So, “pro-family” activist David Barton thinks it’s about time to revive the trusty old conservative argument which suggests that ownership of televisions is evidence a family isn’t living in poverty.

First of all, what Atrios said.

Secondly, television is the primary news source in many (if not most) American households. And why not, when a yearly subscription even to my crappy local paper is $51.48, but you can get a TV from Wal-Mart for $69.88? Aside from that, illiteracy is higher in poor communities, and newspapers aren’t of much use to a person who can’t read.

Having access to a news source isn’t a luxury, and having access to an immediate news source (television, radio, or the internet) is now imperative—storm warnings, emergency bulletins, evacuations, terrorist alerts, etc. are all issued via network (free) television. The administration didn’t design the color-coded terrorism warning system for the Wall Street Journal, you know what I mean? There is wide acknowledgement that in case of emergency, people will turn on their televisions to find out what’s happening. During elections, the only place one is likely to get a glimpse of the people for one can vote is on the television. If you weren’t on the president’s approved audience list, the only place you ever saw him speak was on the television. On a whole slew of topics, television is necessarily a primary source of information.

Having a telly isn’t indulgent; it’s responsible.

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