3/13/2008

More Lessons from 40 Years Ago

YouTube is faboulous! After watching the Chicago 10 trailer yesterday, and Dan Rather getting punched in the stomach in the convention hall, I followed the thread through a number of videos and found this one - a "debate" between William F. Buckley & Gore Vidal from ABC News. Amazing:


Note that it is an attempt at a serious discussion. But even in 1968, the MSM already had the divide and conquer strategy down: The "liberal" Vidal vs. the "conservative" Buckley. This is like the ancient forerunner to Crossfire, except they each have over 2 minutes instead of 20 seconds to make their point, and they don't interrupt each other. Buckley is incoherent, singing the praises of Nixon in his singsong voice...his singsong voice....

But the best part - in my opinion - comes at the end: The old Pepsi commercial, which demonstrates the nature of television, as described in Amusing Ourselves to Death (p. 104), which has quickly become one of my favorite books:

Viewers know that no matter how grave any fragment of news may appear...it will shortly be followed by a series of commercials that will, in an instant, defuse the import of the news, in fact render it largely banal. This is a key element in the structure of a news program and all by itself refutes any claim that television news is designed as a serious form of public discourse.

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