Big Brother and the TV: Analog vs. Digital. By Seana Sperling

Posted on Sunday, 1st April 2012 @ 01:16 AM by Text Size A | A | A

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By Seana Sperling

I see no marked difference between Digital TV and Analog TV. Analog worked quite well, so why the rush to Digital? The half-year build up by the media, touting a sharper, clearer image seemed anticlimactic when Digital finally replaced Analog. In fact the real changes that I noticed were the remodel of News sets using jewel colors like azures and purples and as if in unison, all the female anchors began wearing solid jewel colors instead of the darker more conservative hues that most had worn in the past. It seems that Digital TV is as beautiful as the Emperor’s new clothes.

My former 32-inch Analog TV provided as good a picture as my current 19-inch HD TV. In fact the elimination of Analog only created more garbage for land fills and I frequently see old Analog sets sitting forlornly at the curb. Did we get a better picture? Well, I’m still squinting at subtitles. (Granted, I need new glasses. If only I could get a good pair made in this town, but that’s another story.) With my new HD TV, I can only pick up a few of the regular channels that I used to watch and some have spotty reception. (Interestingly, eight or nine Christian channels, that I never even knew existed, come in stunningly clear.)

Why did we have to change? Some said that it was a conspiracy to end free TV. It was a coup by the manufacturers of Digital TVs and cable/satellite companies to increase sales. Others said it was the advent of Big Brother and that we would be monitored through our sets like in George Orwell’s classic 1984. While others took a more scientific approach and claimed it was because of the overload of all the different media out in the ether. There was not enough bandwidth or dog breath or something.

I have my own conspiracy theory. It seems this could be a tool for censoring what people see, since Digital transmission can be controlled via satellite. Say a certain faction wanted to run a defamatory news report about a whistleblower, but did not want that person to see it. They could simply cancel the signal to that neighborhood for the duration of the newscast. This could also be used to restrict reports on important national or International events. With Digital, certain people have the ability to shut down communication.

Some may call that a paranoid idea, however, there has been creeping censorship of news stories in the U.S. since the late 1970s. Two formerly censored articles from The Progressive: Curbing the Chemical Fix, Organic Farming. The Secret Is, It Works, Dec. 1978 pp. 16-25, By Daniel Zwerdling and Who Owns America? The Same Old Gang,  June 1978, pp 14-19 By Maurice Zeitlin. These are only two examples in the long list of prohibited articles and books.

Censorship was even more apparent with the departure from true War Reporting, which began with the glamorized and sanitized reports of Desert Storm. The fact that they were giving the war a title should have tipped most of us off. I recall one mainstream news report that showed footage of a soldier standing in the foreground with a backdrop of explosions miles away. We did not see who or what was being bombed. In contrast, the war footage in the 1960s and 1970s showed the carnage of the Vietnam War (which was the catalyst for the Peace Movement).

Next we had the “in your face,” censorship via our Embedded Reporters in Afghanistan and Iraq and as a result most of the footage aired was very biased. If there is no carnage aired, there is no outrage. Fortunately there have been some gutsy journalists who have gotten their stories out there otherwise we would never have heard about what happened at Abu Ghraib Prison, the lack of W.M.D.’s and other important news stories.

The change to Digital could mean that now certain news stories could be easily pre-empted via satellite and the television studio might not even know that the program was not being aired outside their studio. News Reporter: “Honey, did you see my interview with the head of the EPA?” Partner: “No mi amor. Channel 5 wasn’t coming in at all.”

So, why aren’t the majority of us questioning things when they embed reporters, change to Digital, create The Patriot Act, the NDAA, etc.? We can’t be shot for asking questions, can we?





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