Tuesday, January 30, 2007
So, last night, I was watching the Daily Show and I heard something disturbing...not Bill Gates attempting to be funny, but rather his description of the future of interactive TV. Bill described a news broadcast that would only cover what we want it to cover. The ide ais the same as any other technological advances, it makes things more personal and less time consuming. But here's my problem: personalized news broadcasts would be potentially harmful for the democratic discourse. The problem is that people don't hear too much, but not enough dissenting opinions than their own. We need to hear what we don't want to. We already have a nation divided, in large part because they hear what they want to. There was that horrifying study that 33 % of Fox News (BTW did anyone else see Chuck Norris filling in for Hannity?) viewers believe we found WMD's in Iraq compared with Compared with 23% for CBS, 20% for both CNN and NBC, 19% for ABC and 11% for both NPR/PBS, and 67 % say that there was a connection between Hussein and 9/11, his is compared to 56% for CBS, 49% for NBC, 48% for CNN, 45% for ABC, 16% for NPR/PBS. Imagine how much worse this would be if people picked and chose what news they heard and what news they didn't. Now I'm talking about opinions and news in the same breath here, and sadly it is near impossible to hear either one without the other. PBS, the last beacon of hard news, has succombed to talking heads as well. Essentially, what I am saying, is that TV news is for many people, and sadly thanks to the death of newspaper journalism, the only way to conceptualize their reality. And while the rest of our everyday lives are made interactive, our concept of reality should not be. It doesn't need much more help becoming that way.