In the excerpt from Marshall McLuhan’s book, “The Medium is the Message,” he has coined the phrase that the “medium is the message” to everything. I have to say putting this to history context, he has some strong points to prove this phrase throughout history. In his chapter he explains what the phrase of “The medium is the message” as not what it is about, but what it tells you from the start. He compares it to cubism, “By seizing on instant total awareness, suddenly announced that the medium is the message.”  before this eclectic speed of communications became obvious, many people would look at the specific piece of art and say what it is about instead of looking at the entire painting as a whole and understanding that the piece of art as a whole was the message.  Yes, there are ways in which McLuhan’s argument can stand alone in history, but in other ways it cannot.
This can be traced back to the 17th Century when people wrote letters. With the cost of sending a letter was paid when the recipient picked it up, many people would not pick up the letters. Knowing that they had gotten a letter from a loved one was the message of them being ok. So yes, the medium was the message, these mothers, fathers and wives just knew by getting a letter, that their loved one was ok.
Moving forward in time, art became something very informative that didn’t need words to describe what was being said. During war time propaganda was used to get many people to say towards the ‘right thing’. In Puck issue from June 1896 during the Spanish American War, the advertisement The Cuban Melodrama was something of pure art, but had lots of meaning behind it. Without reading the caption on the bottom, you can see that the state the message is in, is the message itself. You see Uncle Sam protecting a pure Cuban Woman away from the scary old Spaniard. With this message of encouraging men to enlist themselves in the war, is clearly seen with just looking at the ad itself. This was on the cover of Puck magazine, so with the picture being that noticeable and seen, the message was clearly getting understood without even analyzing it. 
Other the hand, a message that a TV show gives off is something that you need to watch the entire episode for the message at hand to understand. With the letters, just getting a letter was confirmation that someone you care about was ok, but with an episode about how it is not ok to steal is something that needs to be watched entirely for the message to be understood. The same thing goes with film. If the overall moral of the plot is revealed at the end, then the medium is not the message. You have to watch the film for the moral to be revealed.
So overall McLuhan’s argument is not totally wrong, it can be seen as right throughout time, but in other instances, no the phrase “Medium is the Message” is not correct.
 Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Message, (England: Routledge and Kegan Paul Limited, 1964), 13.
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the MEssage, 13-14.
 Jay Taylor, Puck, 3 June 1896.