Thursday, November 18, 2010

West Virginia’s Always an Enigma

Brilliant quote from Senator Nelson Rockefeller at a Senate Communications Subcommittee meeting yesterday.

When it comes to developing content, our entertainment machine is too often in a race to the bottom. In fact, it is in a race to the bottom. Getting close. Even worse, our news media has all but surrendered to the forces of entertainment. And much of our news media is entertainment as opposed to news. Instead of a watchdog that is a check on the excesses of government and business, we have the endless barking of a 24-hour news cycle. We have journalism that is always ravenous for the next rumor, but insufficiently hungry for the facts that can nourish something called our democracy. As citizens, we are paying one heck of a price in the dumbing down of America.

Did Sam Seaborne write this?  The full video below.

What’s amazing is that it took only 10 seconds to discover Rockefeller’s words in practice.  Trying to find information about the Committee’s bill I had to go through 4 “News” feed items from Google mentioning the speech before I got to one that came close to mentioning what the Committee was actual doing.  And that “News” source?  An industry specific news blog: and Variety:  Not CNN.  Or another “News” source. 

To avoid the same error of these other aggregators, here’s a quick synopsis on the Committee hearing which is looking at the structure between content producers - like Fox and ABC - and content distributors – like Time Warner.  Content producers want the current solution where they can sell channels in bundles to distributors.  Distributors feel they’re being monopolized.  Both sides use the consumer to argue their position: distributors argue consumers don’t want high rates, producers argue that consumers want access to their content.  They both want government to fix the issue (for them of course).  Neither side really cares about the consumer.  And the Senate can’t really do anything for the consumer anyways because the House is now controlled by free market government-do-nothings in Congress.

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