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Jerry Klein's 2006 radio experiment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On November 26, 2006, radio host Jerry Klein of WMAL 630 AM (covering Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland) had a program that was "focused on public reaction to the removal of six imams, or Islamic religious leaders, from a US Airways flight."[1] (See Flying Imams controversy). In an effort to gauge his audience's reaction, he said that force should be applied to ensure that all Muslims in America wear "identifying markers. ...I'm thinking either it should be an arm band, a crescent moon arm band, or it should be a crescent moon tattoo. ...If it means that we have to round them up and do a tattoo in a place where everybody knows where to find it, then that's what we'll have to do."[1]

The response was overwhelming and "the phone lines jammed instantly". Klein later stated that "The switchboard went from empty to totally jammed within minutes. There were plenty of callers angry with me, but there were plenty who agreed."[1] While some callers said he was "off his rocker", others insisted that his statement did not go far enough, calling for forced mass exile: "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their forehead but you ship them out of this country... they are here to kill us." Others called for Muslims to be placed in internment camps: "You have to set up encampments like during World War Two with the Japanese and Germans."[1]

At the end of the program, Klein revealed that his remarks had been a hoax, saying, "I can't believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said. For me to suggest to tattoo marks on people's bodies, have them wear armbands, put a crescent moon on their driver's license on their passport or birth certificate is disgusting. It's beyond disgusting ... because basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen ... We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous."[1] A week later, Klein also expressed surprise at how much international media coverage the story got. "You should know that I've received email from around the world, interview requests from the BBC and Channel 4 in England".[2][3]

A Gallup poll the preceding summer had found that 39% of Americans were in favor of requiring Muslims, including those who were citizens, to bear special identification identifying them as such.[1][2][3][4]

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  • ✪ News and Entertainment in the Digital Age: A Vast Wasteland Revisited
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Transcription

bjbj 2011-09-12_wasteland [0:00:04] Martha Minow: Good afternoon. If you don t have a seat, please do take one. It is an enormous pleasure for me to welcome you all here today to this special event. I m Dean Martha Minow here at Harvard Law School. A half century ago, the 35-year-old federal regulator of an agency most people had never heard of woke up the public with a searing speech that to this day is studied in rhetoric courses. It s used in headlines. I happen to know it s used on a LSAT reading comprehension test and it is used in persistent assessments of how communications technology affects entertainment and news, culture and democracy. In 1961, Newton Minow, appointed by President John F. Kennedy to chair the Federal Communications Commission told the National Association of Broadcasters, When television is good, nothing, not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers, nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when you station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. And here it comes, I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland, borrowing from T.S. Eliot s great poem. Newton Minow challenged American broadcasters actually to watch the shows that they were putting out on the public air waves, the game shows, the violence, the boredom; and he shocked a complacent industry. He called for imagination, excellence and creativity. Fifty years later, we bring him here to meet with the amazingly imaginative, excellent and creative individuals who will participate in today s program. They include remarkable people from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society which is rooted here in the law school while reaching the university and the world, extraordinary journalists who will explore with us where we are now, a vaster wasteland or a new greatness when it comes to entertainment and news, policy makers, other former regulators, imaginative theorists. You are in for a treat, those of you who are here. I want to give my personal thanks to the participants from the Berkman Center, John Palfrey, Terry Fisher, Yochai Benkler, Jonathan Zittrain, Urs Gasser and so many others who made this event happen. You are all stars and I give special thanks to all of you. m so pleased also to welcome Ann Marie Lipinski here and also to Harvard, now the head of the Nieman Foundation which co-sponsors this event. She s a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and active participant in constructing new models of non-profit newsgathering and distribution and she brings the eye of a writer, the judgment of an editor and the wisdom of someone who has survived the tumult in both the newspaper business and the academic world. Jonathan Alter will also be here. He has been described as the most astute political observer in his generation. He too an award-winning and best-selling author, now at Bloomberg News after 28 years at Newsweek and on Twitter I happen to know personally. Susan Crawford, expert on internet governance and information regulation. Perry Hewitt, expert on the digital world and social networking. Nicholas Negroponte, the remarkable, inspiring figure from the MIT Media Lab and the One Laptop per Child initiative. Tim Wu, whose studies of information empires have rocked the world anew. Ellen Goodman, information analyst par excellence. I am so thrilled you re all here and I promise I will sit down in a second so the discussion really starts but I do have a point of personal privilege which takes me back to Newton Minow. A veteran of World War Two, Minow learned the significance of global communication during his service in the China Burma India Theater during that war. He built a career spanning law, politics, the academy and business while helping to build and criticize the [0:05:00] news