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Television will enormously enlarge the eye's range, and, like radio, will advertise the Elsewhere...A door closing heard over the air, a face contorted, seen in a panel of light--these will emerge as the real and the true--and when we bang the door of our own cell, or look into another face the impression will be of mere artifice. (E.B. White, author, 1938)

In only two decades of massive national existence television has transformed the political life of the nation, has changed the daily habits of our people, has molded the style of the generation, made overnight global phenomena out of local happenings, redirected the flow of information and values from traditional channels into centralized networks reaching into every home. In other words it has profoundly affected what we call the process of socialization, the process by which members of our species become human. (George Gerbner, Dean of Annenberg School of Communications of the University of Pennsylvania, circa 1968)

(Television is) an instrument that was, in both overt and subliminal ways, more important and dominant in our lives than newspapers, radio, church, and often, in the rootless America of the seventies, more important than family and more influential and powerful than the government itself. (David Halberstam, journalist, 1970s)

The medium is the message. (Marshall McLuhan, media scholar and critic, 1963)

Television is another industry in America. It gets enormous attention because of its visibility. But it's run like all those other industries...If the major oil companies did well selling you an additive last year, they're going to find another additive plus this year, and they're going to raise prices again. They're going to do what they can within the economic system to improve their profits, and to continue giving the public what it seemed to want last year. (Norman Lear, television producer)

Defeat and dreariness are what happens to you during the day. At night, in front of the box, most people want to share in victories, associate with winners, be transported from reality. (Bob Shanks, former vice-president of ABC Television and author of The Cool Fire)

See it Now by every criterion television's most brilliant, most decorated, most imaginative, most courageous and most important program. The fact that CBS cannot afford it but can afford Beat the Clock is shocking. (John Crosby, TV critic for the New York Herald Tribune, on the CBS's 1958 decision to cancel Edward R. Murrow's groundbreaking program)

We wouldn't have had a prayer without that gadget. (John F. Kennedy on the role TV played in his winning the presidency in 1960.)

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... (FCC Chairman Newton Minow, at a 1961 address to National Association of Broadcasters)

Television makes war of no more consequence than a movie star's latest marriage, the arrival of the Beatles, a Senator's pronouncement, a three-alarm fire...(Columnist John Horn on television's trivialization of war)

Whenever explorers go in the future accompanied by television camera's, they will be actors, making their nebulous exits and entrances for the benefit of multiplanetary audiences. Nowhere will there ever again be pure events (if there ever were); everything hereafter will be stage-managed for cosmic Nielsens, in the interest of national or universal establishments. (Saturday Review critic Robert Lewis Shayon)

It is hard to exaggerate the narrowness of reference, the indifference to reading, the lightly dimpled cultural shallowness of many young products of American TV culture, even the privileged ones. (Robert Hughes, The Culture of Complaint)

Television is not time-out from thinking, as so many fear. It provides grist for the mills of thought, innumerable opportunities for cognitive growth. (Robert Hodge and David Tripp, Children and Television)

Television isolates people from the environment, from each other, and from their own senses. (Jerry Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television)

The audience is sophisticated enough to recognize that media images are stereotypes, and don't hesitate to complain...the public no longer takes television for granted as if it were natural, or a wondrous gift of beneficent science. (Todd Gitlin, Inside Prime Time)

In television's stable of 35 home-life comedies, it is a rare show that treats Father as anything more than the mouse of the house--a bumbling, well-meaning idiot who is putty in the hands of his wife and family. (Time magazine, 1944)

...The giant has arrived. He was a mere pip-squeak yesterday, and didn't even exist the day before, but like a genie released from a magic bottle in The Arabian Nights, he now looms as big as life over our heads. Let us therefore try and circle round him and see if he will step on us, or make us sick and happy, or just what. (American Mercury, 1951)

Ours has been called the jet age, the atomic age, the space age. It is also, I submit, the television age. And just as history will decide whether the leaders of today's world employed the atom to destroy the world or to rebuild it for mankind's benefit, so will history decide whether today's broadcasters employed their powerful voice to enrich the people or debase them. (FCC Chairman Newton Minnow, 1961)

Television? The word is half Latin and half Greek. No good can come of it. (C.P. Scott, circa 1932)

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