Turn Off Your Television!!

by L. Wolfe 

Hey buddy, I'm talking to you. Yes, you, the guy sitting in front of
the television.  Turn down the sound a bit, so that you can hear what
I am saying. 
  Now, try to concentrate on what I am going to say. I want to talk to you
about your favorite pastime. No, it's not baseball or football, although it
does have something to do with your interest in spectator sports. I'm
talking about what you were just doing: watching television. 

   Do you have any idea about how much time you spend in front of the
television set? According to the latest studies, the average American now
spends between five and six hours a day watching television. Let's put that in
perspective: that is more time than you spend doing anything else but sleeping
or working, if you are lucky enough to still have a job. That's more time than
you spend eating, more time than you spend with your wife alone, more time
than with the kids. 

   It's even worse with your children. According to these same
studies, young children below school age watch more than eight hours each
day. School age children watch a little under eight hours a day. In 1980, the
average 20-year-old had watched the equivalent of 14 months of television
in his or her brief lifetime. {That's 14 months, 24 hours a day.} More
recent figures show that the numbers have climbed: the 20-year-old has
spent closer to two full years of his or her life in front of the
television set. 

   At the same time, the researchers have noted a disturbing phenomena. It
seems that we Americans are getting progressively more {stupid}.
They note a decline in reading and comprehension levels in all age groups
tested. Americans read less and understand what they read less than
they did 10 years ago, less than they have at any time since research
began to study such things. As for writing skills, Americans are, in general,
unable to write more than a few simple sentences. We are among the least
literate people on this planet, and we're getting worse. 

   It's the change--the constant trendline downward--that interests
these researchers. More than one study has correlated this increasing
stupidity of our population to the amount of television they watch.
Interestingly, the studies found that it doesn't matter what people watch,
whether it's ``The Simpsons'' or ``McNeil/Lehrer,'' or ``Murphy Brown''
or ``Nightline':' the more television you watch, the {less literate, the
more stupid} you are. 

   The growth in television watching had surprised some of the researchers.
Back a decade ago, they were predicting that television watching would level
off and might actually decline. It had reached an absolute saturation point.
They were right for so-called network television; figures show a steady
dropoff of viewership. But that drop is more than made up for by the growth of
cable television, with its smorgasbord of channels, one for almost every
perversion. Especially in urban and suburban areas, Americans are hard-wired 
to more than 100 different channels that provide them with all
news, like CNN, all movies, all comedy, all sports, all weather, all financial
news and a liberal dose of straight pornography. 

   The researchers had also failed to predict the market penetration of first
beta and then VHS video recorders; they made it possible to watch one thing and
record another for later viewing. They also offered access to movies not
available on networks or even cable channels as well as home videos,
recorded on your own little camcorder. The proliferation of home video
equipment has involved families in video-related activities which are not
even considered in the cumulative totals for time Americans spend
watching television. 

   You might not actually realize how much you are watching television. But
think for a moment. When you come home, you turn the television on, if it isn't
on already. You read the paper with it on, half glancing at what is on the
screen, catching a bit of the news, or the plot of a show. You eat with it on,
maybe in the background, listening for a score or something that happens to a
character in a show you follow. When something you are interested in, a show
or basketball game, is on, the set becomes the center of attention. So
your attention to what is on may vary in intensity, but there is almost no
point when you are home, and inside, and have the set completely off. Isn't
that right? 

   The studies did not break down the periods of time people watched
television, according to the intensity of their viewing. But the point is
still made: you compulsively turn the television on and spend a good portion
of your waking hours glued to the tube.  And the studies also showed that many
people can't sleep without the television turned on! 

