It's rather telling that TV Guide advertises one of their site features as a means to "join the conversation" at the water cooler. To me, that's the power of television in a nutshell -- it helps people find a common frame of reference from which relationships can be formed, grow and all that good stuff we expect from communities. Television can be trivial as a passing conversation in the hall, or it could unify a nation, however briefly it may be.
Now, of course, the content on TV is fair game in my book. For example, do I really care what happens on the next episode of "Joey" when I didn't like Friends in the first place for it's dismal portrayal of a rather diverse city? Heck, no. And that's why I don't watch it. Decrying the entire television medium though, as the source of the decline of society or something like that is equivalent to saying the people who deliver mail should be fired because they delivered you junk mail.
Slight non-sequitor...all of this has me recalling all the talk of the fate of network news with Rather, Brokaw and Jennings gone from primetime. It was often cited (though I haven't found too many sources) about the population of those watching network news is much greater than those watching cable news. For those interested though, some info can be found at Journalism.org's State of The News Media report. In short, all the hype about the rise of cable news seems to be just that -- hype.
Another slight non-sewuitor -- if we are to "Get your news only through the radio and internet. (My personal choice is NPR.)" as suggested by Kathy Sierra, do we not run the risk of achieving the fictional future portrayed in epic2014? There's quite a lot of partisanship and talk of red and blue states (is that why we have purple mountain majesties"?). It's happening with our sources of information as well. Should this continue, what does that mean for this representative democracy of ours? Do we really live up to "E pluribus unum" or will we die like a chopped up snake?