What State Broadcasters Should Do – Free Ebook

almost every developed nation boasts of having a rather unusual institution at its center a state broadcaster these state broadcasters receive taxpayers money on the basis that they serve the public interest in a way that commercial broadcasters never can in exchange for our cash they frequently broadcast shows about ancient history and documentaries about endangered species the concept behind such institutions sounds plausible but in truth there’s terrible confusion about what they should really be doing and in the process society squander a lot of opportunities to increase their well-being in relation to the many and appalling problems they face modern governments have some traditional levers they can pull to try and adjust behaviors most obviously they have the law they also have the tax system health policy and school and university curricula in relation to some challenges government levers work extremely well but in relation to others the results are patchy at best there’s one crucial area where they hardly seem to work at all a large arguably even the largest share of the issues undermining advanced nations are what one could call psychological at their root that is they have to do with our minds without deeper patterns of thinking and feeling these problems include family breakdown domestic violence poor parenting alcoholism drug addiction obesity depression chronic anxiety delinquency and loneliness taken together these tennis shoes cost national governments and overwhelming share of their annual national budgets currently there’s no easy way for governments to address these problems at best they try and tinker with the odd public ghoulish advertising campaign try to add on a class about this or that on to the school curriculum play around with a tax system give advice to social services trial a bit of subsidized psychotherapy print leaflets about parenting and hope for the best but the results tend to be very poor because better relationships aren’t really fostered by a change in the tax law few people ever read leaflets there’s not much money for public service ad can pains and it’s naive at best to imagine that you can address large-scale social issues by tacking on some talks to 16 year-olds in schools on Friday afternoons in order to stand any chance of addressing national psychological ills you have to get into people’s minds on a huge scale with charm and skill at regular repeated intervals this is where the tantalizing opportunity lies just within reach of most governments available for no extra money stands the most powerful lever imaginable the state broadcaster broadcasting truly works it’s the single most effective way of changing mentalities a million times more helpful than a book leaflet or class revolutionaries have always known that it’s why they always drive the tanks to the TV station first currently state broadcasters are aware that they should be making programs that foster the public good but they’re desperately vague about what the public good really constitutes it often seems to them bound up with broadcasting shows about the high arts but very few nations are actually undermined because not enough of the population know about lettre viata and vogner’s Ring cycle governments should redefine what the public good actually means they know what it is because they have via their statistical offices incontrovertible evidence about what the public bad is their statisticians constantly tell them the figures on obesity drug addiction and broken families public broadcaster’s should therefore be charged with a simple mission annually orientating all their output to addressing the ten leading social problems statistically undermining their Nations this threatens the sound horribly worthy wall-to-wall programs about obesity and family breakdown surely no one would watch one imagines excruciating ly tedious shows by egghead psychotherapists but that’s precisely not what the mission would be the challenge wouldn’t be just to make unpopular programs about important things but to make the good popular this is what taxpayers money would really be paying for to foster the genius required to curry compelling mass entertainment the very best comedies dramas game shows and documentaries about the most important things to date this has only been done sporadically the challenge would be to generate this material institutionally properly done state broadcasting would dramatically start to change the mood of the nation what one had seen on TV would affect how parents spoke to children and children spoke to parents how lovers behaved how one would respond to anxiety and deal with loneliness with enough creativity applied public broadcasting could do more to cure the ills of nations than the police for social services and the drug squad combined a huge opportunity is at hand waiting for the necessary political will intellectual focus and creative talent to be harnessed to be like a loofa little kind of caverns and pockets where it’s just sucking up all the things that it needs some things it needs every day some things it can hold on to and keep over reserves for weeks and months I can show you foods that are really rich and great sources of things that particularly your brain likes the more you mix it up and the more

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