tvSmarter – Life in a TV Nation

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Why Are Parents Getting Arrested for Letting Their Kids Go to the Park Alone?

Kids, a photo by Stella Yodo on Flickr.

Is your child ready for grade one? According to a 1979 checklist there are number of things to look for, such as:

“3. Can your child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or policeman, where he lives?

9. Can he be away from you all day without being upset?

8. Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?”



So in 1979 (not that long ago) it was considered normal for a 5 year old to be able to walk eight blocks unsupervised to the “store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home…”

Now, parents are being arrested for letting their kids go outside unsupervised:

“Working Mom Arrested for Letting Her 9-Year-Old Play Alone at Park”

“Nicole Gainey Was Arrested For Letting Her 7-Year-Old Son Walk To The Park Alone”

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How TV Pacifies Us and Subverts Democracy

TV Nation by Munchurian
TV Nation, a photo by Munchurian on Flickr.


Bruce Levine has done an excellent job writing an overview of the problems with TV. I especially appreciate his points about TV being used as a pacifier for inmates and patients.

Parents also appreciate the pacifying effects of TV, which is why kids spend more time watching TV than they do in school. How TV effects viewers (cognitively, socially and physically) really is an important issue that is all too often neglected, so it was heartening to read his article in, and


Here are a few highlights:

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Libraries – Do They Matter?

With the internet becoming the major source for research and entertainment, are libraries even relevant any more?

Definitely yes, for a number of reasons.

For young children, libraries are essential for developing a love of reading. With so many schools grimly focused on testing and improved test-scores, reading-for-fun has too often been taken out of the school day as an inefficient use of time. But as Dr. Krashen has demonstrated in his excellent book “The Power of Reading”, kids become skilled readers when they learn to love reading, that is when they read-for-fun. The secret of reading-for-fun is having a peaceful place to read, and having access to an array of fun books to choose from. This happens to be a perfect description of a library!

In fact, studies back this up:

“Elley found the availability of books is a key factor in reading achievement. He studied the reading achievement of children in 32 countries and found that factors which consistently differentiated high-scoring and low-scoring countries were large school libraries, large classroom libraries, regular book borrowing, frequent silent reading in class, and frequent story reading aloud by teachers. The highest scoring countries typically provide their students with greater access to books in the home, in nearby community libraries and book stores, and in the school.”

“Krashen found a significant positive correlation between each (U.S.) state’s 1992 fourth-grade reading comprehension scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and the number of books per students in school libraries (p.<01) as well as library use (p<.01), regardless of how much money the state spent on education per pupil. The findings suggest that for money spent on education to effect reading scores it needs to be invested in library books.”

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Do Violent Words Cause Violence?

Do violent words cause violence?

Yes, violent words do cause violence, especially when they are amplified by the power of mass media.

An individual spewing hatred and arguing for violence may or may not inspire those around him to commit a violent act. But those spewing hatred and arguing for violence through the mass media reach many, many more people, some of whom are going to be mentally unhinged. Also, generally speaking, someone who inspires a mass following (high ratings) will generally have much more charisma and persuasive abilities than the average person, thus giving their violent rhetoric even more power.

Here are a few examples:


Dr. King was especially adamant that Wallace and other Southern politicians who inflamed racist sentiments were complicit in the era’s trail of blood. On September 16, 1963 — the day after four African-American girls were killed in a church bombing in Birmingham — King wrote

The governor said things and did things which caused these people to feel that they were aided and abetted by the highest officer in the state. The murders of yesterday stand as blood on the hands of Governor Wallace.

The evidence seems to support King and others who argue there was a connection: As Raines notes, 12 people were killed in civil rights-related slayings during Wallace’s first term between 1963 and 1966 — a product not only of Wallace’s escalating rhetoric, but also his famous unwillingness to prosecute the murder suspects.

And then there was Dr. King himself: James Earl Ray, the man eventually convicted for shooting King, was greatly influenced by Wallace and his agenda, even moving to Los Angeles to volunteer in Wallace’s campaign headquarters in North Hollywood.


Most people had never even heard of the Tides Foundation until Glen Beck decided to vilify them:

As John Hamilton reported, alleged California highway shooter Byron Williams – who reportedly told investigators that “his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU” – repeatedly assailed financier George Soros. Fox News host Glenn Beck, whose show Williams touted, has also attacked “evil” Soros and Tides, often weaving them into his conspiracy theories.

Tides Foundation and Soros frequently mentioned by Beck. From the first day of Beck’s Fox News program to July 18, the day Williams was arrested, the Tides Foundation has been mentioned on 29 editions of his show. In most of those instances, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those mentions occurred during the week before Williams’ shootout, and three occurred during June — the month of programming Williams highlighted to journalist John Hamilton. Since the start of his Fox News program to July 18, “Soros” has been mentioned on 85 programs – nine times in June alone, according to a Nexis search.

In vilifying Soros, Beck has claimed that the Tides Foundation acts as a vehicle for Soros’ ruinous plans to enact an extremist left-wing agenda.


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