I accidentally turned on network news the other day. The newsmonster talked as if the audience consisted of retarded puppies, and all the commercials were for electric scissors. YOW!
«And this is the final failure of the long string in Traub's article - he sees what people who sit in the media bubble think of as America - an American that is a herd of consumers to be pushed towards which ever image a small group selects. Who sees politics as a sport - in that it is decided by a few megamillionaires making inside decisions about which team it recruits - and that the involvement of the public is limited to buying tickets, worshipping quarterbacks, and cheering or jeering.
And this change, of citizen-participants, willing to follow arguments in full about the manner and direction of American policy - away from consumer-voters who care more about how someone looks in a flight suit - is backed by hard data. The decline of the nightly network news into a side show demonstrates it - it is the small cable news shows which drive discussion now, with running commentaries on Meet The Press, Hardball, Crossfire and Washington Week in Review occuring on forums with thousands of readers - who then turn and take the impressions they form with their electronic coffee house companions out as conventional wisdom. Watching the rating of the big three news programs plunge from virtually every house with a television set, to less that a fifth of the population should tell people what they need to know about the decline of image bite, sound bite and thought bite politics. The mass image still pushes the buttons of those who follow it, as the "chopped down Christmas tree" that pollkatz follows, and which bopnews looked at in Post Pop. There is a shock from an image, and a pop, but the net of conversation and reinforcement that turns the perception into an immovable factoid isn't there any more. Bush gets a bounce, but not a boost.»