communication world. He has chaired the Public Broadcasting Service. He helped to fund Sesame Street. He has advised networks and cable companies. He s an architect and statesman of the presidential debates televised and video streamed on the internet in this country for decades, of counsel to the law firm Sidley Austin Brown and Wood, long time university professor at Northwestern University. He is the husband of Jo Minow who is here today and they are my beloved parents. T.S. Eliot who gave dad the phrase vast wasteland also said, It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us to escape, not from our own time for we are bound by that, but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time. I look forward to this session in precisely that spirit and I m delighted to welcome Newton Minow here to Harvard Law School. [Applause] Newton Minow: Thank you, Martha. What greater honor can a father have than to have his daughter say some nice things about him, even if they re not true? I also thank our son who is here, Joe Singer. I don t call him my son-in-law. Martha s husband, a distinguished faculty member; and a dear friend surprised me by coming here today, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Doris, you [Applause] Newton Minow: If you haven t read her book about Lincoln, you must. President Obama has it at his bedside. I m very much an admirer of the Berkman Center. It s the first of its kind that I know of in this country and its work is not only substantive. It s creative. It s imaginative. It s highly respected. I wish it had existed when I was chairman of the FCC. I knew the Berkman family. They were broadcasters when I was at the FCC in Ohio. They had a very high sense of the public interest and public service. When I agreed to come here today, I hadn t focused on the date. I didn t realize it was going to be one day after 9/11 and like all of you, yesterday was a very emotional one for me. Our firms and New York office was in the World Trade Center. We had 677 people there and when it was all over, the office manager got everyone to the first floor and we said, Fortunately, we only lost one person, a receptionist who somehow disappeared after they got to the first floor. Today, we say, Unfortunately we lost one person. Also [0:08:26] [Indiscernible] was a member of the board of directors of the Aon Corporation which had 900 people in the building and lost 177; and yesterday, I read in the Chicago Tribune at home an interview with the former CEO of Aon who said he was brought to tears this week when he got two letters. One from a freshman at Columbia University, one from a freshman at Tufts thanking Aon for making it possible to have scholarships for all the children of those who died there. So it s something really to think about. In terms of communications, do you realize that 10 years ago there was no YouTube video? Ten years ago, there were no cameras and cell phones. Ten years ago, there were no tweets. There was no Twitter. That was 10 years ago. Then let s talk about 50 years ago when most of you were not even born. What was it like for me as a young person to be sent by President Kennedy to the Federal Communications Commission? At that time, phone calls went by wire. [0:10:00] Broadcasting went through the air. Today, as Professor Negroponte has pointed out, something we should have all seen, until he observed it himself, most phone calls go through the air and most people get their television service either by wire or by satellite. It had been a fundamental basic transformation in the world of communications and yet, there have been very little thinking about what that really means. In 1961, there were two and a half television networks. There was one telephone company. There were no personal computers. There was no public television. There was no public radio. FM radio was dormant. Cable was fledgling. There was no internet and usually, there was only one television set in a home. It was a small black and white set and the entire family watched the same program at the same time. Audience was passive. They listened or watched silently. There were scandals in the broadcasting industry, bad scandals in the 50s involving payola, involving scams of various kinds. There were scandals at the FCC. President Kennedy s predecessor, President Eisenhower, had to fire the chairman of the FCC for improper conduct. [0:11:49] [Indiscernible] the industry and the agency were both in bad trouble. On May 5th of that year, there was a great triumph, the successful launch of the first American in space, Commander Alan Shepard. On May 8th, Shepard returned from space and he came to see President Kennedy in his office and they were then going to go to congress. On the same day, President Kennedy was to speak to the National Association of Broadcasters and he had called and invited me to ride with him to his speech and I was to meet him outside the Oval Office. I was waiting for him. President Kennedy came out and he said, Newt. He said, The Shepards are here. He said, What do you think about taking them to the broadcasters convention? I said, That would be perfect. That would mean everything. He said, Well, and wait a minute. He said, Let me go in and arrange it and I ll come back and I ll get you. He came back out and he said, OK, it s all set. Come with me though. I want to change my shirt. So he took me upstairs to the living quarters of the White House and even though I had known the president before, I was scared to death. Here I was with the president of the United States, watching him change his shirt and he said to me he said, What do you think I should say to the broadcasters? as if he hadn t given it any thought before; and I said, I think you ought to tell them the difference between a free society and a closed society. The Soviets sent people into space but you really never know if it was successful or it wasn t. There was no radio and television there to cover it but in our country, we let everybody see and hear what was going on. So you ought to talk about what the contribution broadcasting made to our citizens to understand this new world. The president didn t say anything. He didn t say that s good or that s bad. He finished changing his shirt. We went downstairs and took me in the Oval Office and there were Commander Shepard and his wife and there was Vice President Johnson. We were all going to go together and we went, walked out to