Sam: Is that ethical? It can't be ethical!
"Whom the gods would destroy, they first give television."
"The fact that television personalities so notoriously took precedence over the politicians at Miami Beach was noted with sour wonder by journalists who have begun to fear that their rendering of events into lines of linear type may prove to be as irrelevant an exercise as turning contemporary literature into Greek. The fact that in a hotel lobby it was Eric Severeid not John Tower who collected a crowd was thought to be a sign of the essential light-mindedness of the electorate. Yet Severeid belongs to the country in a way few politicians ever do. Only Ronald Reagan among the politicians at Miami exerted the same spell, and for the same reason: he is a bona fide star of the Late Show, equally ubiquitous, equally mythic."
, "The Twenty-Ninth Republican Convention"
"I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television."
—E. B. White
, Harper's Bazaar
"Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome."
"The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter, but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining."
"It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper."
"Action sequences filmed in Confuse-O-Vision."
It says here that "religion is the opiate of the masses." What do you suppose that means? Television set:
(It means Karl Marx hadn't seen anything yet.)
Television is only so much mindless drivel. Glossy adventures, sex and violence... Ain't it great?
"You people sit there, day after day, night after night. You're all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, eat like the tube, raise your children like the tube, even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! We are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off in the middle of this sentence. Turn them off!"
"Lemmie think. What did I learn in the real world? What's the one thing most likely to rot people's minds and reduce their brains to mashed potatoes? I remember now - television!"
"Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done"
When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland. You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you'll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.
—"The Wasteland Speech", given by FCC chairman Newton N. Minow to the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters, May 9, 1961.
"This is the strangest box I've ever seen!"
"Television is very educational: every time it's on, I go into the next room and read a book."