Syntheses Essay

Syntheses Essay

Your essay should synthesize the information provided in at least three articles. The essay will analyze the effect that television and other forms of multimedia technology have had on the delivery of news.
In this essay, you will use three sources:
You must use the following two sources:
? Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death
? Matt Quayle?s article, ?The Method of the Medium is the Motion?
This article is available in the reserved readings section of our class.
In addition, you must use at least one of the following sources:
? Mark Kelley, ?An Apology to the 4G Generation,? available at
? ?The Media and the Middle East,? available at
? Paul Grabowicz, ?The Transition to Digital Storytelling,? available at

Overall, you will integrate at least three sources into your essay. You may integrate four or all five of the above sources if you would like to. But you must use Postman, Quayle, and at least one other source listed above.
Postman takes a particular view on television?s impact on journalism. Quayle agrees on some points with Postman but disagrees on others. Kelley writes rather informally about the effects of current technology on attention span in taking in news. ?The Media and the Middle East? discusses issues related to the attention span of consumers of news. Grabowicz writes about new forms of journalism and storytelling that are taking shape in journalism.
Your essay should have the following:
? an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement.
(WH offers a section called "Drafting an Introduction with Thesis" that will help you understand how to construct a solid introduction and develop a sound thesis statement.)

? body paragraphs that offer evidence to support your thesis and synthesizes your source material
(WH sections on "Drafting the body" and "Synthesizing source material" will help you develop this section of your essay.)

? a solid conclusion that reminds readers of your main idea (or thesis) without simply repeating it
(WH offers a section called "Drafting a conclusion" that will offer you guidance as you develop this part of your essay.)
Length: 1000-1200 words

Some strategies to consider when writing this essay:
In writing this essay, you will want to take notes on what Postman says about news broadcasting in Amusing Ourselves to Death, particularly in chapters 6 and 7. You will also want to take notes on how Quayle responds to Postman. Quayle?s article was written in 2010. It provides some interesting perspectives in hindsight on what Postman wrote in 1985 in his book. You will also want to take notes on the other source(s) you use.
You will then find two or three themes that you found in the various sources. To learn more about how to find themes in texts and integrate them into a synthesis paper, you may watch the following video tutorial developed by UMUC?s Effective Writing Center.
You might also benefit from advice given on synthesis writing from Drew University and from Professor John A. Dowell at Michigan State University.
In addition, Writer’s Help offers definitions of analysis and synthesis as well as specific sections called "synthesizing source material," and "analysis: writing about texts." You can find these sections by typing in these titles in the Writer?s Help search box. Your instructor may have these areas tagged for you. If that is the case, then you will see them on your WH home page.

Writer please use all 3 sources in red above on first page.

The flexibility and power of the new cable business news format has been
used to transform the depth of the coverage of business and financial news.
In addition to "breaking news" in the markets, analysis of public policy from
leaders in business, government and the academy are often conceived live
on TV, bringing insight into the issues and forces at work. In my view, this
new capability in the context of the economic and financial crisis has had a
major impact on our general understanding of the issues and challenges.
?Michael Spence, 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics,
Stanford University Professor Emeritus
In the year 2010, and beyond, can television news support a higher level of
public discourse in America? In the spirit of "Legacies of Hope and Meaning,"
I am hopeful about the future. I believe TV news can deliver on that
meaning. However, in 1984, Neil Postman did not share that sentiment within
the pages of his landmark work. Amusing Ourselves to Death.
A news show, to put it plainly, is a format for entertainment, not for education,
reflection, or catharsis, (p. 87-88)
Matt Quayle is the co-creator and executive producer of Squawk Box and Squawk on the Street
on CNBC-TV. He also serves as the senior advisor to CNBC’s international morning program,
Worldwide Exchange. He was named to the TJFR Business News Reporter "30 under 30" list in
1997, 1998, and 1999, and has been quoted in numerous national publications including The
Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Money Magazine. He holds a BA in Communications
from Rutgers University and is currently working on his MA in Media and Professional
Communications at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He lives in Haworth, New Jersey, with his
wife, CNBC anchor Becky Quick, and his two daughters, Kimiko (7) and Natalie (6).
