TV's Power to Influence | Recorder
In this excerpt from Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, activist and prolific archivist Marion Stokes first becomes cognizant of the power of television to inform —or misinform—people when she starts appearing on a Philadelphia public access current affairs show in the late '60s. Stokes' realization of the power of mass media to affect public opinion was well ahead of the curve.
- She became aware of the power of television
to inform or misinform people
when she started working on a television program
in the late 1960s.
It was called "Input."
It was a current-affairs discussion program
by the local CBS affiliate in Philadelphia.
They would assemble experts on a topic--
eugenics, Native American rights,
race relations, prisoners' rights--
with perspectives all around the situations
and have it very publicly available
so that people would be able to form their own opinions.
- Completely eradicate--
- ♪ Walking down death row
♪ I sang for three men destined for the chair ♪
- Marion, how do you view the last nine programs,
as we've sought to make this
an open community type of TV presentation?
- Well, I find some people are certainly grappling with
and not quite understanding how it is that we managed
to get these people together in the first place to talk
and not understanding the concept
of an open community of trust
which is big enough
and open enough to include all the points of view
expressed within a context of respect.
- I've been invited to openness by those who really are saying
by that, "I want to open you so that you'll be able to see
that I'm right and you're wrong."
- Mm-hmm. Most people feel that their viewpoint
is being heard, but they find themselves unable
to accept the open expression of the other viewpoint.
- The power of mass media to affect public opinion
was something that she became very conscious of,
and she was aware of how the raw story gets filtered
by the predilections of the people who are producing it.
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