the driveway and I thought I would get in the second car because now we had the Shepards and the vice president. The president says, No, no, no. He says, Newt, come on. Just get in the jump seat. He said, Lyndon, you get in the other jump seat, and he put the Shepards in the backseat with himself; and we drove through Rock Creek Park up to what was then called the Wardman Park Hotel. It s now called the Sheraton Park Hotel and the president was in a very ebullient mood. This was after the failure of the Bay of Pigs. Here is something that had gone right. We had a success. We were catching up with the Russians so he slapped Lyndon on the shoulder and he said, Lyndon, you are the chairman of the [0:15:00] National Space Council, and the vice president said, Yes. The president said, Yes, but nobody knows that Lyndon. But he said, I guarantee you, Lyndon. If this had been a failure, if that space shot had been a failure, I would have seen to it that everybody [Laughter] Newton Minow: Lyndon didn t laugh and I [Laughter] Newton Minow: But I was next to him at the other jump seat and unfortunately, I have a big mouth. I couldn t resist it. So I said, Mr. President. I said, If it had been a failure, the vice president would have been the next astronaut. [Laughter] Newt Minow: Which the vice president didn t think was very funny either. [Laughter] Newt Minow: When we got there, the president gave a three-minute, perfectly-timed, a perfectly-phrased speech about the difference between a free society and a closed society, about how broadcasting had allowed every American to see what was going on. He got a standing ovation. The next day, I came to speak and I think the broadcaster wished I had changed my shirt because there was no standing ovation. Now why did I give that speech? Television had become, in 1961, the dominant form of communication in our country. Everybody could afford it and that was most people had a television set. The Kennedy-Nixon debate on television in 1960 had, in my opinion and in the opinion of President Kennedy, decided the election. Television had become extremely important but there had been very little discussion or debate in the country about what that meant in terms of public responsibility, public interest and I was determined even though I knew that my speech would not be welcomed. My favorite response was from a man named Sherwood Schwartz who was the producer of a program called Gilligan s Island. He sent me a message because he named the sinking ship after me, the S.S. Minnow. [Laughter] Newt Minow: But I knew what I was getting into and now that was 50 years ago and what I decided the government s role should be and this is what I hope we ll get into here. The government s role, I felt, was to expand choice, to open up new channels. We opened up the UHF channels. We asked congress to pass a bill that required that every television set could tune into a UHF channel which quintupled the number of television channels. We opened up cable. Satellites were discovered. President Kennedy took me on a tour of the space program and he said to me, Why do you think these communication satellites are so important? And I said, Mr. President, they re more important than sending a man into space. He said, Why is that? I said, Communication satellites will send ideas into space and ideas last longer than people. Communication satellites have fundamentally changed we can see what s going on all over the world and they can see us. All the things that are happening in the Middle East, many people believe, are really caused by the explosion in satellite communication. I felt it was a disgrace that we had no public television. I came to the FCC from Chicago where we had channel 11, a public station. President Kennedy came from Boston where there was WGBH. In our ignorance, we thought every city had a public television station. We found out there was none in New York City, the largest city in the country. There was none in Los Angeles, the second largest city in the country. There was none in Washington D.C., the nation s capital. So we decided something had to be done about that and we ve succeeded. Congress passed the first legislation that helped create public television. We got stations going in New York and Los Angeles and Washington and I felt that after two years, I was going broke. Martha was and her sisters. Martha was six years old. Her sisters were [Laughter] Newt Minow: [0:20:00] Her older and younger sisters. I was I couldn t afford it anymore so I had promised President Kennedy I would be there for two years. Two years to the day, I asked for an appointment to see him. I walked in. The president said, re the only guy I brought here who never asked to see me. I know what you want. You want to go home. I said, That s right, Mr. President. I can t afford it. He says, Are you sure you don t want another job? I said, So I left but I felt I had accomplished a lot. After I left the government, I have had a blessed life. I was chairman of the Public Broadcasting Service and was able to build that system into what it is today. I served on the board of CBS with Walter Cronkite when the giants were still there. I served on the board of the Tribune Company. Ann Marie Lipinski, Pulitzer Prize winner when the Tribune was winning Pulitzer Prizes instead of being in bankruptcy. I was fortunate to serve and then become chairman of the Carnegie Foundation which was a basic funder for a public broadcasting. So I ve had a blessed, fortunate life but the most important thing that I want to urge a discussion about today is the future, not the past. Thomas Jefferson said he liked the dreams of the future more than he liked thinking about the past. Today you have a different world. My grandchildren tell me they don t even have television sets. What they watched is on their computer. You can carry your iPad around and see what s going on. The internet is absolutely one of the most important inventions of all time. There again I was lucky. I was on the board of the Rand Corporation when the first work was done to create the internet under a contract for the government. People forget this. The government funded what is today we call the internet. There was a contract led up by the Department of Defense and Rand developed what s called packet switching and that now is the guts of enabling the internet to work. m disappointed particularly today by the media and politics and I hope we