This article is based on a presentation at the Across the Generations: Legacies of Hope
and Meaning Conference sponsored by the Institute of General Semantics, September 11-13,
2009, at Fordham University in New York City.
I am not here to refute the core of much of Postman’s work. As a business
television producer for the last seventeen years, I can surely attest to the
relevance of many of his conclusions. However, I also believe it is consequential
to reopen the discussion in some context based primarily on new evidence
within the cable and broadcast news space that can demonstrate some contemporary
attributes of the medium of television that were not observable to
Postman twenty-five years ago. In short, I believe the method of the medium
of television news and production is in motion. Within this evolution lies
proof of this new dynamic. My goal is not to tear down what Postman built,
but rather to build and expand on his conclusions in an attempt to prove that
in 2010, and beyond, there is hope for a higher form of public discourse in the
age of electronics. Interviews with thought leaders, policy makers, journalists,
and academics (like Michael Spence, above), all can help corroborate my view.
However, real life examples are needed to substantiate my claim. But, to get to
real life and present day, our path has to flow through the television signals
and tubes of the past. In Amusing, Postman told us:
Television serves us most usefully when presenting junk-entertainment; it
serves us most ill when it co-opts serious modes of discourse?news, politics,
science, education, commerce, religion?and turns them into entertainment
packages. We would all be better off if television got worse, not
better. "The A-Team" and "Cheers" are no threat to our public health.
"60 Minutes," "Eye-Witness News," and "Sesame Street" are. (p. 159)
That was 1984. There were three national networks plus a local PBS.
60 Minutes was a one-of-a-kind. TV news consisted primarily of a morning
news program (like The Today Show), a thirty-minute local news broadcast in
the early evening, followed by a thirty-minute national network news show
(like ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings). That was it. CNN was
not even a factor for another six years, when it exploded into American culture
during the first Gulf War. Postman’s sample size was too small, and taken
too prematurely, to accurately measure the full potential of the medium.
Twenty-five years later, in simple volume terms alone, the TV news space has
exploded with content. Just take the sub-category of TV "business news"
alone. Right now, there are three active full-time business news networks
(CNBC, Bloomberg, and the Fox Business Network) in the United States, and
more than a dozen other English-speaking business news networks overseas.
The general news network examples are even greater in number.
However, more does not necessarily mean better and, undoubtedly, there
is more "junk" out there on television than ever before. But I do not have to
prove all TV can support the public discourse to make a difference. I just have
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to demonstrate that some of it can. I want to show new variables have been
added to the equation and these variables might have made Postman view this
subject differently than when he said.
All subject matter is presented as entertaining . . . To say it another way:
Entertainment is the supra-ideology of all discourse on television. No
matter what is depicted or from what point of view, the overarching presumption
is that it is there for our amusement or pleasure, (p. 87; emphasis
The word "all" is the weakness in his argument. This is where I must explore
new avenues of critical thought.
On any given business day, the three domestic networks alone will, combined,
air dozens of interviews with scholars, journalists, economists, market
strategists, CEOs, publicly elected officers, and administration officials. Add
to this that all major speeches given by the president, treasury secretary, and
chairman of the Federal Reserve will be carried live and mostly free of commercial
interruption. Numerous public hearings are also broadcast live, with
topics as varied as the economic stimulus package, the mortgage meltdown,
and government loans to help the Big Three automakers avoid bankruptcy.
Interview topics include everything from "book-to-bill" ratios for semiconductor
manufacturers to the latest "Beige Book" report from the Federal Reserve
Bank surveying regional economic activity. Treasury yields, mortgage rates,
technical analysis, labor disputes?all commonly fall under the "cable business
news content" umbrella. However, none of it would also fall into a category
of what Postman observed was the primary motivation of TV, to simply
"entertain." This is programming designed, at least partially, to engage in a
hard-core form of "economic discourse," meant for a very sophisticated and
highly educated audience. I cannot believe Postman would think this was done
purely for cheap entertainment value.
