Objectivity

Objectivity on television was first called into question after the Quiz Bowl Scandal in 1956. One contestant decided to publicly state that the producer of the show Twenty One instructed him to purposely lose. After this became widely known, other game show contestants declared that they too were instructed to intentionally lose the games. Ratings of the networks hosting the game shows quickly plummeted, causing the game shows tocbs_logo_2 be cancelled. Viewers obviously decided that the television networks were not being objective by showing biases so clearly.

After viewers lost their faith in the usefulness and honesty of television networks, the networks attempted to regain the sense of objectivity, or lack of bias, through shows such as the “White Paper: Sit-In” documentary aired on NBC in 1960 and “Who Speaks for Birmingham?” which was on CBS in 1961. This was around the same time that the Civil Rights Movement was entering the political mainstream in the U.S. This was the perfect opportunity to provide the nation with trustworthy news that they hoped would earn them many viewers and also lead people to rely on the large tv networks for up-to-date and honest news. These shows displayed not only the dominant ideologies of the time period but also shared the opinions of those working for the Civil Rights Movement.

 

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