will get to discuss this. Today s politics is dominated by money. Most candidates spend most of their time raising money. Why do they need the money? They need the money so they can buy radio and television time. So they re buying they re raising money from the public to get access to something the public owns, the airwaves. That s a crazy system. We re one of the few countries in the world that does not provide public service time to candidates. In England, you cannot if you re a candidate, you cannot purchase time. It s not allowed. That s true in Japan. That s true in many countries in Asia. It s true in Europe and we go with a system where the politics and the cost of campaigning is really caused by the media. So I hope in our discussion now, I ve talked long enough, we ll talk about that and we ll talk about many other issues. The Berkman Center, I wish it existed 50 years ago. I heard a talk today. Some of the people from the Berkman were there. The Knight Foundation happens to be in town at Harvard and they had a senior adviser to the FCC talking about these issues and I said to him, I wish 50 years ago, we had the benefit of the brains dealing with these questions. When television was developed in this country, the word television was not even added to the Communications Act for 30 years. There was no debate in this country. There was no discussion of the public responsibility. It has been neglected and I hate to say it, it s neglected today. Thank you. [Applause] Jonathan Zittrain: Newt, thank you so much for these opening remarks and provocations. [0:25:00] It does seem like you ve been sort of a hyper intelligent Forrest Gump sort of in the present or the maybe the a Zelig we might say depending on our choice of popular culture references but incredible that you ve been there for so much and been such an actor amidst it too. As Martha said, this is one of those original speeches that was said to have such an impact on the public discourse and what came later and it demonstrates Mark Twain s admonition to us. Everybody is always talking about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it and you ve been doing something about the weather so Female Speaker: Well, I got to go home [0:25:39] [Phonetic]. Jonathan Zittrain: Fair enough. I ll stop the praise right now on advice of the counselor wife and instead, invite down our three respondents to respond briefly to the provocation, to say a few things. So Ann Marie Lipinski, Jonathan Alter and Yochai Benkler, come on down. Like game shows is one of the things you didn t like but it does have that sort of feel to it. So great to meet you. Thank you. Jonathan Alter: Nice to meet you. Jonathan Zittrain: Please have a seat. Very pleased to meet you. Ann Marie Lipinski: Nice to meet you. Jonathan Zittrain: Hi. So, Ann Marie, why don t we start with you? You are the curator-designate of the Nieman Foundation. Tell us what that means. Ann Marie Lipinski: m the actual curator. Jonathan Zittrain: Oh, no longer the curator-designate. Wikipedia has fallen behind, it seems. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: Could somebody Male Speaker: ll fix that right away. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes, we re fixing that right now. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: I should also say speaking of dynamic, the things this has been webcast so it s going out through the satellites into the ether. Who knows what s going to happen to it next. So if for some reason you don t want to be captured on film, first, don t say anything. It would draw attention and other, you might actually want to leave the room completely; but other than that, if you are on Twitter, on the opposite side of things and would like to be noticed, we have decided that perhaps hashtag vast wasteland would be the right Twitter tag for this event. Anyway, Ann Marie, you were saying Ann Marie Lipinski: Yes. Jonathan Zittrain: you are currently the curator at the Nieman Foundation. Just tell us what that means and then feel free to lead right into your response. Ann Marie Lipinski: So it I have no paintings that I m in charge of but I am in charge of a program about journalism and it is one of Harvard s great contributions. It s a program that has been here for 75 years endowed by the family that owned the paper in Milwaukee and their idea was to bring to Harvard people uniquely unqualified [0:27:47] [Phonetic] for journalism, whatever that meant and means, and to give them access to this amazing institution for a year to grow as journalists and thereby improve the profession. Jonathan Zittrain: So you get to fill the box of chocolates. Ann Marie Lipinski: I do and I have some of the chocolates here tonight. A bunch of my fellows are in the room. So, can I tell one quick story on the Minows? Jonathan Zittrain: Of course, of course. Ann Marie Lipinski: So you saw tonight why we love Newt. So he s a great storyteller and language is very important to him and narrative is very important to him which is why we pay attention. It s not just ideas. It s the way he conveys and compels those ideas but one I a couple of years ago, I was actually sitting shiva with him on the near north side of Chicago and he started one of these stories with me. It was something that went on for sometime and I was of course wrapped and waiting for every you know, the next word but Jo was waiting to go home. So this went on for some time with her, you know, politely yanking at his sleeve and she finally just utterly frustrated said, Hey, Mr. Vast Wasteland, I want to go home. