We Need A Media War On All Fronts
By Danny SchechAuthor of Blogothon
When do you feel like you are over the hill?
When you get letters like this one from Jose Hevia after writing an op-ed featuring an essay ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-schechter/foreign-reporting-future_b_1511648.html ) from your recent book Blogothon, (http://www.1888pressrelease.com/new-book-released-blogothon-by-danny-schechter-the-news-di-pr-396898.html) recounting your experiences as a network TV insider turned independent media outsider. The essay offered a case study of how the nominally non-commercial network, PBS, turned its back on a human rights TV series I co-produced. It is about the challenges progressives face in offering a counter-narrative to parochial mainstream thinking.
My critical correspondent wondered what I was whining about:
"Complaining that the old media is getting more and more monopolized
Is... who cares about old media?," he wrote, "Nobody is my inner circle under 30,watches old media any more.
Take that, old man. Hahaha.
I am not sure his view is totally true, what with the Comedy Channel, movie channels galore and unlimited sports coverage. The New York Times reports "Television is America's No. 1 pastime, with an average of four hours and 39 minutes consumed by every person every day."
]At the same time, Jose is right that Americans ages 12 to 34 are spending less time in front of TV sets."
What they are not watching is traditional TV news, maybe because it is so uninteresting and disconnected from their lives.
One problem is that we live in a country where there's plenty of news but little diverse interpretation, context and background. Viewers are interested when it is presented interestingly, not in canned infotainment-oriented formats. When it's not, they're not. Breaking news is everywhere only to be replaced by more breaking news that distracts your attention from what broke before.
It's odd but almost all the most active and militant youth activists who disagree on so much agree that an 80 plus year old named Noam Chomsky is one of their heroes. Punk groups write songs praising him. His books are passed from hand to hand. They are the most popular titles in the Occupy Wall Street Peoples Library. Chomsky just released a pamphlet about Occupy.
A few years back, Chomsky got a rare long interview on cable TV. No, it wasn't MSNBC or Fox or the Comedy Channel--the networks that are widely watched--but CSPAN's Book TV. I started at the screen for what seemed like forever to watch a scroll listing some 80 books he's written go by ever so slowly. I am not sure how many people watched but it was fascinating.
I am nowhere near Chomsky's prodigious output. I have ONLY written14 books not to mention essays published in scores of others. I am not sure it matters but I do what I can.