Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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If only….

This recent speech by Al Gore is great and speaks to a lot of the questions I’ve been asking myself as I look at American “news” on television and contrast it to what one sees on Canadian TV, the CBC in particular.

Here’s some of what Gore said:

Clearly, the purpose of television news is no longer to inform the American people or serve the public interest. It is to “glue eyeballs to the screen” in order to build ratings and sell advertising. If you have any doubt, just look at what’s on: The Robert Blake trial. The Laci Peterson tragedy. The Michael Jackson trial. The Runaway Bride. The search in Aruba. The latest twist in various celebrity couplings, and on and on and on.

And more importantly, notice what is not on: the global climate crisis, the nation’s fiscal catastrophe, the hollowing out of America’s industrial base, and a long list of other serious public questions that need to be addressed by the American people.

[. . .] 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.

It’s hard to read something like this without asking oneself again why this man is not the President today. Ok, it is a bit long-winded at times, but still very insightful. I wonder if he would have been able to make these same arguments while serving in office, or if his role in the private sector today has given him a newfound freedom of speech.