He speaks on the power of the written word. The word you can have laid out before you and readily share with others and respond to easily. Word that has been given the time to be edited, thought over, and word that moves just slowly enough to allow its recipients time to take it in and respond if they so wish before the entire cycle has moved on and their response is lost. The diminishing of public's ability to think critically and respond at all is due to television's frenetic pace. News stations are no longer a public service. They are a money-making business first and foremost and most (though not all) onscreen forget about the rest. Even those who care earnestly, though, have their hands tied by being part of a giant establishment.
Gore made a specific point to compliment Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire: his clear head and serious demeanor in pointing out the harm such programs inflict on the public.
When Anderson Cooper was on The Daily Show Jon Stewart asked him if he could save the news.
My college graduation ceremony included a speech from a man whose name I never bothered to remember but I do remember him telling all us young hipster kiddies that in the real world we had to grow up. We couldn't get our news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert anymore. We needed to watch serious news stations, local news, and read big people papers and/or magazines. If
we wanted to be taken seriously amidst professionals and in interviews and display a manner of true awareness.
"Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents," says the fool Feste in Twelfth Night
The Daily Show vs. CNBC:TDS' first segment on CNBCTDS's segment on Jim Cramer's show
The unedited interview with Jim Cramer: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
I'd recommend that everyone watch the interview with Cramer, though the previous videos are important to understanding CNBC and how the interview itself came about.
What does Stewart do here? In his usual polite, straight-forward, and righteous manner he questions Cramer's station, his show, and his shortcomings in doing what he's supposedly paid to do: deliver sound trading advice to the public.
However, littered throughout the interview is a manifesto for what news media should be doing. What they have a responsibility to do. Cramer keeps admitting they fell short and they should
do more but that's not enough. They need to actually *DO* more. After the Wall St. Clusterfuck, they need to promise to rework their programming and mission statement--or at least follow whatever is on that mission statement probably lost behind news of the recession on tack boards in multiple offices.
Will they? I have no idea. Has anyone forgotten what happened to Crossfire after Stewart's appearance? I think that still looms large. Additionally, the media took time to blow TDS' criticisms and CNBC's third-party responses out of proportion as well drum up the "clash" supposedly to take place on TDS. I don't think the meat and potatoes of the interview will be covered less dramatically. I've already seen it splashed across many internet news sites. For an example of how to be blinded by it, swing by Huffington Post's front page while it's still up. (Anyone care to screencap that for posterity?)
I'm optimistic. I think this is one small step towards a new information hunting and gathering society geared towards discussion and self-drive to inform oneself adequately.
Or we could just scorch the television today and rebuild on its ashes. I'm alright with that too.
If you haven't read "The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore (which you should), know that one of the most powerful arguments Mr. Gore makes is about the destructive quality of television for public consumption and discourse--especially 24 news hour cycles on television.