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FCC Chairman Newton Minow 50 years later: a vaster wasteland

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In the April 2011 edition of Atlantic Monthly there is an article by former FCC Chairman Newton Minow. Minow was FCC Chairman in the 1960’s and he called television a vast wasteland. 

My objective at the convention was to tell broadcasters that the FCC would enforce the law’s requirement that they serve the public interest in return for their free and exclusive use of the publicly owned airwaves. Too much existing programming, I said, was little more than “a procession of game shows violence, sadism, murder, Western bad men, Western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.” Television, I said, was too often a “vast wasteland.”

Now 50 years later Newton Minow has written an article called “A Vaster Wasteland”.  The message still seems to be the same. 

From the Atlantic April 2011 article:

But those were not the two words [vast wasteland] I intended to be remembered. The two words I wanted to endure were public interest. To me that meant, as it still means, that we should constantly ask: What can communications do for our country? For the common good? For the American people?

What would he like to see in the next 50 years?

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Written by frrl

March 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm

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