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Carpe Media

Posted December 17, 2015
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Television news – love it, hate it.. or don’t even watch it.

But it has an impact. A big impact.

Whether its Fox News or MSNBC, what gets on TV news moves the needle and more importantly, sets the national agenda. It’s where the majority of our public discourse takes place.

Until now, that public discourse has been very much of one way street – more electronic dictatorship than democracy.  We make it – you watch it.

When television was both expensive and complex to make there might have been an excuse for this.  A free press, HL Mencken once wrote, is reserved for those who can afford a press.  And in the 1950s, there were about three people in the world who could afford an electronic TV ‘press’ – David Sarnoff (NBC), Bill Paley (ABC) and Leonard Goldenson (ABC).  That was it.

Later, Rupert Murdoch would join them.

So, we didn’t have much choice.  When it came to news and journalism, the vast majority of us (the 99.9999999%) would have to be passive viewers and listeners while a tiny handful of self-appointed who knows what to call them would take it upon themselves to tell the rest of us what the ‘truth’ was around the world.

Who elected these people?

No one.

And yet we took it, because we have no choice. Oh, we might yell at the screen (or just turn it off), but there was no option.

This is no longer true.

As with all things, technology has the power to unseat the powerful.  Today, each of us carries in our pocket a remarkable device that allows us (if we use it right) to create our own TV news and to share it with 3.5 billion people around the world – for free.  

Before the invention of the printing press in 1452, only the Church and the King had the power to disseminate ideas.  After Gutenberg, anyone with an idea was free to publish. That tech revolution turned the world upside down.  

We no longer live in a print world. Today, we live in a world dominated by video and TV.  Until now, the ‘power’ to create that content was in the hands of a very very few.  Now, for the first time, it is in your hands.

If you don’t like the news… change it.


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