10-06-2005, 02:37 PM #1
"Our democracy has been hallowed out." Al Gore
Text of Gore Speech at Media Conference- only parts of it.
Media conference on Wednesday in New York:
I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.
In fact there was a time when America's public discourse was consistently much more vivid, focused and clear. Our Founders, probably the most literate generation in all of history, used words with astonishing precision and believed in the Rule of Reason.
Their faith in the viability of Representative Democracy rested on their trust in the wisdom of a well-informed citizenry. But they placed particular emphasis on insuring that the public could be well- informed. And they took great care to protect the openness of the marketplace of ideas in order to ensure the free-flow of knowledge.
The values that Americans had brought from Europe to the New World had grown out of the sudden explosion of literacy and knowledge after Gutenberg's disruptive invention broke up the stagnant medieval information monopoly and triggered the Reformation, Humanism, and the Enlightenment and enshrined a new sovereign: the "Rule of Reason."
Indeed, the self-governing republic they had the audacity to establish was later named by the historian Henry Steele Commager as "the Empire of Reason."
Their world was dominated by the printed word. Just as the proverbial fish doesn't know it lives in water, the United States in its first half century knew nothing but the world of print: the Bible, Thomas Paine's fiery call to revolution, the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution , our laws, the Congressional Record, newspapers and books.
Though they feared that a government might try to censor the printing press - as King George had done - they could not imagine that America's public discourse would ever consist mainly of something other than words in print.
And yet, as we meet here this morning, more than 40 years have passed since the majority of Americans received their news and information from the printed word. Newspapers are hemorrhaging readers and, for the most part, resisting the temptation to inflate their circulation numbers. Reading itself is in sharp decline, not only in our country but in most of the world. The Republic of Letters has been invaded and occupied by television.
The internet is a formidable new medium of communication, but it is important to note that it still doesn't hold a candle to television. Indeed, studies show that the majority of Internet users are actually simultaneously watching television while they are online. There is an important reason why television maintains such a hold on its viewers in a way that the internet does not, but I'll get to that in a few minutes.
But some extremely important elements of American Democracy have been pushed to the sidelines . And the most prominent casualty has been the "marketplace of ideas" that was so beloved and so carefully protected by our Founders. It effectively no longer exists
This is a good article, I absolutely agree with Gore. A person absorbs very little information from the stupid box. The mind is not strengthened because the televison does all the work. Todays generation is far less intelligent than in generations past.
I am going to post more of the article.
Last edited by books555; 10-06-2005 at 06:39 PM.
10-06-2005, 02:44 PM #2
You mean someone is understanding or is he trying to capitalize on the 65% of skeptical registered voters who might vote third party???
10-06-2005, 03:09 PM #3
Sorry I didnt know how big 7size was. Woops
10-06-2005, 03:33 PM #4
For these and other reasons, The US Press was recently found in a comprehensive international study to be only the 27th freest press in the world. And that too seems strange to me.
The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments. They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.
t did not come as a surprise that the concentration of control over this powerful one-way medium carries with it the potential for damaging the operations of our democracy. As early as the 1920s, when the predecessor of television, radio, first debuted in the United States, there was immediate apprehension about its potential impact on democracy. One early American student of the medium wrote that if control of radio were concentrated in the hands of a few, "no nation can be free."
The number of cables connecting to homes is limited in each community and usually forms a natural monopoly. The broadcast and satellite spectrum is likewise a scarce and limited resource controlled by a few. The production of programming has been centralized and has usually required a massive capital investment. So for these and other reasons, an ever-smaller number of large corporations control virtually all of the television programming in America.
The liberating force of this new American reality was thrilling to all humankind. Thomas Jefferson declared, "I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." It ennobled the individual and unleashed the creativity of the human spirit. It inspired people everywhere to dream of what they could yet become. And it emboldened Americans to bravely explore the farther frontiers of freedom - for African Americans, for women, and eventually, we still dream, for all.
(Americas early foundation) And just as knowledge now mediated between wealth and power, self- government was understood to be the instrument with which the people embodied their reasoned judgments into law. The Rule of Reason under- girded and strengthened the rule of law.
But to an extent seldom appreciated, all of this - including especially the ability of the American people to exercise the reasoned collective judgments presumed in our Founders' design -- depended on the particular characteristics of the marketplace of ideas as it operated during the Age of Print.
Consider the rules by which our present "public forum" now operates, and how different they are from the forum our Founders knew. Instead of the easy and free access individuals had to participate in the national conversation by means of the printed word, the world of television makes it virtually impossible for individuals to take part in what passes for a national conversation today.
Inexpensive metal printing presses were almost everywhere in America. They were easily accessible and operated by printers eager to typeset essays, pamphlets, books or flyers.
This was the point made by Jon Stewart, the brilliant host of "The Daily Show," when he visited CNN's "Crossfire": there should be a distinction between news and entertainment.
And it really matters because the subjugation of news by entertainment seriously harms our democracy: it leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to inform the people. And when the people are not informed, they cannot hold government accountable when it is incompetent, corrupt, or both.
The greatest source of hope for reestablishing a vigorous and accessible marketplace for ideas is the Internet. Indeed, Current TV relies on video streaming over the Internet as the means by which individuals send us what we call viewer-created content or VC squared. We also rely on the Internet for the two-way conversation that we have every day with our viewers enabling them to participate in the decisions on programming our network. (Note: Europe, United Nations, United States are all fighting over "Who will controle the internet)
The final point I want to make is this: We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it because some of the same forces of corporate consolidation and control that have distorted the television marketplace have an interest in controlling the Internet marketplace as well. Far too much is at stake to ever allow that to happen.
We must ensure by all means possible that this medium of democracy's future develops in the mold of the open and free marketplace of ideas that our Founders knew was essential to the health and survival of freedom.
These are parts of the article and they are not in order.
10-06-2005, 03:36 PM #5Originally Posted by books555
10-06-2005, 08:39 PM #6
I dont agree with Gore's politics, but I believe many of his statements are right on in his speech. Think about the children being raised on MTV. Sway, Giddeon Yago, Suchen Pak, and all the other chronies are shaping the childrens worldview.
10-06-2005, 09:48 PM #7Originally Posted by books555
10-07-2005, 01:14 AM #8
10-07-2005, 01:17 AM #9
Sway is top notch. He is the apprentice. Top notch, A grade, a true top gun when it comes to information.
Last edited by books555; 10-07-2005 at 01:42 AM.
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