Do you know what it is?
Ferguson is the first post-television news story. Used to be we turned on the box and were exposed to the world. Now the news is turning into the music business.
You know the music business… A former juggernaut where everybody screamed for a decade and now there are few dominant artists. Used to be you couldn’t escape number one, now you’ve got no idea what number one is.
When they rioted in Detroit in the sixties, everybody was transfixed, because America lived on television, and that’s all you saw on the three networks.
Today, if you don’t turn on one of the TV news programs, there’s a good chance Ferguson bounced right off of you.
Meanwhile, the news industry does not know this, so busy following developments in the story, they don’t know most people are clueless.
Credit Ezra Klein, he understands the hole at the center of the traditional news organizations’ vision, he now gives digestible background on Vox. Want to know what’s happening in Ferguson, go here:
But the truth is most people don’t want to know.
Oh, they want to listen to the work of Jay Z and Beyonce, they want to be faux gangsters, but as for the plight of the black man in America, too many just don’t care. We used to make them care, now what?
And there are a ton of issues for everybody to care about. The arming of local governments with war surplus. Individual rights.
But there’s no center.
Yup, BuzzFeed has not done a list, so it’s like Ferguson doesn’t exist.
Actually, if you scan BuzzFeed’s homepage you see that there is finally a list, “How 28 Local Newspaper Front Pages Across America Covered, Ferguson, Missouri,” but it’s only got one comment, it’s got no virality.
Is that what we’ve come to? Is the only thing that matters train-wreck value? If it’s got no viral elements does it land at the bottom of the heap?
And believe me, the online “news” outlets are all about virality. “Reporters” are paid by the click. As if everything was a pop song and if it didn’t fly up the charts, it was worthless.
But news is not pop music. News is what happens. And what is happening is our government is out of control and despite the Supreme Court saying racism is over, that no voting rights supervision is necessary, it’s the same as it ever was, if you’re black, beware.
Yup, we might have a black President, but we do not live in a post-racial society.
And just like music, news is now something people follow, their obsession. Check the ratings for Fox, never mind MSNBC or CNN, they’re positively anemic, almost nobody’s watching.
And the “Wall Street Journal” and “New York Times” have readers, but local papers have been eviscerated to the point of unreadability and local news likes a good murder, but not as much as it likes a cat rescue.
So there’s no focus in culture anymore. Everything’s grist for the mill. Almost nothing lasts. And those in charge don’t blink, but double down, believing if they just yell louder, they’ll get more traction, not realizing most people aren’t paying attention and never will.
What kind of miserable world do we live in where a comedian sadly takes his own life and everybody knows about it but a young man is gunned down in Missouri and most people are clueless?
We need a rethink.
Today it was announced cable companies have more Internet than TV subscribers. The younger generation lives online, and the older generation loses touch.
Where are the young techies who are going to solve this problem? Who are going to build the go-to site for not only news, but music, somewhere someone time-challenged can go to find out what’s going on?
Ezra Klein is starting. But the best and the brightest, like Mark Zuckerberg, are so beholden to their advertisers and Wall Street that they completely evade social responsibility.
Then again, it’s our culture. Wherein the Ivy graduates all go into finance, where it’s about lining your pocketbook as opposed to doing good for society.
Ferguson shows it can happen here. That our biggest threat might not be terrorists, but us.
And those who will inherit this country know little about it, because they’re posting food photos on Instagram and building monuments to themselves on Facebook.
Then again, where?
Life has become so overwhelming that we all just hop from phenomenon to phenomenon. What was the number one movie two weeks ago? What was the number one record? Who is your Congressperson? What does the military industrial complex do with its leftovers? These are the questions you should be concerned with.
But all you care about is the new iPhone.
Because Apple markets better than the “Times” and CBS.
And unless it instantly gets eyeballs and revenue, it’s worthless in today’s society.
And that’s just sad.
Yup, while you’re fighting to get ahead, to establish your brand, to win in society, you don’t realize you’re losing all the while.