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Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television, and the First Amendment

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In 1961, when Newton N. Minow was President Kennedy's chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, he astonished the American public with his blunt criticism of television broadcasting as a "vast wasteland." To Mr. Minow today, after decades in communications and public service, and to his colleague Craig L. LaMay, the problem is more urgent than ever, for we all - broadcasters, parents, public officials, and teachers - have abandoned our children to a wasteland of vacuous, often violent, and openly ...
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1995 Hardcover First Edition NEW/This book has a dust jacket. 0 8090 2311 3 Signed by Author(s) Book-----Black spine and red hardcovers, 8 1/2" tall. 237pp-------NEW ... CONDITION--dust jacket Fine condition. ----SIGNED BY AUTHOR NEWTON N MINOW, On a label on the Flyleaf---- Read more Show Less

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Overview

In 1961, when Newton N. Minow was President Kennedy's chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, he astonished the American public with his blunt criticism of television broadcasting as a "vast wasteland." To Mr. Minow today, after decades in communications and public service, and to his colleague Craig L. LaMay, the problem is more urgent than ever, for we all - broadcasters, parents, public officials, and teachers - have abandoned our children to a wasteland of vacuous, often violent, and openly consumerist television programming that represents none of the values we claim to cherish and that threatens our future. The commercial interests dominating television today argue that the Constitution gives them the right to broadcast whatever they wish. But Minow and LaMay persuasively demonstrate that this is a false application of the First Amendment. They remind us that broadcasters are required by law to serve the public interest, and that the Supreme Court and Congress regard service to children as a broadcaster's obligation under law. They argue that the First Amendment can be used on behalf of children, to help make television a force that will nurture and not harm them. They offer many hardheaded, workable ideas for an effective children's television policy (America is alone among the Western democracies in not yet having one) and for new ways to ensure that our children travel safely on the information superhighway.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Minow created news when, in 1961, as head of the Federal Communications Commission, he called television in the U.S. a ``vast wasteland.'' Here, writing with communications scholar LaMay, he presents a cogent argument for replacing violent, brutal TV fare with constructive programs that motivate children to learn while transmitting democratic values. The authors charge that broadcasters, who exploit children for profit, invoke First Amendment freedoms of expression as a way of shirking responsibilities defined under the Children's Television Act of 1990, which requires them to air some educational and informational programs for children. Among the authors' proposals are: forbid commercials on TV programs for preschoolers; make the V-chip a required component in all TV sets, so parents can block reception of unwanted shows; Congress should redefine the Federal Communications Act's vague stipulation that broadcasters must serve the public interest; make media literacy courses a basic part of the school curriculum. This broadside should trigger a national debate. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809023110
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.85 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Strangers in the House 17
2 Whence the Stranger? The Elusive Public Interest 58
3 Children, Television, and the First Amendment 105
4 The Next Generation and the Age of SuperTube 137
5 Changing the Way We Think 152
Appendix 1: A Bill for Children's Telecommunications 177
Appendix 2: The Wasteland Speeches, 1961 and 1991 185
Notes 209
Index 225
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