Report: TV Helps Build Valuable Looking Skills

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Vol 35 Issue 39

Sole Remaining Lung Filled With Rich, Satisfying Flavor

GARLAND, TX—Local resident Jesse McCombs' sole remaining lung filled with the rich, satisfying flavor of Parliament cigarettes Monday. "Mmm, now that's a good smoke," said McCombs, 51, drawing a deep breath of Parliament smoke into what remains of his respiratory system. "It's just too bad I no longer have a right lung, because then I could be enjoying double the tobacco pleasure right now."

Dan Fogelberg Fails To Soothe Area Lite 108 Listener

SOUTHFIELD, MI—Detroit radio station Lite 108's claim of being "the station you relax at work with" proved false Monday, when M&I Marketing employee and Lite 108 listener Dean Claussen failed to be soothed by Dan Fogelberg's "Run For The Roses." "Where the hell is the media audit for the 26-40 demographic?" an angry Claussen shouted at co-worker Ira Geist despite the gentle, restful waves of Fogelbergian sound emanating from a radio less than five feet away. "How on Earth do you expect me to draw up a fucking proposal for the Mita Copier account without those numbers?" Linda Bahnsen, a representative for Lite 108, apologized for the station's failure to relax Claussen and urged him to continue turning on the Lite in the future.

Zweibel's Got A Sweetheart!

I've got a sweet-heart! I've got a sweet-heart! Her name is Miss Bernadette Fiske, and not only does she claim that I am her best beau, but that I am her tootsy-wootsy, as well! Huzzah! I may be 132 years old, but I feel more like 85! Oh, I am as giddy as a dish of jelly!

A Good-News Prescription

If you're anything like me (and who on Earth wouldn't want to be? Har-dee-har-har!), what you could use right about now is some good news. After all, it seems like all you ever hear about these days are murders and wars and hurricanes and plane crashes and drugs and child abuse and crooked politicians. It's getting so bad, sometimes you have to ask yourself, "Isn't there any good news anywhere?"

The Declining Crime Rate

It was announced last week that the U.S. crime rate is down for the seventh year in a row, falling to its lowest level since 1985. What do you think about this decline in American violence?

Area Man Finds Soda-Winning Game Piece He Forgot About

ERIE, PA—While removing an insurance card from an infrequently used section of his wallet Monday, local resident Don Turnbee came across a soda-winning Inspector Gadget-themed McDonald's game piece he had long forgotten about.
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Report: TV Helps Build Valuable Looking Skills

NEW YORK—A report released Monday by NYU's Center For Media Studies has found that television, accused by experts of diminishing children's attention spans and discouraging them from interacting with others, can actually help children as young as six months develop essential looking skills.

Children sharpen their looking skills with a 27-inch Sony Trinitron.

"In a study of over 5,000 children nationwide," the report read, "those who watched cartoons for three hours had vastly increased looking capacities when tested the next day, compared to children who were encouraged to play sports and board games with other children for the same three-hour period. Staring and gazing skills were also markedly higher."

Data gathered in the study also indicated that visual-reception skills acquired at an early age tend to become lifelong assets.

"Extensive testing of adults who grew up in homes without television showed that such adults had difficulty staring blankly at things for longer than a few seconds," Center For Media Studies director Dr. Edward DeGaetano said. "They frequently shifted their gaze and focus around the testing environment, often engaging others in the room in conversation and generally making a lot of disruptive noise and movement. Television-enriched adults, however, could sit and look at anything: a spot on the ceiling, a fire-alarm box, a stack of magazines on a table."

"And even when the non-television-enriched adults could manage to look at a magazine," DeGaetano said, "rather than deep-focus on the cover, they would open it and start restlessly looking at words and turning the pages."

The NYU study is seen as a major victory for television advocates.

Report: TV Helps Build Valuable Looking Skills

"Fifty years ago, U.S. children were ranked almost dead-last worldwide in looking skills," said child-development expert Dr. Sandy Wexler. "The past five decades have witnessed remarkable progress in that area, so much so that U.S. children now lead the world. Students in supposedly progressive nations like Sweden and France score far lower than Americans in standardized looking tests."

Wexler pointed to TV as the primary reason for the improvement, along with increased media attention, including the best-selling 1977 book Why Johnny Can't Look and NBC's early-'80s "How To Watch Television" public-service announcements.

"These 30-second spots starring zany comedian Lenny Schultz left no ambiguity in the minds of children who viewed them about how to properly watch television," Wexler said.

President Clinton praised the nation's children for their looking prowess at a press conference Tuesday. He also announced the launch of a $1 billion "Looking Good, America!" initiative designed to provide impoverished children with badly needed televisions.

"Far too many of our economically disadvantaged young people," Clinton said, "have nothing better than outdated black-and-white sets, dating back to the '80s or even '70s, to look at."

The president concluded with the sad tale of Beckley, WV, 10-year-old Nicholas Mullins, who, according to Clinton, gets all of his television from "a 1982 black-and-white Zenith TV with a 13-inch screen, an antenna fashioned from a coathanger and aluminum foil, and an unpredictable vertical hold."

"Child-development statistics tell us that Nicholas will probably do no better than graduate from high school looking at a third-grade level," Clinton said. "If we cannot give Nicholas a better chance in life, then we as a nation have failed him."

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