I was just amusing (and educating) myself by adjusting some WordPress features and extension for this website, and I got to musing about content vs the medium. That, of course, lead to Mr. M and his famous “the media is the message” statement. Although there is lots of great content out there, he was so correct in relation to the time we spend on content presentation as opposed to the actual content. The presentation has become so much of the message. If that wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t be a market for 1000s of themes for WP alone.
We can extend this thinking to television network news. The newscast is not longer, in the parlance of Walter Cronkite et al, simply reading the news and letting the audience draw their own conclusions. That assumed people the the intelligence to do so and were entitled to do so. It is now, in the words of the CBC (Canada’s official news organ), a presentation so that the news media can make sense of the news for the you. The unstated message is that without the newscaster you can no understand the news as you “should”. This is clear social engineering and it is an obscene extension of MacLuen’s prophetic words.
Further, those that present the news must be perfectly suited, in the eyes of a social justice society, to portray their part. The news itself is only a small fraction of the delivered package. The result is subliminal social message delivery.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that great presentation is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it should spur technical development. But maybe the overall package has taken over from the facts. On the other hand, this may actually be the intent since it helps ratings (cynical, yes…).
It might help us to NOT put the medium above the message. The show must go on, but drivel by any other name is still drivel (witness this post…).