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: I got to say though, among the compliments, to say that someone is a good man to sit shiva with, that s a [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: That s a compliment. Ann Marie Lipinski: Jonathan Zittrain: Those of you who don t know it, you can Google it. Yes. [Laughter] Ann Marie Lipinski: But there is an important point which is I mean, you know, Newt said a lot of important things tonight as he has been saying for years but one of them was, you know, telling President Kennedy that sending ideas into space was more important than sending men into space and what you know, therein lies this great notion of his which is the technology is meaningless, right, without the content and his ability to really inspire with language and the way these ideas are infused with this amazing poetry. Vast wasteland, you know, was a term that sort of existed in one realm and that 50 years later, [0:30:00] you know, after Gilligan s Island and Dark Shadows and all the things that, you know, polluted my youth, that we re still talking about that and still inspired by those ideas and taking that and thinking about it in terms of other media. I think it s really, really provocative and something he didn t say is that he s also I mean still all these years later, working on new models of journalism. He is one of the founding board members of the Chicago News Cooperative which was his when I left the paper, you know, he called me instantly not to say anything other than, I have the next job for you, because he was already imagining what came next for American journalism and it s just you know, his use of really poetic language to elevate those ideas, I think, is something that has been lost a lot when we talk about how provocative that speech was and it s a great lesson for, you know, journalists everywhere. Jonathan Zittrain: And one thing Newt has been known to somewhat rue [0:30:54] [Phonetic] is that that evocative language is the bumper sticker from the speech. Rather he has said then the phrase public interest which is much less evocative but perhaps Ann Marie Lipinski: Well, it you know, it s the tyranny of the headline writer. It made it Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Ann Marie Lipinski: I believe it was the page one headline in the New York Times which is the next morning, which is why we re all using it today; but actually there s something in that speech and I don t know what he thinks. One of the most inspirational paragraphs to me is where he says he basically looks at the room and he says, Is there a man in this room who doesn t believe they can do better? I mean to ask that of anybody and anything they do and to me, that s a powerful moment and then I think sort of funny. He says next, Let me ask it another way. Is there a broadcaster in this room who thinks that the broadcaster next to them can t do better? But if you ask that about your work, any of us, can we not do better tomorrow? Who among us would say we cannot? Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Ann Marie Lipinski: And I actually I mean that s the part of the speech that I actually find the most demanding and the most insistent that I ve recollected Jonathan Zittrain: And finally in the year since for the public interest piece of it, do you feel like there s a consensus around what that means when it is and isn t being served, when you are doing better and when you re not Ann Marie Lipinski: Jonathan Zittrain: or is it a personal standard Ann Marie Lipinski: It would be interesting to hear Newt or somebody talk about the extent to which there was agreement about what public interest meant then. My sense is we know less what that means now, that there are fewer and fewer people who would define that in the same way and I don t think it s a shared ethos in the society. Jonathan Zittrain: Jonathan Alter, why don t we turn to you? There was an invitation in Newt s remarks to think about politics and television and media. You wrote The Promise: President Obama, Year One and I guess you followed the campaign through thick and thin. That would be at least one angle to start with but if there s anything else we don t know about you biographically, we won t lean on Wikipedia. We ll lean on you. Feel free to tell us and then respond as you like. Jonathan Alter: Well, maybe the most relevant is that I m from Chicago and I essentially grew up with the Minows in one fashion or another so there s a bit of nepotism at work here today perhaps. Anybody who has small children or nieces and nephews and wants a good book for them, I recommend Jo Minow s books. They re also about my favorite vegetable, the artichoke so and so I have just left Newsweek after 28 years there and I work now I write in addition to books, I m writing a column for Bloomberg View which is a new commentary website that was just launched by Bloomberg; and for, I guess, eight years or so in the 80s, I was Newsweek s media critic and I used Newt Minow as a I think now he can tell now it can be told, was an important source for me is his many connections throughout the media. A couple of things that he was too modest to mention. The most important is that he is the father of the presidential debate and the televised presidential debate. I think casual students of history believe that Lincoln was the first one to debate but those were in a senate campaign and what actually happened was there were no radio debates [0:35:00] in the 20th century between major party candidates. In 1956, when Adlai Stevenson who was a very close associate of Newt Minow was running for president, the democratic nominee, and Newt was one of his two or three closest aids, Newt sent him a memo saying there should be debates, televised debates; and Stevenson, you know, kind of shopped it around and nobody was quite ready for it. But four years later, 1960, they picked up on Newt s idea and Kennedy and Nixon had their historic debates then they had a 16-year gap when there were no presidential debates and they resumed again in 1976. But they had not yet been institutionalized as a permanent part of our process and so Newt chaired a commission on presidential debates which he was kind enough to invite me to participate in and we met here at Harvard people from the media broadcasting the political parties and set up the structure that now exists for the sponsorship of televised presidential debates. I think we can say if it hadn t been for his pushing for them, we would probably not have that as part of our system right now. The other thing, he mentioned his corporate board memberships, which those of you who will become corporate lawyers will no doubt be members of corporate boards; but I think that his career in total is emblematic of something that George H.W Bush said once which is that no career is complete without service to others and public service. If you, you know, come back here for your 50th law school reunion and, you know, maybe the way people are living now, maybe you will be back for your 75th law school reunion and you haven t been doing anything else other than representing your clients and making some money and helping your already wealthy clients get wealthier. I m sorry to sound like an Old Testament figure but you have failed. You just