Saturday, July 21, 2012
The Axis of New Journalism
The beauty of this lie past its denotative meaning: America is great no more! That's merely the shock to get you interested. The signified, the implicit is way far interesting.
Of course it's difficult not to grind mentally to a halt and admire what any good playwright would do in challenging perceptions.
Shakespeare's plays contained implicit attacks on the religious structures in Verona, who ruled then as politicians do now.
Aaron Sorkin the creator and writer at large of HBO's the Newsroom has turned the mirror in this speech explicitly on the politicians, but implicitly on the media and its audiences.
But it's not America's media alone which is in the court of scrutiny. Sorkin has merely found a strong character to play with its semantic field: strong - weak, love -hate.
What's on display is a hegemonic system which became the sole export of a construct of reality called news, whose values since the 1950s, and now, finds itself crumbing under the most unfathomable weight of deprecation.
Except it isn't crumbling. It's adapted. It's values are as forceful as ever. It's a multi-billion business, this form of storytelling, which as imperfect as it is, ascribes to the notion that it can tell you anything you need to know to become an informed citizen.
And the traditional industry it supports will not give in that easy. The value of truth is one caught up in the number of people who recite the same thing, to the extent news begins to tell the audience what they need to hear.
Meanwhile Rome burns - a metaphorical statement for all what's wrong in the world.
It's a complex relationship - that much scholars and execs have debated and will continue to do so.
A student of mine from Ghana, a country whose media is barely a model of probity, you would think, compared to its surrogates, argued how strangely the UKs media acted.
For all the media's power he suggested, there was no empathy, no real cause to change anything, no soul. This might not have mattered when business men conceived of a way of informing those around them many years back.
It matters now and Sorkin provides the poetry to capture this in this clip below. The Editor just wants the facts.