- Barack Obama mourns Newton Minow.
- The former FCC chief was his close friend and mentor.
- Minow helped create public television.
Newton N. Minow was the head of the Federal Communications Commission in the 1960s. His proclamation that network television was a “vast wasteland” led to the creation of public television and WTTW. He sadly passed away at 97 years old.
Barack Obama mourns Newton Minow
Newton Minow’s daughter Nell revealed that Newton died on Saturday, May 6 at his home in Chicago. Although his cause of death has not been confirmed, all indications are it was of natural causes.
Minow was very important in the life of the former president. He gave Barack Obama a summer job at the law firm, where the future president met his wife, Michelle. Minow was also an early Obama supporter when the then-Illinois senator considered running for president, Nell Minow said.
Barack Obama has lost a good friend
Obama dedicated an emotional message to him on Twitter: “Newt Minow was a dear friend, mentor and early supporter of mine. He also embodied the ideal of public service – helping launch the satellites that made nationwide broadcasts possible, cementing presidential debates as a national institution, helping usher in public television, and reminding the media of its obligation to foster a well-informed citizenry,» he began.
“I will always owe a great debt to Newt, most of all because he helped introduce me to Michelle when we were both young lawyers in Chicago. We will miss him dearly, just as we miss his beloved wife, Jo, who passed away last year, and send our love and thoughts to their family,» he added.
Immediately, people began offering their condolences to the former president: «Great man, a soul lost too soon!» «My condolences,” said a couple of users
“It’s amazing how one person can have such a big impact on America’s history and public service. This is a beautiful tribute to Newt Minow, who clearly had a profound influence on you and our country in general. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt message,» the messages continued.
He was the first official to receive a Peabody Award
Minow became the first government official to earn a George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. The now deceased resigned in May 1963 to become executive vice president and general counsel of Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. in Chicago, according to Associated Press.
His daughter, Nell Minow, stated that her father loved television and wished he had been remembered for championing the public interest in television programming, rather than just a few words in his much larger speech. “His number one goal of his was to give people options,” she said.