    Now, I'm sure you have heard that watching too much television is bad for
your health. They put stories like that on the evening news. Bad for your eyes
to stare at the screen, they say.  Especially bad if you sit too close.
Well, I want to make another point. We've already shown that you are
addicted to the tube, watching it between six and eight hour a day. But
it is an addiction that {brainwashes} you.
   There are two kinds of brainwashing. The one that's called {hard}
brainwashing is the type you're most familiar with. You've got a pretty good
image of it from some of those old Korean war movies. They take some guy,
an American patriot, drag him into a room, torture him, pump him full of
drugs, and after a struggle, get him to renounce his country and his beliefs.
He usually undergoes a personality change, signified by an ever-present
smile and blank stare. 

   This brainwashing is called {hard} because its methods are
overt. The controlled environment is obvious to the victim; so is the
terror. The victim is overwhelmed by a seemingly omnipotent external force,
and a feeling of intense isolation is induced. The victim's moral strength is
sapped, and slowly he embraces his torturers. It is man's moral strength
that informs and orders his power of reason; without it, the mind becomes
little more than a recording machine waiting for imprints.
   No one is saying that you have been a victim of {hard}
brainwashing. But you have been brainwashed, just as effectively as
those people in the movies. The blank stare? Did you ever look at what you
look like while watching television? If the angle is right, you might catch
your own reflection in the screen. Jaw slightly open, lips relaxed into a
smile. The blank stare of a television zombie.
   This is {soft} brainwashing, even more effective because its victims 
go about their lives unaware of what is being done to them. 

   Television, with its reach into nearly every American home, creates the
basis for the mass brainwashing of citizens, like you. It works on a
principle of {tension and release}. Create tension, in a controlled
environment, increasing the level of stress. Then provide a series
of choices that provide release from the tension. As long as the victim
believes that the choices presented are the {only} choices available,
even if they are at first glance unacceptable, he will nevertheless,
ultimately seek release by choosing one of these unacceptable choices. 

   Under these circumstances, in a brainwashing, controlled environment,
such choice-making is not a ``rational'' experience. It does not
involve the use of man's creative mental powers; instead man is
conditioned, like an animal, to respond to the tension, by seeking release. 

   The key to the success of this brainwashing process is the regulation
of both the tension and the perceived choices. As long as both are
controlled, then the range of outcomes is also controlled. The victim is
induced to walk down one of several pathways acceptable for his

   The brainwashers call the tension-filled environment {social
turbulence}. The last decades have been full of such {social
turbulence}--economic collapse, regional wars, population disasters,
ecological and biological catastrophes. {Social turbulence} creates
crises in perceptions, causing people to lose their bearings. Adrift and
confused, people seek release from the tension, following paths that appear to
lead to a simpler, less tension-filled life. There is no time in such a
process for rational consideration of complicated problems. 

   Television is the key vehicle for presenting both the tension and the
choices. It brings you the images of the tension, and serves up simple
answers. Television, in its world of semi-reality, of illusion, of escape
from reality, {is itself the single most important release from our
tension-wracked existence.} Eight hours a day, every day, through its
programming, you are being programmed. 

   If you doubt me, think about one important choice that you have made
recently that was not in some way influenced by something that you have
seen on television. I bet you can't  think of one. That's how controlled you

   Who's Doing It
   But don't take my word for it. Ten years ago we spoke to a man from a think
tank called the Futures Group in Connecticut. Hal Becker had spent more
than 20 years of his life manipulating the minds of the leaders of our 
society. Listen to what he said: 

   {``I know the secret of making the average American believe anything I
want him to. Just let me control television. Americans are wired into
their television sets. Over the last 30 years, they have come to look at their
television sets and the images on the screen as reality. You put something on
television and it becomes reality. If the world outside the television set
contradicts the images, people start changing the world to make it more like
the images and sounds of their television. Because its influence is so
great, so pervasive, it has become part of our lives. You lose your sense of
what is being done to you, but your mind is being shaped and

   ``Your mind is being shaped and moulded.'' If that doesn't sound like
brainwashing, I don't know what is. Becker speaks with the elan of a
network of brainwashers who have been programming your lives, especially
since the advent of television as a ``mass medium'' in the late 1940s and
early 1950s. This network numbers several tens of thousands worldwide.
Occasionally one appears on the nightly news to tell you what {you} are
thinking, by reporting the latest ``opinion polls.'' But for the most
part, they work behind the scenes, speaking to themselves and writing
papers for their own internal distribution. 

