The media coverage (Pundits, bloggers go wild over Rove's resignation) makes it look like he did. The Taliban just released two hostages. North Korea is asking for aid due to floods. China bridge death toll rises to 22. Russia launches probe into railway explosion.
Who could resist the seductive pull of this modern news coverage?
And, the impact of this 'mass theater of the real' brought into our homes and workplaces precisely at the moment is was occurring and in all its tedious, exact detail is already having an impact in newsrooms. Events like this one change radio in the same way that Orson Wells and his Mercury Theater did with "War Of The Worlds" a half century ago.
The information superhighway brings an overwhelming stream of unabridged information, thought, opinion and ideas to the computer of anyone with an Internet address. It's up to the computer user to judge the validity and importance of the incredible spectrum of thought available at the touch of a button via modem.
9/11, Tsunami, Iraq, Afganistan, Bosnia, Paris Hilton, Global Warming, Rosie/Whoopie el al become whole-length events to experience in real time and as personal occurrences in our own lives in much the same way that film-maker Oliver Stone took factual liberties with the "J.F.K." story and permitted moviegoers to judge the difference between history and Stone's opinion of it.
Morris Massey has termed the generation that is growing up in these information overload times "the synthesizers."
Tomorrow's adults are going to be asked to pull together what we used to term "news" in new ways.
CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and ESPN are daily reminders of the fact that there is a sub-culture of people who desire a constant source of what's going on in the world now which can be tapped at any instant. But, the fact that Karl Rove is now old news after taking over mass media for 12 hours and captivated all of us, says that news just isn't the same anymore.
After all, how does coverage of an event like this fit into the hourly five minute newscast of the past, when millions of listeners and (page-) viewers simply cannot wait 55 minutes to experience the very latest rumors, details, speculations in the story?
They would no doubt say "been there, done that" if a newscaster tried to retell such a graphic story in journalistic language, without touching the personal feelings each individual took from their perception of what they saw transpire first-hand on the White House lawn with President Bush and Rove.
Massey's "synthesizer" listeners, heavy users of radio today, demand reality, authenticity and immediacy. They expect us to help them experience it immediately whenever it happens.
Radio remains "the immediate medium" at its best.
It's just that the immediacy is no longer being provided by Les Nessman with his lengthy, verbose news introduction and five minute news capsules. Every listener phone call with your morning personality responding to life here, now; every high-visibility stunt bit that your morning show producer does out in the community to create water cooler talk; every one-liner that touches people directly becomes a part of the "new news" that today's audience expects from us and looks to us for a strong emotional impact.
A 1994 editorial in the Seattle Times after the O.J. Simpson slow motion chase though Los Angeles with a bevy of helicopters showing it all live on television for a whole Friday evening noted: "There are no journalistic gatekeepers in these airborne newsrooms and reportage by rumor on the ground. The only editor is the viewer (listener) at home with an on/off switch."
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