The Significance of Television Today

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1. James Ponewozik, The New York Times, September 19

You’ll have to excuse television if it’s feeling a little powerful right now. Maybe a little too powerful. The medium dominates conversations while film buffs are arguing whether the movies are dying. There are ever more scripted series – a record 409 last year – and more outlets to put them on.

And as the host Jimmy Kimmel reminded us at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards on ABC, a prime-time personality is close to running the whole show in America – even if that wasn’t a point of pride to the host or to much of the crowd.

“If it wasn’t for television, would Donald Trump be running for president?” Mr. Kimmel asked in a scathing run of jokes, pointing out the producer of The Apprentice in the audience. “Thanks to Mark Burnett, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore, because we’re living in one.”

2. John Doyle, The Globe and Mail, September 19

There is a lot of great TV being made and aired across multiple platforms in our era and, in fairness, recognizing all of the excellence is a challenge. Heck, even finding it across all the channels and streaming services is a challenge.

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One response to “The Significance of Television Today

  1. Is television “a vast wasteland”? Or is America?
    Here’s Newton Minnow in 1961: “Television and all who participate in it are jointly accountable to the American public for respect for the special needs of children, for community responsibility, for the advancement of education and culture, for the acceptability of the program materials chosen, for decency and decorum in production, and for propriety in advertising. This responsibility cannot be discharged by any given group of programs, but can be discharged only through the highest standards of respect for the American home, applied to every moment of every program presented by television. Program materials should enlarge the horizons of the viewer, provide him with wholesome entertainment, afford helpful stimulation, and remind him of the responsibilities which the citizen has toward his society.”

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