"Surely one of the most visible lessons taught by the twentieth century has been the existence, not so much of a number of different realities, but of a number of different lenses with which to see the same reality." Michael Arlen, "Some Notes on Television Criticism," The View from Highway One, p. 9.
"Television is a new, hard test of our wisdom. If we succeed in mastering the new medium it will enrich us. But it can also put our minds to sleep. We must not forget that in the past the inability to transport immediate experience and to convey it to others made the use of language necessary and thus compelled the human mind to develop concepts. For in order to describe things, one must draw the general from the specific; one must select, compare, think. When communication can be achieved by pointing with the finger, however, the mouth grows silent, the writing hand stops, and the mind shrinks."
"We believe that there is a clear need for a national Center for Media Study, independent of both media and government, and responsible to the people...the recurring conflict between media commercial interest and the public interest distorts both the performance of the media and their capacity for self evaluation and self criticism."
R.K. Baker & S.J. Ball,
Mass Media and Violence Vol. XI: A Report to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence 1969.
"My spiritual gift, my specific calling from God, is to be a television talk show host." Jim Bakker. (Quoted in Bennett, D., The Party of Fear p.380
"Television...does not so much enhance literacy as render it irrelevant bypassing the black and white of the word to bring a bright color world of pictures to Everyman..."
Benjamin R. Barber,
A Passion for Democracy, p. 273.
"What distinguishes the New Right from other American reactionary movements and what it shares with the early phase of German fascism, is its incorporation of conservative impulses into a system of representation consisting largely of media techniques and media images."
Philip Bishop, Madison Social Text Group, "The New Right and the Media"
Social Text 1:1 (Winter 1979): p. 178.
"As individuals and as a nation, we now suffer from social narcissism. The beloved Echo of our ancestors, the virgin America, has been abandoned. We have fallen in love with our own image, with images of our making, which turn out to be images of ourselves."
Daniel J. Boorstin,
The Image (1961) p. 257.
"The communications media in America carry on an enterprise more fundamental even than formal education to the well being of an open society."
Douglass Cater, 1971.
"You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal...In God's name, you people are the real thing; we're the illusion." Howard Beale character in Paddy Chayevski's film "Network."
"We must come to understand the extent to which lenses shape, filter, and otherwise alter the data which passes through them the extreme degree to which the lens itself informs our information. This influence, though radical in many cases, often manifests itself subtly. Yet even the most blatant distortions tend to be taken for granted as a result of the enduring cultural confidence in the essential trustworthiness and impartiality of what is in fact a technology resonant with cultural bias and highly susceptible to manipulation."
A. D. Coleman, "Lentil Soup," Et cetera
B. 42:1 (Spring 1985): p. 30.
"It seems to me that what makes a tool into a determining aspect of the culture in which it functions is not merely its presence, but two additional aspects. One of these is its integration into conceptual assumptions of that culture, which in turn makes it possible to think about that tool in its relation to culture. The second, a corollary of the first, is the derivation from that tool of understandings which become fundamental to that culture's world view.
Coleman, A.D., ibid., p. 22.
"The compact with Americans that is implicit in the right to operate a protected monopoly over the public airwaves is being shattered. No longer are great issues of American life being discussed in any meaningful way over the commercial broadcast networks."
John Dancy, "Lights in a Box: Gotcha Journalism and Public Policy,"
Harvard International Review of Press/Politics 2:4 Fall 1997): p. 107.
"There is a simple truism about television: the eye always predominates over the ear when there is a fundamental clash between the two."
"The two strongest messages we're sending through television are that popularity is everything, and that if it doesn't make money it's not worth
"The man who lives in the news...is a man without memory."
Jacques Ellul, The Political Illusion
"The real media biases favor simplicity over complexity, persons over institutional processes, emotions over facts, and, most important, game over substance."
Robert M. Entman, "Reporting Environmental Policy Debate: The Real Media Biases"
Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 1:3 (Summer 1996): 78.
"The point is not to change news, but to understand its limitations. Like map making, news cannot realistically hope to produce a model which perfectly represents all the contours and elevations of reality, but at least the basic distortions in any given mode of projection can be clarified."
Edward J. Epstein, "The Values of Newsmen" Television Quarterly 10:2 (Winter 1973): p. 20.
"For millions of years, humans have been programmed to live in small groups around the campfire. Having the constant background of TV gives us a sense of familiarity and well being. Human beings need motion, sights, sounds, activity around us, and TV provides that. It doesn't really matter how many channels we've got, because we're connecting with the constant commotion and babble of the campsite, pure and simple."
Helen Fisher, anthropologist, quoted in Kellogg, M.A.,"How America Really Watches TV,"
TV Guide, July 29, 1995, p. 30.
"One of television's mysterious powers is to give us the illusion of immediate presence, but, in fact, it gives us the world through a lens darkly."
Richard W. Fox (The New York Times Book Review, July 1992, p. 7
"Like the original mirror man, Narcissus, network news gazes upon itself but thinks it sees an Other, 'The Real World.' William Gibson, "Network News: Elements of a Theory" Social Text 2:3 (Fall 1980): p. 104.
"The sound bite is to television what the fang bite was to Dracula. The office seeker who has a thought that takes more than 30 seconds to express turns producers rabid."
Walter Goodman, The New York Times, March 26, 1990.
An old theological principle applies: The immanent drives out the transcendent. By offering us so many matters to contemplate, television makes it hard, or profitless, to find the connective tissues. Television makes us atheoretical, just as it makes us a historical. It invites us to dwell in the moment and nowhere else. And that is where cynicism resides as well."
