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Newton Minnow, 1961:


“Why is so much television so bad?  I've heard many answers: demands of your advertisers; competition for ever higher ratings; the need always to attract a mass audience; the high cost of television programs; the insatiable appetite for programming material.  These are some of the reasons.  Unquestionably, these are tough problems not susceptible to easy answers.  But I am not convinced that you have tried hard enough to solve them.”


“Television and all who participate in it are jointly accountable to the American public for respect for the special needs of children, for community responsibility, for the advancement of education and culture, for the acceptability of the program materials chosen, for decency and decorum in production, and for propriety in advertising.  This responsibility cannot be discharged by any given group of programs, but can be discharged only through the highest standards of respect for the American home, applied to every moment of every program presented by television.  ...Now those are not my words.  They are yours.  They are taken literally, verbatim, from your own Television Code. They reflect the leadership and aspirations of your own great industry.  I urge you to respect them as I do.”


“When television is good, nothing -- not the theater, not magazines or newspapers -- nothing is better.  But when television is bad, nothing is worse.  I invite you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there without a book, magazine, newspaper, profit and loss sheet or rating book to distract you -- and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off.  I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.”

News Editorial   2006  (9:30)

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