To drill down on this point, let me introduce a specific example that might
help build my case. I need a unique example that turns the Postman argument
upside down; something he could never foresee happening in the mass media
in 1984 or in 2009. Let’s fast forward from 1984 to Monday, March 9, 2009, at
6 AM Eastern Standard Time at CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey. The U.S. stock market is three hours away from opening a new
week of trading on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down
twenty-five percent for the young year, closing near levels it has not seen in
almost twelve years. The U.S. economy is already in the worst recession since
1982, and if the trend continues, experts say, this downturn could snowball
into the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression. The nation is
in a massive banking crisis due to the fallout from the subprime mortgage
meltdown. Retail sales are grinding to a halt. Two of the three domestic automakers
are on the brink of declaring bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve Bank
has lowered interest rates to practically zero in an attempt to spur new lending
and kick-start the economy. The jobless rate keeps climbing each month to
multi-decade highs. In the previous month alone, the U.S. labor force lost over
600,000 non-farm-related jobs. One in ten U.S.-held mortgages is either overdue
or in foreclosure.
With that as context, how can a television news program make a difference
in the public discourse of serious subjects like the banking and financial
crisis of 2008-2009 in a way Postman might not have thought possible or
practical when he was writing Amusing in 1984? The defense calls its first witness,
a seventy-eight-year-old man who plays bridge for fun, lives in the same
house he bought nearly fifty years ago, and has a diet that consists primarily
of cheeseburgers and cherry Coke. Of course, I am talking about the Oracle
of Omaha himself, the world’s second-richest man and most famous investor.
Warren Buffett.
Let’s ask some questions. What if, on Monday morning, March 9, 2009,
on CNBC’s morning show Squawk Box, anchors Becky Quick and Joe Kernen
conducted a three-hour TV news interview with Warren Buffett, live from one
of the furniture stores he owns in Omaha, Nebraska? In addition, what if we
combine the medium of television with the Internet to give viewers the ability
to ask their own questions of Mr. Buffett? What if this three-hour news event
with unedited questions sent in by viewers combined with questions from the
CNBC anchor team force the president of the United States, the secretary of
the U.S. Treasury, and the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank to be briefed
on what Mr. Buffett said soon after the interview was over? What do we conclude
if the interview is front-page news in many of the next day’s newspapers?
In Postman’s vision, it would seem impossible to imagine a scenario where
one of the most respected minds in the history of business would give a threehour
live TV interview, including taking questions sent in by average viewers
that literally?depending on how the questions are answered?could impact
public policy on a national scale. Even if he would do it, he probably could
not imagine a television network that would have any interest in airing it.
Just look at it theoretically. If cable television, in this case, a single threehour
episode of CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday, March 9, 2009, can provide
the public access to the thoughts of one of the most respected and brilliant
business minds that has ever lived, I fail to see how it would be argued
that this show would be detrimental to the public discourse on the current
state of the subprime mortgage crisis and the U.S. economic banking shock.
304 ETC ‘ JULY 2010
If "the economy" is one of the leading public policy issues in this country
today, and let’s, for argument’s sake, say Warren Buffett is one of the best
qualified people in the world to give advice on how to fix it, then how is a
three-hour live TV interview not a perfect example of how cable TV might be
a medium that can contribute to an increased level of intelligent public discourse
on issues that impact policy in this country?
We need to remember, the goal here is not to disprove Amusing. The goal
is to evolve it, to simply re-open the conversation. The interactive nature of
technology in television now has to be factored in when looking at how TV
news is discussed, studied, and viewed in the context of its impact on the public
discourse. It is McLuhan’s "global village" taking another step in the evolution
of his vision. Everything from video phones on TV, to Internet chats,
to e-mail, to twittering, changed the way journalists approach news and how
producers program their shows. On a national TV stage, over twenty different
people got to ask Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous investor and secondrichest
individual, a question in a live three-hour TV interview that was broadcast
globally. This demonstrates, if nothing else, that the rules of the game are
evolving and changing and new studies must be done. More analysis is needed.
On one side of the intellectual spectrum, TV may be getting "worse." Postman
may be right, but programs like the Buffet example can at least open the
discussion confirming that the other side of the spectrum exists. Think of the
Buffett example as a new species discovered in a rainforest that scientists have
no previous knowledge about, other than they seem to think it could be some
kind of "bird." We know it is a bird, we just don’t know what "kind" of bird it
is. What does this bird eat? How does it communicate? Who or what does it
communicate with? Is it a poisonous bird or does this bird have attributes that
can be scientifically beneficial? What are the unintended consequences of this
new bird being discovered? Maybe it is not even really a bird at all. Maybe it
just looks like a bird? It sure has a lot of the traits a normal bird should have.