Roderick P. Hart, Seducing America: How Television Charms the Modern Voter p. 86.
"If all candidates and parties are to have equal access to this essential and decisive campaign medium, without becoming deeply obligated to the big financial contributors from the worlds of business, labor or other major lobbies, then the time has come when a solution must be found to [the] problem of TV costs."
Sen. John F. Kennedy, TV Guide, Nov., 1959.
"I admit it the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."
William Kristol, The New Yorker, May 22, 1995. Quoted in Extra! July/Aug. 95, p. 5.
"On one show, Michael Kinsley was calmly interviewing a member of Congress when the voice of a Crossfire producer exploded in his earpiece: 'Get mad! Get mad!'"
Howard Kurtz, Hot Air, p. 111.
"...Television is the enemy of complexity. You rarely have time to express the fine points, the caveats, the context of your subject. You're always being interrupted just as you try to make a larger point. What works best on a talk show is the snappy oneliner, the artful insult, the definitive declaration. What makes you look weak and vacillating is an acknowledgement that your case is not airtight, that the other side may have a valid point."
Howard Kurtz, Hot Air, pp. 337 - 338.
"We don't need proof on this show. When Democrats are involved, all we need is the appearance of impropriety."
Rush Limbaugh, April 11, 1991.
"It seems there is more nonsense, garbage and hogwash spoken, written and printed about television than about any other single subject with the possible exception of sex."
Lee Loevinger, "The Limits of Technology," Television Quarterly 6:1 (Winter 1967): p. 10.
"Products are inherently communicable on television because of their static quality, sharp, clear, highly visible lines, and because they carry no informational meaning beyond what they themselves are. They contain no life at all and are therefore not capable of dimension. Nothing works better as telecommunication than images of products."
J. Mander, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, pp. 42-43.
"No person who did not wish to dominate others would choose to use advertising, or choosing it, succeed in it." ibid., p. 45.
Television has no democratic potential. The technology of television itself places absolute limits on what may pass through it. The medium, in effect, chooses its own content from a very narrow field of possibilities. The effect is to drastically confine all human understanding within a rigid channel...there is ideology in the technology itself." ibid., p. 47.
"Television isolates people from the environment, from each other, and from their own senses." ibid., p. 168.
"Americans have not grasped the fact that many technologies determine their own use, their own effects, and even the kind of people who control them. We have not yet learned to think of technology as having ideology built into its very form." ibid., p. 350.
"When the Allies occupied post war Japan and Germany, they were careful to prohibit media consolidation, noting that too concentrated media markets were antidemocratic and promoted fascism." Mark Crispin Miller & Robert W. McChesney, "Cut the Media Giants Down to Size," Newsday, Oct. 15, 1997, p. A41.
"One of [Dukakis's] problems in this whole campaign has been that his message doesn't 'sound bite' as easily."
Bruce Morton, CBS Correspondent, 1988.
"This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is nothing but wires and lights in a box."
Edward R. Murrow, speech to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Oct. 15, 1958.
"For the press, progress is not news trouble is news."
Richard M. Nixon
"Culture now is being communicated in a mosaic, not a linear pattern. It's MTV sound bites, and that has influenced the way we make movies. We make pictures in the form of bites rather than 'once upon a time.'"
Director Sydney Pollack (New York Times, July 19, 1998, p.2:20.)
"Americans no longer talk to each other; they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities, parables, and public opinion polls. Because of this, it is even possible that someday soon a movie actor may become president of,the United States."
Postman, N. Amusing Ourselves to Death.
"I believe that [Jesus] is lord of the government, and the church and business and education, and, hopefully, one day, lord of the press."
Pat Robertson. Christianity Today, June 22, 1992.
"To realize for even one brief moment that with the touch of an index finger on a channel selector one can command into presence the image of events and persons far removed in space and even time is humbling and exhilarating. No magus of the ancient world ever possessed such power, not even Merlin, who is said to have been the greatest and wisest of all wizards who has ever lived."
R. Romanyshyn, Technology as Symptom and Dream, p. 1.
"The confusion of style with substance is fostered by any medium that allows advertising to be integrated into its fabric and format." M. Rosler, "Image Simulations, Computer Manipulations, Some Considerations," AfterImage 17:4 (November 1989), p. 10.
"We've got to face it. Politics have entered a new stage, the television stage. Instead of long winded public debates, the people want capsule slogans 'Time for a change,' 'The mess in Washington,' 'More bang for a buck' punchlines, and glamor."
General Haynesworth, the media mogul in Budd Schulberg's 1957 film "A Face in the Crowd."
Things in motion sooner catch the eye/ Than what stirs not.
W. Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, III, iii, 182.
"In teaching us a new visual code, photogoraphs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe. They are a grammar and, even more importantly, an ethic of seeing...the most grandiose result of the photographic enterprise is to give us the sense that we can hold the whole world in our heads as an anthology of images."
Susan Sontag, "In Plato's Cave," On Photography, p. 3.
"The powers of photography have in effect de Platonized our understanding of reality, making it less and less plausible to reflect upon our experience according to the distinction between images and things, between copies and originals. It suited Plato's derogatory attitude toward images to liken them to shadows transitory, minimally informative, immaterial, impotent co-presences of the real things which cast them. But the force of photographic images comes from their being material realities in their own right, richly informative deposits left in the wake of whatever emitted them, potent means for turning the tables on reality for turning it into a shadow. Images are more real than anyone could have supposed."
Susan Sontag, On Photography, pp. 179-180.
"TV can tell what and, with great luck, sometimes how. But it cannot tell why...TV is, therefore, a force both of unrivalled disclosure and of profound limitations upon disclosure."
William S. White.