   And though they work for many diverse groups, these brainwashers are
united by a common world view and common method. It is the world view of
a small elite, whose financial and political power rests in institutions
that pass this power on from generation to generation. They view the common
folk like yourself as little better than beasts of burden to be controlled
and manipulated by a semi-feudal international oligarchy, whose wealth,
power and bloodlines entitle them to rule. 

   One of the oligarchy's institutions for manipulation of
populations is located in a suburb of London called Tavistock. The Tavistock
Institute for Human Relations, which also has a branch in Sussex, England, is
the ``mother'' for much of this extended network, of which Becker is a
member. They are the specialists in {both} hard and soft brainwashing. 

   The Tavistock Institute is the psychological warfare arm of the
British Royal household. The oligarchs behind Tavistock, and similar outfits
in the United States and elsewhere, are determined that you should be a
television addict, sucking up a daily dose of brainwashing from the ``tube;''
that is how they control you. 

   Like his fellow brainwashers, Becker prides himself in knowing the
minds of his victims. He calls them ``saps.''  Man, he told an interviewer,
should be called ``homo the sap.'' 

   ``Soft'' brainwashing by television works through power of
suggestion. Television watching creates a state of drugged-like oblivion to
outside reality. The mind, its perceptions dulled by habituated
viewing, is ready to accept any new illusion of reality as presented on the
tube. The mind, in its drugged-like stupor of television watching, is
prepared to accept that the images that television {suggests} as
reality {are} reality. It will then struggle to form fit a
contradictory reality into television image, just as Becker claims. 

   Another Tavistock brainwasher, Fred Emery, who studied television for
25 years, confirms this. The television signal itself, he found, puts the
viewer in this state of drugged-like oblivion. Emery writes: ``Television as
a media consists of a constant visual signal of 50 half-frames per second.
Our hypotheses regarding this essential nature of the medium itself are: 

   ``1) The constant visual stimulus fixates the viewer and causes the
habituation of response. The prefrontal and association areas of the cortex are
effectively dominated by the signal, the screen. 

   ``2) The left cortical hemisphere--the center of visual and
analytical calculating processes--is effectively reduced in its functioning
to tracking changing images on the screen. 

   ``3) Therefore, provided, the viewer keeps looking, he is unlikely to
reflect on what he is doing and what he is viewing. That is, he will be aware,
but unaware of his awareness.... 

   ``In other words, television can be seen partly as the technological
analogue of the hypnotist.'' 

   The key to making the brainwashing work is the {repetition of
suggestion} over time. With people watching the tube for 6 to 8 hours a
day, there is plenty of time for such repeated suggestion. 

   Some Examples
   Let's look at an example to make things a bit clearer. Think back about
20 years ago. Think about what you thought about certain issues of the
day. Think about those same issues today; notice how you seemed to change
{your} mind about them, to become more tolerant of things you
opposed vehemently before. It's your television watching that changed your
mind, or to use Becker's terms, ``shaped your perceptions.'' 

   Twenty years ago, most people thought that the lunacy that is now
called environmentalism, the idea that animals and plants should be protected
on an equal basis with human life, was screwy. It went against the basic
concept of Christian civilization that man is a higher species than and
distinct from the animals, and that it is man, by virtue of his being made in
the image of the living God, whose life is sacred. That was 20 years ago. But
now, many people, maybe even you, seem to think otherwise; there are even laws
that say so. 