you can t go through life and do that without some kind of deep involvement in your community either through serving in the government or being heavily involved as Newt and Jo have been in a wide variety of other things and I know that most of you will do that. So I don t mean to be so censorious about it but he hadn t mentioned these other things. Now just very briefly in terms of the future which Newt challenged us to look to, to me, the central problem right now in the news business and thereby in politics by extension and communications by extension and in our democracy is that the business model of the news business, which is the only business that is recognized by the US constitution explicitly, the business model is now dysfunctional; and the reason that it s dysfunctional is not that there aren t some people who are making money. It s that talk is cheap and reporting is expensive so the vast wasteland now has this big Tower of Babel on top of it. All right? Jonathan Zittrain: You really are going biblical on us Jonathan Alter: s a mixed metaphor. I m going biblical. I m going biblical big time. So, you know, every time you turn on the TV, it s not like when there was when Newt was head of the FCC, 15 minutes of news a night. It wasn t until 1963 that NBC and CBS went to a half hour. There was no 60 minutes. You basically couldn t find news. Now we re lousy with news . But what kind of news is it? It s people like me babbling on MSNBC or Fox or CNN or wherever and that the reporting which is what a demographic society needs, the fresh information that it needs, is really expensive. It costs the New York Times like a million dollars a year to have a bureau in Baghdad, to actually find out what s really going on and we ve developed and I hate to sell like an old fogy on this but especially some of the young reporters that I see. They ve developed the sense that they don t actually have to go somewhere or pick up the telephone in order to report new information. That they can find it all [0:40:00] online and you can find a lot online but there s an awful lot that you can t find out unless you report it. See it with your own eyes and ears. Call somebody up on a telephone and ask them questions that they might not want to hear. Sometimes they will respond by email but usually you have to talk to them. So the question I have is, If talk is cheap and reporting is expensive, how are we going to get not the information that we need but the knowledge and quality content to make rational decisions in a democratic society? and I don t have an answer. Jonathan Zittrain: Since you have just framed that question so well and we have special guests whom we ll be calling upon as well, let s just work it in right with the flow. Ethan ve been looking at Ethan Zuckerman who originated a venture called Global Voices, tagline The world is talking. Are you listening? and I m curious whether you see something like Global Voices as fitting in the constitutional description of the press that Jonathan was talking about or is it the Tower of Babel about which he has complained? Ethan Zuckerman: Well, I hope that we re not contributing all that much to the Tower of Babel although it s certainly a possibility. Look, I actually largely agree with Jonathan s points there. I think that there s an enormous crisis going on in international reporting and I think what s so ironic about this is that we re at a moment where it should be so much easier to report from around the globe. There s this enormous amount of video being filmed, being put online and it s not all being put together by professional journalism. It s being put together by amateurs. Some of it is being put together by bloggers. It needs a great deal of translation. It needs a great deal of curation to be helpful and I think what s really interesting is that we re at a moment in time where one model has sort of decayed. We haven t come up with the next model. I m actually pretty optimistic that the next model can come along and leverage some of these opened networks that Newt Minow has been involved with and that many of the people in this room are deeply passionate about but I also think it happens automatically. I think taking very seriously this notion that we may find ourselves reduced to the least common denominator with the news media, which is frankly talking heads rather than going through the very hard work of contextualizing either original reporting from the ground or citizen reporting from the ground; because it s hard work no matter what you do with any of that. But what I think was very interesting is as you were reacting there, Dave Marash who a long time broadcast journalist, fairly recently the US anchor for Al Jazeera, just wrote a really remarkable piece in the Columbia Journalism Review. One of the first things he says in it is that we are seeing the emergence of a universal human language and that s video and I think that s absolutely right. I think getting to the point where individuals are able to create and disseminate video at almost zero cost has just unprecedented power in bridging between different corners of the world. I think a lot of what happens in Tahrir Square and people s ability to watch along had to do with the power of the moving image and I m struck by going back to Newt Minow s speech and thinking about the notion that television at its best really is better than almost any other medium we have. Video really is phenomenally and strongly powerful but it needs some help and it needs translation and it needs curation and it needs contextualization; and trying to figure out how we do that in the context of a new media environment is one of the giant challenges that organizations like mine have and frankly the news media as a whole Jonathan Alter: Can I just respond very quickly? Ethan Zuckerman: [0:44:09] [Inaudible] Jonathan Alter: I think that you re spot on with that and it is very exciting what social media is doing and citizen journalism around the world may be the most exciting thing in global politics. But one of the things that s missing is not just the context that editing brings that you mentioned but also the connective tissue between the images that we see and that move us and political and social change. So there was that image in Iran for instance in 2009 of the woman dying in the streets that went everywhere in the world and really grabbed people s attention in an important way and was an