Signs of the Times

The Times

Sir William J. Haley, Editor
The Times, London
 in an address to the British Oxygen Croup of Companies

The facts that words and pictures can now travel everywhere simultaneously (and newspapers only a trifle slower); and that papers can be turned out by the million and books by the hundred thousand; that men and women, goods and armies, mails and missiles, can be almost anywhere on the globe—and off it—in twenty-four hours, are the most remarkable and challenging developments of our time.

The influence of broadcasting (in this term I include television) has often been studied. I have done my share of this. But I am more and more convinced that the full extent has not yet been even dimly realised. Broadcasting and television affect our outlook on world affairs, on national affairs, on matters of controversy and taste. They affect our courtesy and discourtesy, our habits and manners. They have permeated the classes in a way nothing else has done in fifty centuries. Broadcasting has spoken peace and war between nations, friendship and hatred between individuals. It has diffused nobility and vulgarity, beauty and squalor, fineness and baseness, good and evil. And remembering. ... that we are increasingly educating people to work rather than to live, is it surprising that so many people have lost their bearings; that they are confused about what are true standards and values; and are unable to cope?.

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January 2, 1965

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