   This contrary, anti-human view of man being no more than equal to animals
and plants was inserted into our consciousness by the suggestion of
television. Environmental lunacy was scripted into network television shows,
into televised movies, and into the news. It started slowly, but picked up
steam. Environmental spokesmen were increasingly seen in the favorable glow
of television. Those who opposed this view were shown in an unfavorable way.
It was done over time, with repetition. If you weren't completely won over, you
were made tolerant of the views of environmental lunatics whose statements
were morally and scientifically unsound.
   Let's take a more recent example: the war against Iraq. That was a war
made for television. In fact, it was a war {organized} through
television. Think back a year: How were Americans prepared for the eventual
slaughter of Iraqi women and children? Images on the screen: Saddam Hussein,
on one side, Hitler on the other. The images repeated in newscasts, backed up
by scenes of alleged atrocities in Kuwait. Then the war itself: the
video-game like images of ``smart'' weapons killing Iraqi targets. 

   Finally, the American military commander-in-chief Gen. Norman
Schwartzkopf, conducting a final press briefing that was consciously
orchestrated to resemble the winning Superbowl coach describing his victory. 

   Those were the images that overwhelmed our population. Only now,
months later, do we find out that the images had nothing to do with reality.
The Iraqi ``atrocities'' in Kuwait and elsewhere were exaggerated. Our
``smart'' weapons like the famous Patriot anti-missile system didn't
really work. Oh, and the casualty figures: it seems that we murdered far
more women and children than we did soldiers. Hardly a ``glorious
victory.'' But while it might have made a difference if people knew this while
the war was being planned or in progress, polls show that Americans no
longer find the war or any stories about it ``interesting.'' 

   Looking at the question more broadly, where did your children get
most of their values, if not from what they saw on television? Parents might
counteract the influence of the infernal box, but they could not
overcome it. How could they, if they themselves have been brainwashed by the
same box and if their children spend more time with it than them? Studies
show that most of television programming is geared to a less than
5th grade comprehension level; parents, like you, are themselves being
remade in the infantile images of the television screen. All of society
becomes more infantile, more easily controllable. 

   As Emery explains: {``We are proposing that television as a simple
constant and repetitive and ambiguous visual stimulus, gradually closes down
the central nervous system of man.''} 

   Becker holds a similar view of the effect of television on American's
ability to think: {``Americans don't really think--they have opinions
and feelings. Television creates the opinion and then validates it.''} 

   Nowhere is this clearer than with politics. Television tells Americans
what to think about politicians, restricting choices to those acceptable
to the oligarchs whose financial power controls networks and major cable
channels. It tells people what has been said and what is ``important.''
Everything else is filtered out. You are told who can win and who can't. And
few people have the urge to look behind the images in the screen, to seek
content and truth in ideas and look for a high quality of leadership. 

   Such an important matter as choosing a president becomes the same as
choosing a box of laundry detergent: a set of possibilities, whose limits are
determined, by the images on the screen. You are given the appearance of
freedom of choice, but that you have neither freedom nor real choice. That
is how the brainwashing works. 

   ``Are they brainwashed by the tube,'' said Becker to the interviewer.
``It is really more than that. I think that people have lost the ability to
relate the images of their own lives without television intervening to tell
them what it means. That is what we really mean when we say that we have a
wired society.'' 

   Turn It Off!
   That was ten years ago. It has gotten far worse since then. In coming
issues, we will show you the brainwashers' vision of a hell on earth
and how television is being used to get us there; we will discuss television
programming, revealing how it has helped produce what is called a
``paradigm'' shift in values, creating an immoral society; we will explain how
the news is presented and how its presentation has been used to destroy
the English language; we will discuss the mass entertainment media, showing
who controls it and how; we will deal with America's addiction to
spectator sports and show how that too has helped make you passive and stupid;
and finally, we will show where we are headed, if we can't break our addiction
to the tube. 

  So, after what I just told you, what do say, buddy?  Do you want to
stay stupid and let your country go to hell in a basket? Why don't you just
walk over to the set and turn it off.  That's right, completely off. Go on,
you can do it. Now isn't that better? Don't you feel a little better already? 
You've just taken the first step in deprogramming yourself. It wasn't that
hard, was it? Until we speak again, try to keep it off. Now that will be a bit

From New Federalist V6, #29.