What Content are They Feeding us?

This post is my response to Newton Minow’s speech found at this link http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/newtonminow.htm

Newton Minow Speech

Minow lays out a speech that warns against broadcasting television networks that exalt violence, theft, and debauchery. He says it is understandable that we need entertainment, but broadcasting’s core function should be informative or educational; not mindless entertainment that he calls a wasteland.


What I Liked about His Speech

I love the connections that Minow made by comparing television to newspaper.


He pointed out that the comics of the newspapers are the most viewed, but it doesn’t make the front page. In fact, comics are a very small section of the paper.

This is because the paper understands that they are not a slave to ratings. Instead, they master ratings. In television, however, the broadcasting networks bend to the will of the people to gain a better profit. If the people want trash, the network produces more trash.

He makes an irrefutable point that one’s eager response to entertainment should not be submitted to; just like a child’s desire’s do not justify a diet of only ice cream.


Is His Speech Valid Today?

I believe his view of television is related to news today. Today we deal with fake news or extremely biased news. Most people want to hear what makes them feel good or the opinion they want to agree with, and little to no effort is given to challenge one’s natural intuition.

I am reminded of what the Bible has predicted by prophesying, “…to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

Minow spoke of entertainment that exalted violence overpowering valuable content that informs the viewers. I do not believe this specifically is relevant today because the entertainment industry has grown large enough to separate itself from news. However. the thought that broadcasters have a very high responsibility that they abuse is relevant.


2 thoughts on “What Content are They Feeding us?

  1. Hello Butler,

    I really enjoyed Minow’s broadcast as well and agree with you on the point you bring up about the ratings. I though the example Minow presents is a truly compelling one; it extremely exemplifies his notion on ratings and their error-ed use. Broadcasting should truly inform the people, connecting community and eventually the rest of the world. It has a diligence to serve the people, because it owes the people, because the people own the air. I really admired this part of Minow’s speech as well. I also agree with your thoughts on his speech and it’s relevance today. Part of it is on the viewer since with the internet we can now watch anything anywhere. However, I feel that it is still the broadcasters job to have a variety of intellectual resources available to the viewer. As well as more promotions on educational shows, news about local communities and other place around the world. I feel like Minow would target local broadcastings stations more on their contribution to the people if he were to rewrite this speech today. Great post!

    -Alex A.


  2. That’s so true what you said about broadcasting networks just giving the people what they want instead of challenging them. I think it would be so interesting to see how the viewers would respond to being challenged and how the ratings would be effected by it. Also loved your comparison to only giving a child a diet of ice cream because that’s what they want, that was a really great analogy.


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