Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On the Ground in Denver

Great energy in Denver surrounding the Democratic convention. It's a full on media, art, politics festival with lots of peeps from all walks of life.

We saw Krzysztof Wodiczko's Veteran Vehicle Project, a digital art projection cum political sculpture that turns a Humvee into a counter-propaganda "missive launcher" that tells the stories of more than 40 Denver homeless veterans. The piece is very powerful in its execution and fits in well with the other works we saw exhibited as part of Dialog:City.

The bloggers are commandeering the feedback scene in a much more relevant way than the broadcast and cable networks (with the possible exception of MSNBC). The traditional TV punditocracy seems more irrelevant than ever. Faux News is creepy as usual but even CNN has completely blown their coverage and probably a few fuses too since they keep losing their broadcast connection and my screen keeps going black and making it easy for me to just switch the channel.

The bloviating TV heads must be feeling their irrelevance as the Obama-led democrats seem to be prioritizing social media communication platforms like blogging and text messaging while encouraging their supporters to watch the event live from barackobama.com.

Newsweek of all places has a web exclusive by Jeremy McCarter that pretty much nails the trad media's silly coverage to the wall:
Time after time last evening, I flipped from the wall-to-wall coverage on C-Span—which is viewed, I imagine, largely by shut-ins and political completists—to see how CNN or MSNBC or Fox News broadcast a speech or performance. Time and again, they weren't broadcasting it at all. Instead, talking heads were talking to other talking heads about Hillary's dead-enders, or some other overblown story, at self-parodying length. The resulting coverage had about as much connection to what happened onstage last night as NBC's Olympics coverage would have had if Bob Costas had spent two full weeks asking other sportscasters how they feel about the shot put.

There's nothing criminal about networks dropping millions to fly all those cameras to the Rockies and then barely pointing them at the stage (that soothing, soothing stage: at the Pepsi Center, there is not a Red America or a Blue America, there is a pinkish-teal America). Nor is there anything surprising about the decision of a seller (the cable news shows) veering away from a commodity (the live feed) to offer a value-added product (bloviation about the live feed), particularly at an event everybody dismisses as an infomercial. But tonight's silly circus demonstrated how distorting and unattractive this self-absorption can be.
Exactly. What he said ...

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