In fact, the Buffett example is a TV program, and to claim that it is not
would be an easy way out if we want to live by the gospel according to Amusing.
We can claim it is some multi-platform, fragmented, expanded, high-definition,
mutated entity. But it is still, in the end, just TV. The DNA still matches, and
unfortunately for the Postman pure-breeds, TV is starting to evolve into higher
forms of life as well as low ones.
So, is there data to help us factor in what this new species of TV program
can do, is, or how it is different from the same old TV programs we have been
watching and letting numb our minds for the past forty years? It is easy to make
statements such as "technology is changing the medium’s format," or "entertainment
value of a news program was not the first priority," or "everyday
viewers got to ask a rich guy a question." But in the end, did we make an
impact on human society? If so, was it meaningful or quantifiable? Was it
three hours of junk or did this interview make a real difference in the level of
public discourse? These are very hard metrics to prove.
Now, what we can easily prove is more people "watched" the interview
than a normal, average three-hour episode of the program. That is quantifiable
thanks to Nielsen marketing research. The Monday program gave CNBC
a forty-five percent increase in the key demographic measurement compared to
the average level the show was performing at for the entire first quarter of 2009.
Nielsen may have shown that more people "watched" the program than
normal, but did the program help bolster the public discourse about the economy
that day, or month, or year? Was society better informed as a result? Did
it make the average Joe Public smarter than just reading about it in the paper
or in books? Can we show results? Demonstrating actual or quantifiable
impact can often be very elusive. Take Postman’s argument about the Lincoln-
Douglas debates in Amusing. The example of these marathon sessions proves
"length" and describes "content" but it cannot necessarily quantify impact.
The audience is given credit for sitting through these long oratories and my
guess is he is right, the people walked away smarter and more informed. But a
skeptic would demand proof. The audience of the Lincoln-Douglas debates
did not have to prove anything. Postman gave them credit for just being there
and sitting through it. It is implied that they must have listened and learned,
or why would they stick around so long? Just because they could identify a
person by his words instead of his looks is hardly a scientifically legitimate
argument that society at the time was smarter and had better command of the
issues of the day. Remember, there were also a lot of people at that time who
could not read; and others who were so smart they thought it was in the public’s
best interest to allow slavery.
When dealing with the Buffett example, I, as a "TV expert," can give you
my professional opinion that the show was "smarter" than almost anything
else that aired that day, that week, or that month on the subject. I can also tell
you that it made a "real difference" in the finance community and for investors
all over the country who e-mailed in feedback. However, that is hardly a
strong enough argument to reopen the whole discussion on Neil Postman’s
conclusions. But what we can do is take the evidence we have and draw some
educated conclusions on our own. (Surely Postman did.)
To simplify, we will divide our conclusions into two parts: the data (or evidence)
and the theoretical. First, we will deal with the data. One measurement
that we can use to gauge what impact the Buffett example had is to quantify
approximately how much was "written" about this "TV" interview. Postman
306 ETC ? JULY 2010
surely would agree that the written word is superior to the electronic, so if the
written word followed TV’s example, this might help to prove that some of the
dynamics are changing. A simple electronic media search twenty-four hours
after the interview began found over nine hundred printed or electronic publications
that wrote a "news" story based on the Buffett TV interview. The types
of these publications varied greatly and were truly global in nature. A partial
list, for the record, includes major national publications such as The New York
Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The USA Today,
Investors’ Business Daily, Barron’s, The New Republic; overseas publications
including The Financial Times, The UK Guardian, The Malaysia Sun, The
International Herald Tribune, The Japan Times, The Australian; and specialty,
online sources and newswires such as The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg,
BBC, The Drudge Report, Politico, The Motley Fool, The Huffington
Post, CNN Money, and many more.
Many of these articles were front-page stories. Some were the lead story
of the whole paper that day, while others were front-page stories in the business
section. Still others printed partial Q-and-A transcripts of the interview.
Dozens of editorials also appeared in all the major U.S. newspapers sourcing
the interview up to a week after it first aired. White House Press Secretary
Robert Gibbs was forced to answer questions making reference to the interview
in his daily press briefing. Senate and House members referenced the
interview in congressional floor debates and committee hearings all week.
