Show Business: Questioning the Power

The networks . . . represent a concentration of power over American public opinion unknown in history . . . We'd never trust such power in the hands of an elected government. It's time we questioned it in the hands of a small and unelected elite.

—SpiroAgnew, 1969

The Vice President's famous speech in Des Moines, Iowa, was the opening blast in a sustained campaign by the Nixon Administration. Its aim: to chip away at the control exerted by the three major television networks over the programming they carry. That campaign received an uncalculated boost last year when the Federal Communications Commission limited...

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