for that they are the ones that come late and I think is is interjected in a lot of other shows that should've been a good point came across. On TV and I think you'll find that very much across the kind of background. In other words any time you drink you know you can find some show it is something about a movie or a cereal or whatever. Yes to that question there's too much violence on TV shows. Recently I asked him to cut some of it down but there's still a lot of battles on television I think that have a rude awakening. Oh not yet still as I said before the easy money to face because I think that television sets is the eyes and ears of the world is open to all of the world I think that we have more programs dedicated to the understanding of human beings at the
1939 New York World's Fair General David Sarnoff introduced the at the time a new art form television with a feeling of a humble man but I come to the moment of announcing the break in this country I would draw important better for society it is an art. Would you like a torturer in a troubled world. This has been America Street USA one of a series of programs investigating what Americans think about America as it is today produced under a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by Geoff was born at a radio station in UK FJC FM college Los Altos California.
Interviews were conducted by Robert Wheeler narration and technical production by Bob Berg stresser executive producer was Professor Stuart Rowe. This is the national educational radio network.
America Street, U.S.A.
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-pc2t8m19).
Episode Description
The episode asks, "What role does T.V. play in the lives of Americans today?" and focuses on questions of accuracy and violence. Residents of Sunnyvale, CA weigh in on the topic. Statistics about television consumption and published perspectives on T.V. violence are juxtaposed with clips of interviews.
Series Description
A series of episodes produced by radio station KFJC FM at Foothill College, Los Altos, CA, "investigating what Americans think about America as it is today." Each episode focuses on a topic of contemporary interest. Anonymous responses given by residents of America Street in Sunnyvale, CA are interspersed with "informed opinion from other sources."
Asset type
Social Issues
Film and Television
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Production Unit: KFJC (Radio Station: Los Altos, CA)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-9-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “America Street, U.S.A.; 8; T.v.,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 10, 2023,
MLA: “America Street, U.S.A.; 8; T.v..” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 10, 2023. <>.
APA: America Street, U.S.A.; 8; T.v.. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from