Is Network Relevant Today?

Network (1976) which stars William Holden, Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, and Robert Duvall, deals with a fictional television network, UBS, and the some of the personalities affiliated with that network.  The film is a satire of the news business.  At the time, no one thought of the news as a source of entertainment.  Today, however, the division between news and entertainment has been blurred.  Fact based stories are now laden with reporter and network opinions and commentaries.  Here are two scenes from Network; both with network news anchor Howard Beale (Finch) at the forefront.  The first scene takes place after Beale, who had been going through a nervous breakdown/religious revelation, shows up to work drenched from walking the streets of New York.

After the head of programming, Diana Christensen (Dunaway), realizes how powerful Beale’s message resonates with the public, she transforms the nightly news show into a showcase for Beale’s commentaries.

Network is a fictional movie, but the question remains:  Is Network relevant today?  Can you make a connection between what Beale is talking about to what you see today in the media?

8 responses to “Is Network Relevant Today?

  1. I do see a connection and I don’t, if that makes sense. Today the news is filled with information both good, bad and for pure entertainment. This also goes for radio news as well. I don’t think Network is portraying the seriousness of the news however, they are emphasizing how the news is not just life or death information now and they’re doing it in a comical tone.

  2. Charlene-Grace Crisostomo

    Somehow, I do see a connection between what the movie Network is trying to portray and the media these days. News today,are usually being colored by the reporters and anchors’ point of views and opinions. I do believe that it shouldn’t be that way. The main purpose of news is not to entertain but to inform and educate. It should not be biased.

  3. The movie Network and today’s news broadcasting are directly related. People are only driven by what entertains them, and it is getting worse with every generation because of all the technology that is readily available to them. If the news is not entertaining people will not watch it, and Beale states that very clearly in his “show”. At the end he even advises the viewers to turn off their televisions, but people do not because they believe they will miss something entertaining. It is not the right way to receive important information; however, this is not a trend that is going to subside any time soon.

  4. The Network really draws upon many of the suspicions the public has about how network news channels might operate. Such as corporations owning news media, and molding public opinion in a light most favorable to their interests. Difficult to deny the potential for truth in that message. But it also discusses how News and Entertainment are being melded together and how entertainment is not an effective vehicle for news. Jon Stewart talks about this very phenomena when he lampooned CNN ( for no longer being the beacon of non-partisan news delivery it once was. The Network still has a lot of wisdom and insight to offer people who are willing to listen.

  5. Yep, in a small group of people are working to achieve the same goal, like a job, trying to make a video game of some sort. It’s alive and well. Just look around you. The Network Relevant is everywhere and it’s not dead yet.So the main point and purpose of these news are not to entertain but to inform and educate.

  6. Network are not really that important. I feel like they are not because they all are about the same thing. Nobody really cares about finding the TRUTH. Their focus is on what will make them a profit. So when you think about it then naw networks are not important.

  7. I think the Network is only relevant to today’s media in the fact that today’s media is no longer black and white. They no longer report the facts of good and bad but rather tell the audience what they want to hear. The Network reveals that media today cannot just report simple new but news now has to be entertaining. The most comical thing about the Network is that Beale and the network did not see success until the “show” was created giving the the exact same facts yet adding Beale’s negative but entertaining comedy. The movie is very similar to how we receive our news today, with constant interjections to tell us how to turn a lampshade into a paste bowl because the black and white facts are simple not enough for us anymore.

  8. “We have lost an entire generation to that damn thing..”

    This sentence really resonated with me; I have a little 8 year old brother at home who by all accounts loves his Ipad, Wii, and Television more than any one thing I ever desired in my childhood. Now we we’re in different situations; I was surrounded by kids my age and in my neighborhood any day with the sun out meant about 10-20 of us out on our bikes up to no good or playing something involving bloody knees and a ball. He’s lucky if he gets a few hours to play with the one of two little girls his age in the neighborhood. So he sits and he watches and he “learns” and its absolutely terrifying.

    One of the great blessings of being a child is your innocence. Your pure unadulterated bliss; reminds me of the young turtle flipped on its back exclaiming “I’m flying!”. I feel that is slowly being taken away from our children with the advent of all these technologies; and I feel the comparison can be made to what Beale is saying here.

    He exclaims that we have lost our ability to learn and to think for ourselves! I tell Joey all the time when he gets so upset at failure; “What do we learn more from: A win or a loss?” “A loss..”, He’ll eventually allow to escape, but the point is I don’t feel like he believes it. He has grown up in a world that I feel has taken away his ability to learn for, fail because of, and in turn cope with and grow through himself. If there is an excuse, he will find it. If he can;t do something then everything is wrong and he has failed. I see the similarities Beale is speaking of.

    We cannot hope to learn from something that exists to entertain; how can something be critical when everything said is scripted or approved; How can we expect our younger generations to grow up and fend for themselves in a world where seemingly everything is provided for them at their fingertips? We as a people have always learned from experience; trust me when i say we have never been very good at learning from our history, Too often it is cast off as “a different scenario under different circumstance”. We are wary to listen to those who came before us because after all, we’re still here. But these same sentences uttered in 1973 could be plastered on a Banksy billboard downtown London today and have the same powerful message.

    I hope for our sake, for my little brothers sake, and for my own childrens sake that people do begin to open their eyes. Joey is in my front yard working on his golf swing we’ve been getting ready all winter. I really hope i can learn to set better examples for him in the time I have left at home. I just ordered 3 more books on the art of brewing, pairing food and beer, as well as an introduction to Hops in the brew process and plan on doing more reading than gaming this summer so thats a step.

    We often feel like what we could do, what we could offer, would never possibly be enough. Beale is desperately pleading for us to reject that notion. To remember that human life is more than what the current media mumble jumble is telling us it is. Television, the internet, and netflix all have their place in our society; but we must listen to Beale, Turn it off. Go outside. Learn from your own failure.

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