example of the international language that you re talking about but it didn t lead to any change in Iran. It did in Egypt in maybe an [0:45:00] attenuated way but investigative reporting which if somebody was on the front page of the New York Times just to give you a recent example. There was a great story about how there are chemotherapy drugs that there are shortages of them and so it used to be that a story like that would appear and then very quickly, the action to address what the story raised. That s just not happening as much now and we re not seeing as many positive outcomes from good journalistic work, social outcome. Jonathan Zittrain: I guess when everything is a crisis every hour Jonathan Alter: Yes. Jonathan Zittrain: your outraged reservoir is totally drained. Jonathan Alter: That s part of it. Jonathan Zittrain: And then you re just like Jonathan Alter: Yes. Jonathan Zittrain: yes, I knew it. No chemotherapy drugs. Jonathan Alter: Right. Jonathan Zittrain: Of course that s the state of the world. Jonathan Alter: Right. Jonathan Zittrain: Right, that kind of thing. Yochai, I think it might make sense to turn next to you because you ve been thinking hard both about the structure of networks, the pipes, how to grant equal access to them; and of course the end for which that is a means is to give voices to lots of people that might not otherwise have them and to append the industrial information economy that I think may be what Jonathan was thinking of when he was thinking about some of the traditional press in its profession. So I m curious with your take on this. Yochai Benkler: So, just to start, it s a real pleasure and honor to be able to have this conversation and have this conversation with you. It s rare that you have an instance that so captures an entire era of policy and regulation and that everybody can anchor themselves and say this is what we re talking about, one generation after another. But actually related to that, I want to pick a different less poetic piece from that speech that I think captures and hasn t quite been raised yet but is really responsive to your point, Jonathan, about it takes money too and it goes roughly like this. This is again a quote from the Vast Wasteland Speech. Tell your sponsors to be less concerned with cost per thousands and more concerned with understanding per millions and remind your stockholders that investment in broadcasting is buying a share in public responsibility. The networks can start this industry on the road to freedom from the dictatorship of numbers. That core tension between the American broadcast model and the American media model that is fundamentally anchored in [0:47:43] [Indiscernible] and the American belief that this is supposed to serve as the network for the state has been there. It has been there from journalism before television. It has been there, here. That tension is what makes the possibility of a public response. I mean the founding public television, the idea that you can actually have public funding but also non-profit funding as a core of the way in which we produce news is really quite alien to Americans, I think. We have public television but at the same time, people will say, Well, if there s government funding, there will be too much influence, ignoring the fact that the BBC presents the best breed of news reporting in television and nonetheless it s publicly-funded. There are such models. They re just intention with the way we do things here. I think one of the things that the net enables, and I think Ethan was pushing in that direction and you came back with a no but you still need something that costs a lot of money, is that the model of production for the first time allows for radically-distributed production, right? There s a reason that the video you saw of Neda Agha Soltan from Iran was a video from someone on the street. The newspapers couldn t get there. Jonathan Alter: Right. Yochai Benkler: They were excluded. The fact that a hundred thousand besiege were able to beat down a revolution doesn t mean that the reporting wasn t critical. Otherwise, we wouldn t know about it and it turned out to inspire enough that it did matter in Tahrir. It did matter in Tunis. Last week in the iLaw seminar we had here for a week, Ethan was sitting there telling the story of what happened before Egypt in Tunisia and how much of what you have is this complex interaction between on one hand people on the ground. On the other hand, people who are on the diaspora again on a non-profit political basis building what they build and talking with each other and then ultimately going to Al Jazeera, a publicly-funded [0:50:00] source to generalize. So, I think what s critical is to see that for the first time, because of the fact that we all hold in our hands image capture equipment, sound recording equipment, writing equipment, distribution on generally available platforms that are consumer-grade platforms like YouTube as opposed to a satellite link that needs to cost who knows how much, we actually have the opportunity to solve this tear between what requires a lot of money and what we need as citizens. That s not dependent on something that is so difficult for the American political system and American cultural system to swallow which is public funding, at least not public funding at a level that is really solve the whole problem. Jonathan Alter: Right, and I just very briefly, I think that s exactly right and that s why I m also optimistic generally because of what you just said; but it depends on a new marketplace and ideas and it depends on that marketplace working. So that the quality, you know, tweets so there s some relationship between how many followers you have and how good your tweets are or some relationship between how many people are reading your blog and how good your blog is and I do think that is starting to happen in particular subsets of media and that s a very positive development but it does depend on quality it depends on a model where quality brings enough eyeballs that it can be Jonathan Zittrain: It sounds like you re saying there s a clear market for paparazzi, like that s not a Jonathan Alter: Right. TMZ Jonathan Zittrain: business model that s in trouble. Jonathan Alter: s not in trouble. Jonathan Zittrain: But it s not clear that the market for revelations about chemotherapy drugs is still sustainable. Jonathan Alter: Well, it might be because you might be able to get the chemotherapy drug companies advertising on that site, you know. So there are Jonathan Zittrain: Not enough drugs Jonathan Alter: a lot of yes. Jonathan Zittrain: Right. Jonathan Alter: There are a lot of other, you know, creative possibilities Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Jonathan Alter: for underwriting that Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Jonathan Alter: kind of coverage but then you have questions that needs to be independent of the advertising. