The 90’s, episode 302: It’s Only TV

Episode 302 of the award winning series, The 90's. This episode is called "IT'S ONLY TV" and features the following segments:

0:36Copy video clip URL “New York TV Demonstration” by Skip Blumberg and Esti Marpet. At the ABC building in New York, Peter Jennings is questioned by a protester about the major networks’ failure to cover the antiwar movement. “You’d never know there was an antiwar movement from watching the news,” says the protester.

1:12Copy video clip URL The 90’s opening.

2:08Copy video clip URL More “New York TV Demonstration.” The story begins with Skip covering the media covering a protest against the media but also includes comments from protesters. Betty Aberlin of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame begins, “When people over the years ask what Mr. Rogers is about I joke and say he’s kind of like the flip side of Big Brother. When I see our president playing Mr. Rogers in his talk of a kinder, gentler I-don’t-know-what or his talk of the darnest search and destroy mission, I must say the resemblance is a little too close for comfort.” Bill Schaap of “Lies of Our Times” talks about the simplistic nature of the news and how “news is distorted and shaped to fit the establishment.” Poet Allen Ginsberg, on his way to a birthday party, comments about the media over the noise of the street demonstration.

13:54Copy video clip URL Todd Alcott by Skip Blumberg. The 90’s regular Todd Alcott rants: “Good evening, this is the news. I’m an anchor. You can tell by the outfit. If I were a commentator, I’d be thirty years older. If I were a weatherman, I’d be fat. If I were a sportscaster, I’d have a really bad haircut. If I were a war correspondent, I’d wear a safari costume. Through the miracle of television we can bring you the news when it happens, as it happens. We will bring you the news quickly and accurately just as soon as the government says we can. We assault you with so many contradictory messages you don’t know what’s going on at all. You don’t know if anything is real. Look at my hand, there are pieces missing from my hand. I’m dissolving in a blizzard of lies.”

15:51Copy video clip URL “Daisy” by Nancy Cain. Elderly woman named Daisy performs blues music at Venice Beach.

17:25Copy video clip URL “At Home with Howard Rosenberg” by Nancy Cain. Los Angeles Times television columnist Howard Rosenberg talks about television. “‘Frontline’ is one of the few places on public television that you can find anything with any balls.” He watches four TV sets simultaneously: “And despite that I’m relatively sane.” “Shopping channels. They’re a real kick. I find myself watching them a lot. Some of the people on there are really good salespeople. Cathy, she’s incredible, she’s amazing.”

23:58Copy video clip URL “Switching Channels” by Nancy Cain. Nancy Cain switches through the channels, coming up with gas mask after gas mask scene. When the shopping channel appears Nancy says, “Cathy where’s your gas mask? Come on girl!”

25:15Copy video clip URL “Peter Poppoff Revealed” by Aron Ranen, from 1986. A look at how televangelist Peter Poppoff tricked viewers with miracles through the help of a radio transmitter in his ear controlled by his wife backstage. We hear the transmissions of Poppoff’s wife cuing him from backstage while we see him acting on her information. “Take a few steps to make the Devil made,” he says. He then throws an arthritis-stricken lady’s cane like a javelin: “You’re not going to be needing that anymore.” In the meantime, his wife tells him things like addresses and names to give him that omniscient aura. Various congregants are confronted with the tape of his radio transmissions. One says, “It really makes me believe less in him,” while others are more unwilling to believe that Poppoff is a fake. Poppoff himself is confronted in an interview about his exploitative nature, to which he replies, “Are cigarette ads exploiting their audiences? You could say yes.”

33:27Copy video clip URL “National Religious Broadcasters Convention” by Eddie Becker. Dave Bradshaw of “World View Perspectives” comments on television: “When I do watch television, I enjoy watching Public Television because it is in many ways educational. However, you have to understand that there’s a world view that shapes the production of that program. Christians should lead the environmental movement more.” Eddie: “I asked you about television.” Bradshaw: “I got off on a little tangent there. By design, television has encouraged us to stop thinking. It’s proven that our brain waves actually slow down after watching hours and hours of television. We’re giving ourself over to the media. I personally think that NBC, ABC, all of the networks are linked in to the New World Order. We have to understand, as Christians, that the media has a world view. There’s no such thing as totally unbiased reporting. Television has not done a job in helping us to develop any kind of our own world view.”

36:06Copy video clip URL More from ” Channel Switching.”

36:43Copy video clip URL Bob Mustang by Russ Miller. Bob Mustang is at a windmill field in the desert and performs this monologue. “This show is a satellite feed via satellite. TV was created by man for man to use, like a screwdriver or a hammer or a wrench. It’s something to manipulate something with. TV is a tool. You can take a hammer and nail something to the wall or you can beat somebody’s skull in with it. Same idea. It’s not the tool, it’s who uses it. The man on the TV is going to force feed me the junk I don’t want. And behold the man who came from the TV screen. Start praying to a new god.” He walks away and asks, “Are you still watching?”

39:38Copy video clip URL More music from Daisy on Venice Beach.

41:08Copy video clip URL “Making Waves” by Karen Ranucci. In La Paz, Bolivia there is no garbage pickup, no sewage system, no running water and a plethora of street children. A Canadian-based group called ENDA has developed a video workshop to help the street kids get a different view of their reality and to discover that they have other talents than shining shoes.

46:24Copy video clip URL “Peter Stranger” by Nancy Cain. Peter Stranger, an advertising executive involved in the Joe Isuzu commercials, talks about that campaign’s success. The actual character of Joe Isuzu (played by David Leisure) is interspersed throughout. “I’m not sure if this was genius or dumb luck. We tapped into the nation’s consciousness. There was a mood going on at the time. Wall Street was booming and 26 year olds were making $400,000 a year. Joe Isuzu was a liar. He was the most honest car salesman out there. He mocked the chest beating that was coming from the standard auto manufacturer – ‘and I’m no Joe Isuzu’. We just loved it when he was doing that.”

48:17Copy video clip URL More “At Home with Howard Rosenberg.” Rosenberg expresses his concern that the news media does not consider their own impact on the American people. “You see the war on television, but you did not see the war on television. I’ve seen people on television die before my eyes and the scariest part is not so much seeing it, the scariest part is seeing it and not feeling anything.”

51:45Copy video clip URL More “New York TV Demonstration.” Peter Jennings is surrounded by protesters who question him about the networks’ failure to report the war accurately and the lack of antiwar news. When asked what he’s doing there he says he’s trying to cover the story. “Accurately?” asks someone. “I’ll let you be the judge of that,” Jennings replies. “You’re not doing a very good job so far” is the response.

55:25Copy video clip URL “Big Screen Delivery” by Nancy Cain. A big screen TV is delivered to a home while the music of the Muddy Bottom Blues Boys plays under credits.


1 Comment

  1. rudolph says:

    Some audio from the Todd Alcott news anchor section was used in the opening track for the album Souls At Zero by Neurosis

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