From time to time I realize I have more to say on a topic I’ve written about, however I don’t feel a full essay forthcoming. In those instances I turn to the PS. In this edition of post scripts: My Last Post About Birthers, This is DNN, and While We Were Sleeping.
My Last Post About Birthers
Last year I wrote an angry missive about all the jokes and back handed comments hurled at president Obama designed to delegitimize his election and presidency. I tried to express my frustration with what I saw was undeniable racism in the comments. I was angry to the point of cursing something I rarely do in real life much less in print. Watching the coverage of the release of the Presidents birth certificate some reporters started doing the unthinkable. They started covering the racism in the claims. It was easy to do, because all the people now again presented with the evidence they so desperately sought still claimed there was something fishy going on. There was still some mysteries in Obama’s past. Something, anything, hidden from the eyeballs of America should now be exposed because the only possible explanation for this black man as our president has to be a nefarious secret. Sure there have been presidents who are members of actual secret societies, but this guy he’s gotta be some kind of … I pray that this is the last time we have to deal with this Birther crap. I hope now the rest of the media owns up to the racism in this and many of the other stories, but as I write this they’ve already started asking why he chose now to release the documentation.
This is DNN
Yesterday I ridiculed the cable news industry for devoting so much energy to people and ideas that any actual scrutiny would expose as horrendously stupid. Today I’d like to take a page out of my childhood but instead of imagining what I would do if I ran a zoo, I’d like to think about what I’d do if I ran a 24 hour cable news channel. First thing I’d do is get rid of the traditional cable news format. I might keep the morning show idea, but it would become much less chatty more akin to the NY1 format. This would probably be the only time I’ll allow a news ticker. The morning broadcast is for giving you a blast of information the things you need just before stepping out the door. After that I’d stop denying the reality that TV and the Internet are conjoined media consumption mediums. As of now most of television views the internet as ornamental. So we get twitter polls, and some of the content is put online as an afterthought. DNN, the Disengage Auto pilot News Network would organize around the Internet. All of our content would be available online, when you want it. Next no one would have a show. As I mentioned in the original post, the inflated anchor often becomes the news, we’re more interested in what they think of the news than what the news actually is. To refocus attention back to the stories we must do away with the notion of tuning into a particular person. DNN would take the 24 hour news day and chop it up a la sections of a newspaper: 2 hours of international politics, 1 hour on technology, and so on. Instead of trying to prepare a show a night, my news crew would be focused on preparing stories on specific topics. A reporter could be on at 3pm one week with a story on the sinking dollar, and the next week they’d be reporting at 5pm on the impact of a study on cancer treatment. Interviews wouldn’t be squeezed into 7 or even 15 minute segments but half hour to an hour long shows. The point again is to put the story back at the heart of the broadcast. Still escaping the trappings of modern media altogether would be unpopular so if you wanted to follow a particular news person their works would be aggregated on their blog at DNN.com. It would also be foolish to imagine that people would have the time to watch all the programs available on the network, so in the evening there would be a show devoted to recapping the coverage the network had that day. Again these would be more like abstracts not full stories more information would be available online. All these changes would make use of the one thing 24 hour news inexplicable seems to habitual fail at using; time.
While We Were Sleeping
As entertaining as all this political theater is we are truly living in interesting times. The financial crisis was global and its effect is still rippling through our governments. We’re complaining about 9% unemployment, while the rest of the world is rioting. This is video is from Greece the birthplace of democracy. Meanwhile in Iceland they decided to default on their international obligations and as a result they have no money, and being an island very little chance of avoiding total collapse. Africa is still on fire and Japan is still radioactive. As long as we continue to treat our news as just another show on television to be entertained by we are never going to be able to come up with solutions to the problems facing the world.