Why can’t Jane watch television?

Media historian Jeff Ubois recently published a research paper about why it’s impossible to do research on the history of television. I wrote about his experiments in my column last week:

Ubois found that studying one simple event in recent TV history was impossible. Copyright rules and poor archive access meant that even after months of work, he was unable to gain copies of a single primary source related to former Vice President Dan Quayle’s 1992 speech blaming TV character Murphy Brown for the nation’s decline in family values.

Read more.

2 thoughts on “Why can’t Jane watch television?

  1. I think the French Parliament passed a law in 1992 to create a film and television archive (“depot legal”), which was made open to French researchers. I’m not sure about this; it was mentioned briefly in the Derrida/Stiegler interviews featured in “Echographies of Television.”

  2. Hm, interesting. Certainly the BBC has made tremendous efforts to make its archives available to British citizens.