IVP - Andy Unedited - Out of the Wasteland

May 3, 2011

Out of the Wasteland

Fifty years ago this month, the phrase “vast wasteland” entered the national lexicon when Newton Minow, then chair of the FCC, spoke before the National Association of Broadcasters. It even inspired Hollywood producer Sherwood Schwartz to name the sinking ship in Gilligan’s Island after him.

In the April 2011 issue of The Atlantic, Minow reflects on what has transpired in these last five decades since he first called television programming little more than “a procession of game shows . . . violence, sadism, murder, Western bad men, Western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence and cartoons.” Well, at least we got rid of the Westerns!

He goes on to make six provocative proposals for the next fifty years of television.

  • Commit to freedom of speech and editorial independence in news and information, especially through the internet.
  • While we established land-grant colleges 150 years ago by giving them land they could sell to fund themselves, today we should give them the airwaves to sell in order to fund themselves.
  • Expand telemedicine, “using wireless communications and high-definition imaging to provide preventive health care at low cost,” something developed countries use far more than we do.
  • “Build and maintain a new and secure communications network as a national-security priority” so we don’t end up with public safety and government personnel unable to communicate when disaster strikes as it did on 9/11.
  • Give greater support to public radio and television—especially relatively inexpensive radio, while consolidating overlapping public TV stations in given markets.
  • Give free air time to politicians to help take money (especially the influence of big money) out of the equation for campaigns.

This seems like a good start to me. What would you recommend?

Posted by Andy Le Peau at May 3, 2011 8:30 AM Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed for this entry.

Get Email Updates

You'll get an email whenever a new entry is posted to Andy Unedited

Blog Favs

Subscribe to Feeds

Got a Book Idea?

Please follow our submissions guidelines. We cannot respond to book proposals or inquiries within the context of this blog.

Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.