756: Public Opinion

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Public Opinion
News networks giving a greater voice to viewers because the social web is so popular are like a chef on the Titanic who, seeing the looming iceberg and fleeing customers, figures ice is the future and starts making snow cones.
Title text: News networks giving a greater voice to viewers because the social web is so popular are like a chef on the Titanic who, seeing the looming iceberg and fleeing customers, figures ice is the future and starts making snow cones.

[edit] Explanation

The comic is mocking the "old media" (television, radio, newspapers) for their move to opinions as an information source. Such change came with development of the internet and "new media" as source of information (websites, blogs, social networks), which pushed "old media" back and diminished their significance. In their attempt to return to relevance, "old media" tried to copy the opinion part of the news, taking what could be considered a bad thing from them. The humor of the comic comes from news anchor cutting to an opinion piece from people on the street, thus proving the politician's point.

The title text illustrates what Randall sees as the problem with this approach. The new media, for the large part, consists of uninformed opinions from people of average intelligence and abilities. However, the sheer volume and immediacy of information is threatening to destroy old media, much as the iceberg destroyed the Titanic. You don't join with the iceberg or try to emulate its methods; the iceberg does not care, is too big and will destroy you anyway. The way to survive is to steer away and find your own path. Old media must present us with something better than new media (for example: informed, analytical, intelligent), otherwise we have no need of them.

[edit] Transcript

[A news anchor reads from a paper. There is a picture on the left side of screen of a man speaking at a podium. In the bottom right-hand corner, a logo reads "News24".]
News anchor: A leading politician today charged that the media, rather than informing people, now merely report on public ignorance. Do our viewers agree? Let's hear from some voices on the street...
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