Many at the We Media conference were impressed by former Vice President Al Gore’s speech. Though Gore was at times funny and self-deprecating, his message was dire:
(You can access an edited video or audio of the speech thanks to the crafty Andy Carvin.)
“It is television, delivered over cable and satellite, that will continune for the remainder of this decade and perhaps most of the next to be the dominant medium of communication in America’s democracy.
And, so long as that is the case, I truly believe that democracy is at grave risk. We cannot take this future (of a open and accessible internet) for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it because some of the same forces of consolidation and control that have distorted the television marketplace have an interest in controlling the internet marketplace, as well.”
Some of Gore’s other key points:
We are no longer able to ignore the “strangeness” of our public discourse. Something has gone badly wrong in America’s fabled marketplace of ideas is now functioning.
The most prominent causality is the marketplace (or meritocracy) of ideas, which effectively no longer exists in this country.
The pervasive advertising environment has warped our democracy.
When a citizenry is not well-informed, it cannot hold government accountable.
“Our democracy has been hollowed” out thanks, in part, to “dysfunctional journalism.”
TV is greatly to blame because does not facilitate conversation or greater dissemination of ideas. As long as the only means of serious political dialogue remains TV advertising, most Americans will be excluded from the conversation.
He cautioned we are at risk of information no longer flowing freely between the different strata of society.
Americans should insist on respect for the rule of reason,
Citizens might be well-served by changes in law and policy to stimulate more diversity of viewpoints and a higher regard for the public interest.
CurrentTV, his new venture, is reaching out to
Internet still does not support the real-time mass distribution of full motion video, which makes TV such a powerful medium.