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Bank tellers and flag wavers: Cable news in the United States

Miller, T. (2007) Bank tellers and flag wavers: Cable news in the United States. In: Banet-Weiser, S., Chris, C. and Freitas, A., (eds.) Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting. NYU Press, pp. 284-301.


Forty-five years ago, John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s Federal Communications Commissioner, Newton Minow, called U.S. TV a “vast wasteland.”¹ He was urging broadcasters to embark on enlightened Cold-War leadership, to prove the United States was not the mindless consumer world the Soviets claimed. The networks would thereby live up to their legislative responsibilities to act in the public interest by informing and entertaining. Twenty years later, Ronald Reagan’s Federal Communications Commissioner, Mark Fowler, argued that “television is just a toaster with pictures” and hence in no need of regulation, beyond ensuring its safety as an electrical appliance.² Both expressions gave their vocalists...

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: NYU Press
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