Perhaps the most ironic confirmation came two weeks after the interview
aired. The source, ironically enough, was from one of the programs that Postman
thought was among the most dangerous to society. On the March 22,
2009, edition of 60 Minutes, Steve Kroft aired an exclusive one-on-one interview
with President Barack Obama. The timing was perfect. At the moment,
both Wall Street and Main Street were looking for answers on where the country
was headed and how the administration was planning to pull the nation out
of the worst economic recession in thirty years. Without referencing CNBC
directly, in his thirty-minute interview 60 Minutes host Steve Kroft asked
President Obama about critics of his plan to fix the ailing banking sector:
"Mr. President, your treasury secretary’s plan, Mr. Geithner’s plan, and
your plan for solving the banking crisis was met with a very, very tepid
response. You had a lot of powerful people criticize it, people said they
couldn’t stand it, people said it didn’t have enough details to solve the
problem. I know you are coming out with something on this next week
but these critiques are coming from people like Warren Buffett, people
who had supported you."
At that point. President Obama interrupts Steve Kroft:
"And Warren still does support me, but understand that Warren is
also a big player in the financial markets, and he is a major owner of Wells
Fargo. So he has a perspective, a perspective from someone who is part
owner of a bank."
Two weeks after a three-hour TV news interview, in his own thirty-plus
minute TV news interview, the president of the United States of America was
asked a question directly relating to Mr. Buffett’s comments on television (not
print). A cable-TV interview with a seventy-eight-year-old financial guru is
now making such an impact that the president of the United States is forced
to respond to it. The natural direction of some discourse based on TV content
may have been diverted toward new directions.
These observations all avoid the discussion about the level of "intelligence"
of the interview. Some of that analysis is arbitrary Some of it is outside
the scope of our goal. Some of it needs to be looked at more closely if we
conclude that "we may be on to something here." For now, I believe it is still
safe to conclude the following: Considering how much the interview was written
about (and eventually talked about on TV with the president of the United
States), and considering the "non-entertaining" nature of the topic, the example,
at a minimum, became part of the "serious public discourse" of that day
and the preceding two weeks. The typographic world of newspapers and electronic
print felt compelled to "write" about it even though it was a "TV interview,"
or, as Postman would describe, and as pointed out earlier, a medium
all subject matter is presented as entertaining . . . To say it another way:
Entertainment is the supra-ideology of all discourse on television. No
matter what is depicted or from what point of view, the overarching presumption
is that it is there for our amusement or pleasure, (p. 87)
The Buffett example did not follow the model of what Postman’s universe
would define as TV news coverage. The evidence left in "typographic" form in
the nation’s leading newspapers backs up this conclusion. It shows us that, the
method of the medium is in motion. This would imply that our different communication
avenues?whether print, TV, radio, Internet, or others?are not
static subjects and, thus, do not lend themselves to declarative styles of study.
The evolution of communications is rapidly increasing and the methods
that programmers use are starting to expand and change outside the field of
common thought. As the industry fragments at a faster and faster pace, fewer
of the pre-observed characteristics, techniques, and attributes of that medium
308 ETC ? JULY 2010
will remain intact. Walter Ong looked into how oral-based cultures were dominant
for thousands of years. Next came the age of literate-based cultures (the
Homeric example). Now, we have come into the age of electronics, a new technology,
and all the subsequent new technologies based on it. The development
curve suddenly sped up to the point that it is very hard to study a new technology
before it has already evolved. And the changing methods and the fragmentation
within those methods are resulting in an overall medium that can be in
motion in different directions at the same time. The format of TV can actually
raise and diminish the level of public discourse in this country simultaneously.
