Thursday, June 14, 2007

Media Rant

Temperature at departure = 72° F (22° C)
Days until school starts = 63

I've spent my entire adult life working in the media in one form or another and have considered myself a justified critic of the industry. In the last couple of weeks I've seen the local media here do an excellent job covering a story that hit very close to home. They kept the relevant relevant -- great job. Now, the news cycle has shifted gears and we're back to the type of "news" that I abhor.

Samuel Morse changed everything about the way our nation and our world communicated by creating the first information network able to move data faster than the 35 MPH that trains, the era's current delivery system, could travel. At that time, Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden:

"We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.... We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough."

Well, now we have the internet and satellite delivered news to let us know that our own princes is suffering and we're back to the media making the relevant irrelevant and vice versa. So it goes.


If this makes any sense at all, you may enjoy Amusing Ourselves to Death - Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. Written in 1984, it seems even more pertinent today and makes great pool-side reading.

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