I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland. You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.
Newton N. Minow
One of the more famous speeches ever delivered was “Television and the Public Interest,” in which FCC Chairman Newton Minow, speaking to the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961, declared TV to be a “vast wasteland.” I wonder what he’d say today?
Have a good Independence Day or July 4th, whichever it is where you live, and don’t forget to wear sunscreeen.
One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now here’s Bugs Bunny for Post Alpha-Bits Cereal.