Returning to Real Ideas in Politics, not Easy Answers: how Web 2.0 Can Help
Politics in America is dominated by the 6-minute news segment. However, rather than fight for the right to explain their positions in full, politicians have largely acquiesced to this reality, and generally encourage one another to live with it - to learn and use the art of the soundbite.
High Quality, widely accessible Internet video offers an opportunity to break free from old media 6-minute news segments and return to real ideas, not easy answer soundbites
When 24-hour news channels first came onto the scene, they offered hope - the hope that they would allow time for real answers that could not be expressed in 6 minutes. But in an incredible feat of temporal manipulation, the news channels have taken their 24 hours, and compressed it into less time than ever before.
As a result, our entire political system has become biased towards easy answers. The world's greatest republic has, whether by chance or design, become the world's most shallow democracy.
A few years ago, there was an election in India. Somehow I saw a portion of a television election speech given by one of the candidates. There was no perma-grin on his face. There were no idiomatic jaw affectations intended to remind the viewers of previous revered leaders. Everything was not condensed into 8-second catchphrases. Although I could not understand his language, he seemed like a reasonable man taking his time to explain his positions on things. This went on for a considerable amount of time. And why shouldn't it? This man was applying to be the leader of a billion people. Why should he not explain his positions in a measured way? The whole experience made me quite shameful of what democracy has become in the West.
Real answers take time.
In the post-cable TV world, we have a new opportunity to return to real answers, not dominated by the 6-minute segments mandated by Ted Turner or Roger Ailes.
We are just, very recently, at the point where Internet video is a useful and accessible reality. This is an incredible event. Let us not overlook it, just because video has always been around in poor quality, inaccessible forms in the Internet. Internet video, just now, is high quality, and highly accessible.
The 6-minute news-segments should have a new purpose. They should be used primarily to tell the viewing public "I explain this in detail at myname.house.gov", or "I explain this in detail at mysite.com".
Let us return to real answers. Let ideas reign again, rather than 8-second appeals. Representatives, senators, governors, and other leaders could easily set up their own "channels" on their websites, and link to these via networking tools such as Facebook & Twitter.
Our slide to populism is not unstoppable. We have merely been constrained into that slide by certain factors, such as the 6-minute newscycle. With high quality accessible Internet video, we have an opportunity to make moves back to an ideas-based intellectual economy. Let us take that opportunity.
|5:33 PM, Sunday 30th January, 2011||Media|