Wasteland Speech  

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The Wasteland Speech was given by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Newton N. Minow on May 9, 1961:

"When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the 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 for a day 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."

This speech is properly titled "Television and the Public Interest". It was a landmark speech for the medium of television, at a time when there were only three networks in the United States and when the realm of television was much less vast than it is today. Nonetheless, it is counted as one of the one hundred best American speeches of the 20th century by several authorities and selected as one of the 25 Speeches that Changed the World by Vital Speeches. Related writings include his book (co-written with Craig LaMay) Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television, & the First Amendment.

Minow often remarks that the two words best remembered from the speech are "vast wasteland," but the two words he wishes would be remembered are "public interest."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wasteland Speech" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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