Glenn Beck versus public access
by Rob McC again, Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 11:02:50 AM EST
From Fayetteville Arkansas' Telecommunications Board Chair Richard Drake comes this much-shared cry of frustration (Arkansas Times, 12/16/07). Where you have them, while you still have them, please use, support and protect your public, educational, and government access channels. ~ Rob McCausland.
I was watching CNN's Wolf Blitzer "interview" fellow CNN talking head Glenn Beck this week about Democratic front runners in Iowa, and I thought - not for the first time - how did things get so bad that Glenn Beck gets taken seriously? Either as a guest or an interviewer?
I get this feeling every few years, as I watch the self-satisfied interviewers on public affairs programs, who seem more impressed with the fact that they are on television than the fact that they have an audience which is eager for information about candidates and the issues.
For millions of people, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, Bill O'Reilly and others may be one of their primary sources of information. Those who actually read magazines and get their news online often watch these programs in despair - especially when you compare their on air antics to the world of public access interview shows.
Fayetteville is one of those communities lucky enough to have public access televison. In the sixteen years since I have been involved with it, I have seen something I rarely see on commercial television - interviewers who actually study before a show, and ask relevant, coherent questions.
Oh, public access (and Fayetteville is no exception) has it's share of what some consider silly programming, but in Fayetteville, without public access - and the Government Channel - people would be a lot less informed.
Why can't we expect the same of folks like Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly or Chris Matthews? Why is it that people who work for free show these guys up on a regular basis?
(For a good example of what can be done on public access TV in this realm, check out Arnie Arnesen's Political Chowder: http://www.politicalchowder.com/index2.h tml )