The message of these commercials is that television doesn’t have as much of an effect on your life as you think it does. They contend that if there actually were a causal connection between watching TV and negative life changes, these are what they would look like – and since none of these are happening (because, clearly, none of these things are actually causally connected), there is no causal connection between your life falling apart and watching TV. Ergo, continue watching TV.
Strictly speaking, DirecTv is correct: excessive TV watching isn’t the cause of a person’s life turning sour, it’s just a symptom (and if it wasn’t TV they were using to escape the root of their problems it would be something else). But so what? How does this make watching TV excessively acceptable? The first step in getting to the root of a problem is picking up the shovel and going out into the yard (which, by the way, means turning off the TV). A person may not ever solve the problems plaguing his life, but he certainly will not if he never makes lifestyle changes which give him a chance.
What these commercials do is allow whatever delusions and evasions a person has to flourish. They encourage him to tell himself, in effect, “this is what my life would look like if my problems were as bad as I suspect that they are. My life doesn’t look like that, so I guess my problems aren’t as bad as I think.” The irony, of course, is that even if they actually aren’t that bad now, they are guaranteed to become that bad if they remain unaddressed (and a perfect way to fail to address them is to spend one’s time lost in TV).
An even larger irony is that if DirecTv expects to remain in business over the long-term, they had better hope that the general public doesn’t take the advice they’re insinuating, because if they do, the standard of living will fall to a point where people will simply not be able to afford peripheral luxuries like satellite television. Perhaps DirecTv doesn’t expect to remain in business over the long-term. Given the way business is batted around like it’s society’s plaything (as opposed to the lives, liberties, and properties of free individuals), can you hardly blame them?