Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sleight of Mind

I started noticing something was wrong with television almost immediately after I got into it. I started at NBC in June of 1982. Two years later, the Communications Act of 1984 had changed everything. Pushed through by the Reagan administration under FCC Chairman Mark Fowler (who said TV was in no more need of regulation than any other household appliance, because TV was just "a toaster with pictures"), this began the era of media deregulation. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Images become more important than words and ideas. Images sell air time. Ratings begin to matter. Extremely visual stories trump "boring" stories that might, however, actually affect us. And even when TV is covering newsworthy stories, the coverage is brief and lacks context, and the entire experience seems incoherent.

Today, news has become entertainment, entertainment has become news, and the viewer has become ignorant of the world around him.

He is IN THE DARK.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That may be true for you in the USA but here in the UK we have the BBC, which is publically funded though the television license fee. And hec even you yanks can have access to accurate news around the world thanks to the BBC world service. So perhaps Dr Fallon you should stop being so pompeous.

Incidently how come i came across your blog from a link on some lunatic North Koreans blog who thinks Americans 'can't afford cloths and use dish cloths to hide there modesty' ?

Dr. Fallon said...

"That may be true for you in the USA but here in the UK we have the BBC, which is publically funded though the television license fee."

Yes? And? Here in the US we have the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) which is publicly funded through taxes. A small minority of Americans watch it, and it is getting tougher for PBS (as it will soon be for the Beeb) to be objective as Congress cuts more and more funding every year and more and more programming is "underwritten" by corporations.

"And hec even you yanks can have access to accurate news around the world thanks to the BBC world service."

Yes, and a small minority of Americans watch/listen to BBC News. But it is a small minority.

I was very impressed with the Beeb's coverage of the Iraq war, both the buildup and execution. No question about it.

But I don't look to the BBC as a model for excellence in journalism. I look more to the US networks in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, before Reagans FCC emasculated them.

The BBC has a horrendous record of "journalism," in my opinion, before this war. Certainly, wherever a British commonwealth member, protectorate, or "colony" was involved, the BBC was just as likely to repeat the party line as any of the US nets are today.

Disgraceful.

"So perhaps Dr Fallon you should stop being so pompeous."

LOL!!! Perhaps, anonymous, you should learn to spell.

"Incidently how come i came across your blog from a link on some lunatic North Koreans blog who thinks Americans 'can't afford cloths and use dish cloths to hide there modesty' ?"

You'll have to ask them (although I am confident you know fully why -- your atrocious spelling gives you away).