The comparison between Postman’s 1985 observations of TV and a Warren
Buffett interview in 2009 on cable TV is just one minor example. The
"methods" by which we study the ecology of media have to be dynamic in
nature to keep pace because the "methods" communicators are using and the
rules they traditionally have played by are now also changing. By observing
the pace and multiple directions at which new technology is being introduced,
I do believe it is that the pace (or "the motion") of the evolution of the
medium of TV is increasing. In reality, I introduce this idea knowing full well
that a lot of what Postman believed is also coming true. Duality is important
here. The Buffett show is still the exception today, not the rule. The example is
used to simply prove that what Postman believed could never happen in 2009
actually could, while some of the things he also feared the most are happening
at the same time. The pace of the "motion" is not the issue. We just want
to confirm that the "motion" really exists, and that motion can have multiple
directions. Will TV news evolve away from image and more toward content
over the next twenty-five years? I have no idea. It may evolve away from both
ideas and head in a totally different direction. Or it may continue to fragment
in both directions at the same time. Some scholars have already declared TV
as a dead medium now that the Internet is upon us. The point is, we can now
use real-life examples to show that the medium has the ability to evolve and,
thus, prove motion must be factored in. Postman’s argument may be too static
in 2009 to be "all-inclusive."
Take the Lincoln-Douglas debates we discussed earlier and, now, look at
them from a different perspective. Postman used them as evidence that the
debate participants had a greater command of the content and linguistics to
deliver their messages and that the audience had a greater attention span,
desire, and ability to be able to hear and perceive the messages sent. But now,
in 2009, TV can air a three-hour interview, or an hours-long debate on the
U.S. Senate floor, live on TV. The realization that the TV industry bothers
to air it in the first place addresses the "demand" issue. It is only the ability to
deliver or digest the messages and the quality of those messages that are now
up for debate. Steve Forbes is president and CEO of Forbes Inc. and editorin-
chief of Forbes Magazine. He is also a two-time presidential candidate,
best-selling author, and board member for multiple medical and charitable
foundations. When I asked him if cable TV has the potential to make a real
positive difference in society, he stressed the importance of the live event:
"Cable TV’s current format not only makes viewers feel they are getting
news in ‘real time’ but also allows them to see news and policy made right
before their eyes."
It would seem only logical to conclude that as the format of TV news
evolves as Forbes describes, the skills and ability of both the participants and
the audience will evolve along with it to take advantage of a more complex
form of discourse. Will this always lead to a higher form of discourse? No.
But just the idea that maybe it "could" is enough to prove our point.
Postman did not foresee the fragmentation of the audience or the multiple
directions TV is currently evolving in at the same time. The idea that this fragmentation
could create a new class of smarter viewers who continue to
demand smarter and smarter TV is an idea that Postman did not consider
then, and has yet to fully play out now. Some people are surely still on a road
toward amusing themselves to death, but now there are alternatives because
TV is moving (even if only very slowly) and who knows how popular and
influential the alternatives can become or how fast the evolution will get as
time goes on. The fact alone that these alternatives now exist and are growing
(like CNBC, which had its most profitable and popular year ever in 2009), is
enough to make us at least pause when we consider the future that Postman
thought was practically unavoidable.
In an interview for this article, U.S. Senator Judd Gregg from New Hampshire
gave me his insights on the power and influence of new cable TV formats
like CNBC:
"Focused and substantive cable programming like Squawk Box have fundamentally
impacted policy views in Washington, as they are watched by
a large number of members and used as a primary and easily obtainable
source of information on issues like finance. I think it is a safe statement
that more information was gleaned off" interviews and commentary occurring
on CNBC during the financial crisis of the late fall in 2008 by Members
of Congress than from any other single source and the impact of that
cannot be underestimated. Shows like Squawk Box are looked to for core
commentary and current market activity by so many people who are not
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directly active in the investment and financial industry, such as policy
makers in Washington, that their impact far exceeds their targeted audience
of people participating in various financial markets."
Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death will always be firmly part of
the foundation of the intellectual study known as Media Ecology. The insights
were ahead of its time, and dead on target. But twenty-five years have passed
and now it is time to look at it again. We look to it for leadership, and as a
guide. We look across the generations for hope. Hope to document further
declines of discourse, and to launch new levels and dimensions of evolution.
We need to read its material, build on its messages, improve our environment,
and focus our methods. It can help everybody who watches TV for information,
or produces TV as a career. It keeps us grounded and yet enables us to
raise our game, and when we raise our game, we raise the level of the message
contained within it. It is our responsibility as journalists and producers and
viewers to get the message right, and evolve it in the right way. The more we
explore and push the boundaries of television’s cerebral bounds, the closer we
can get to defending some of the intellectual traditions Mr. Postman spent so
much time defending. Both can exist. It is our challenge in the next twentyfive
years to learn from the mistakes he outlined and accelerate the pace of


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