Your industry possesses the most powerful voice in America. It has an inescapable duty to make that voice ring with intelligence and with leadership.

…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 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.

…I believe in the people’s good sense and good taste, and I am not convinced that the people’s taste is as low as some of you assume.

…Broadcasting cannot continue to live by the numbers. Ratings ought to be the slave of the broadcaster, not his master. And you and I both know — You and I both know that the rating services themselves would agree.

Newton Minow, Vast Wasteland speech, 9 May 1961, addressed to the NAB, where he implores television operators and producers to limit their reliance on ratings and the numbers and instead focus on the public interest.

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