‘Much Maligned Television’ Had Its Moment 35 Years Ago Today

By Chris Ariens 

35 years ago today was a monumental one for TV news.

Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president of the United States. And at the same time, 52 hostages were released from 444 days of captivity in Iran. Ted Koppel, anchor of ABC’s Nightline, which took to the air in November, 1979 as a late night update on the Iran crisis, closed his show on Jan. 20, 1981 marveling at the technological advances that allowed these two major news stories to be reported and transmitted live to every American home.

“This has been without question one of the more memorable days in our nation’s history and television–much maligned television which frequently does numb the brain and dull the senses–today produced a technological miracle. Never has any generation of Americans had greater reason to claim they were eyewitnesses to history.”