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Touching A Nerve

Posted August 25, 2016
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Earlier this week, I wrote a blog for TheVJ that I re-ran in The Huffington Post. 

It was entitled: Donald Trump Is Going To Be Elected.  

But it was not really a political piece. Instead, it was an indictment of the terrible quality of television.  

I have been writing for The Huffington Post for several years now, and usually, if I am lucky, I will get a handful of likes, a few reposts and a comment or two.

This time it was different.  As of now, 137,000 likes, 19,000 reposts and 1366 comments - and still climbing.

Last night I was on the Michael Steele show on radio and was invited onto Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC.  Both of them (and many other people) resonated t the first paragraph in the article:

"Donald Trump is going to be elected president.

The American people voted for him a long time ago.

They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to Pawn Stars and Swamp People. 

They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley to Naked and Afraid.

They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to My 600 Pound Life.

They voted for him when CBS went from airing Harvest of Shame to airing Big Brother."

You may have read it here on Sunday.

What they, and many of the people who read it and responded or re-posted resonated to was not so much the political stuff (though that was a big draw), but rather my references to the terrible quality of much of what is on TV - and the power of television and video.

Upon reading it, a friend in NY texted me and said, 'what can we do'.

I think what we can do is to take control of the medium (and thus its content) ourselves.

When it was both complex and expensive to make television, we had no choice. We had to accept what the networks offered - it was a one way street - striclty take it or leave it.

But now, as you know from being here, the gear is cheap and easy to use and the techniques for making compelling content are easy enough to learn.

The solution to bad television is not to turn the TV off, but rather to begin to take control of the making of the content.

This is not so revolutionary. (OK, it is a bit revolutionary). The invention of the printing press allowed anyone to start writing and publishing their own books -this is where great novels came from and continue to come from.  JK Rowling did not work for NBC or CNN or Bertelsmann for that matter. She wrote Harry Potter at home.

Now, you can do for video and television what JK Rowling (and Cervantes for that matter) did for the world of print.

Make it.

Just make it.


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