Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Independent World Television

Looks awesome.

4 Thoughts:

Blogger Kyahgirl said...

You know what I like about this? They use the word 'world' and it looks like they will really try to make it 'world' not just 'US-world' (like the 'world series')

On their page for contributions, etc, they already have it set up so Canadians can get tax credit for donating to a charitable organization (kind of ironic, eh?)

Their inclusive approach makes it look quite promising to me.

Thanks for pointing this site out to us.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Doug,

I have serious reservations about this project. The problem isn't just that the news sucks, the problem is that most of the American public wants "sucky" news. Take Keith Oberman, his editorial content is pretty good; he calls it like it is - for the 15 minutes he is given. Then, he is forced to cover bull-shit stories about Bennifer or some dog lost down a well. To his credit, he always prefaces such stories with "and now one of those stories my producer forces me to cover.”

The reason the producers force Oberman to cover this shit is quite simple. That's what the people want. The problem with the media is much more a problem of consumption rather than production. There are millions of ways people could inform themselves if they really wanted to. There are countless “quality” news services out there, even on television. Bill Moyer’s Now was great, and it was available to the entire nation – nobody wanted to watch it. If you have cable, you can get the BBC news. Heck, you can even get Al-Jezera on cable.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud this effort and clearly greater choice is a good thing. I just want to make the point that the gross ignorance of the American people and their desperation to remain ignorant are what drive news consumption. Why does Fox dominate? Because they make no attempt to inform their audience. Just as I opposed “supply-side” economics, I oppose “supply-side” media reform.

One very large caveat, CNN’s efforts to please both sides rather that pursuing the objective truth is killing the network. When they try to show both sides they not only allow balance to trump objectivity, but they alienate both sides in turn. When the Republican is speaking, republican viewers are happy and democrats are unhappy, when the Democrat is speaking, the reverse is true. The net result is that half of the viewing audience is always unhappy. Fox avoids this problem by appealing to only one side. If CNN didn’t have to worry about their sponsors, they could dramatically increase their viewership by only showing the Democratic side of the argument.

Maybe what we need to do is to go back to the roots of American Journalism. After the Revolution, there was a vibrant press. At the same time, there was very little objectivity. The press was actively involved in politics and every publisher was a partisan. Maybe a return to our roots would be easier than changing the way millions of Americans consume their news.

Demo

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 1:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought this was your dream -- a completely subscription-based, Internet and cable-TV station filled with great journalists beholden to no one but their supporters. You know, what PBS used to be or was supposed to be, but better. No foundation money; no corporate money. I'm already signed up for $5/month -- you all should, too.

Btw, this is based in Toronto -- so, yay, Canada!

This is definitely demand-side: people are demanding, and willing to pay a trifle for, decent news. This is the Howard Dean/moveon.org model applied to newsmedia. I love it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

I am not going to say that they shouldn't do this. I think it's great. I just doubt if it will have any effect since the underlying problem is the base ignorance of our population and their manic desire to remain so. Maybe I should just say that this is a needed step, but that we need to take back our government and raise the bar for education and civic participation. I also think that the rediculous hours that we expect people to work (particularly professionals) makes it impossible for people to find the time to watch the news, or even to think about it. I don't think Democracy can work if the elites can only devote 15 minutes a year to it. Let's institute a 35 hour work week and publically funded orgies.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 1:52:00 PM  

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