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

Newton Minow, Author, Craig Lamay, Author
Newton Minow, Author, Craig Lamay, Author Hill & Wang $20 (237p) ISBN 978-0-8090-2311-0
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-0-8090-1589-4
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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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