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Jonathan Alter: And those are very old questions Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Jonathan Alter: in our business. Jonathan Zittrain: Independence from Yochai Benkler: Jonathan Zittrain: Sorry. Go ahead. Yochai Benkler: I would resist the notion that the sine qua non of quality is many eyeballs that can sell a lot, right? It s the interface between Jonathan Alter: Right. Yochai Benkler: very different systems, right? So we have you know, if you want to look at media [0:52:38] [Indiscernible], you have things like Media Matters and FactCheck.org that are Jonathan Alter: Right. Yochai Benkler: public interest, located in universities based on the modeling which we produce all sorts of scholarship, all sorts of public goods that are public interest. Alongside something that is non-profit like ProPublica alongside the New York Times and so the mix between them. So I saw the story on Zanzibar on Global Voices before I saw it here and there was context from somebody who was over there and actually writing. That s because there s someone there who cares about it. I think the reemergence of the party presses both left and right in the blogosphere tells you that there are people who are going to be out there and trying to ferret all sorts of things. Jonathan Alter: Is that a good thing to go to a European or 19th century model of party press? That Yochai Benkler: If people would care about enough to go and look for political information, teach themselves, teach each other, absolutely it s a good thing. If people come together to speak together, absolutely it s a good thing. [Crosstalk] [0:53:37] Ann Marie Lipinski: Well, I was just going to say the one thing I mean Jonathan raised it but that we re missing and we re referencing market. But I mean how many people in this room would have paid money individually for that photograph? How many people in this room would pay you know, would start paying to follow somebody on Twitter? So this notion that you know, and I know this is a much misquoted quote that has hung out there for years. That information wants to be free. It may want to be free but journalism is unbelievably expensive. I mean one of our fellows this year covers Afghanistan for the New York Times and she s one of, you know, many people who the Times has there and we talked about what it takes just to cover that war for a single newspaper and but that s the New York Times. I mean they ve got, you know, a very specific kind of model. It s under unbelievable stress. They have fewer people today doing that than they did, you know, a year ago and certainly then 10 years ago. But who you know, think about your own news and information consumption habits and think about how much of it you actually pay for. Jonathan Zittrain: And for which Ann Marie Lipinski: And Jonathan Zittrain: Yochai is saying perhaps the government should pay for it. Ann Marie Lipinski: And I just want and so this is a [0:54:58] [Indiscernible]. I mean Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Ann Marie Lipinski: not to but [0:55:00] so you know, you went to Wikipedia. It told you I was the curator-designate. Small thing but amplify that kind of error many times, you know, across the sort of, you know, information sphere where you re consuming things; and this idea that there are people who don t just gather but who vet and vet and vet. That there s a difference between that kind of information and things that are just sort of gathered and exposed and what it takes to finance those kinds of efforts and what we re all willing to pay for that. There is a huge disconnect Jonathan Zittrain: Yochai Benkler: Can we agree that for every one mistake in Wikipedia, we have Judith Miller on Iraq and that that outweighs many Jonathan Zittrain: My guess is that is not going to be a Ann Marie Lipinski: Yes. Jonathan Zittrain: quick agreement. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: But of course you are looking for agreement necessarily with that question. Yochai Benkler: Me? Looking for controversy? Jonathan Zittrain: But Newt, you want to get in, so please. Newt Minow: I think you can learn a lot from other countries and other cultures. I got very interested in this when I was at the FCC and I visited Japan. I learned about the Japanese system and I asked them why they had that system. They said when television began, the Japanese sent teams all throughout the world to figure out which was the best system and they loved the BBC. So they started with what was called NHK which is the equivalent of the BBC in Japan. They wanted to find a way to use money from everybody but yet, that it would create an institution that was independent of the government. It s a real trick. How do you take money from everyone and yet have an institution that can criticize being a [0:57:00] [Indiscernible] of the government. Well, the Brits did it with a license fee. Everyone in England must pay if they want a television set, they must pay X dollars a year for a license to have a television set. That money goes into a fund that creates the BBC. The Japanese have exactly the same system. In our country, we didn t do that. We started in so those were the first systems. BBC started before commercial broadcasting. NHK started before commercial broadcasting. We started with commercial broadcasting. We added, as a footnote, public broadcasting later without a means to pay it. The Carnegie Commission, when it created public television, said everyone who buys a television set should pay a $5 fee that goes into a fund for public television. The Vietnam War was on. President Johnson didn t want to have a new $5 fee forever so it was dropped. So the result is we have a poorly-financed system. The question really to me, the big question is, Do you want the market to decide everything? Do you think the market can provide everything or are there certain things the market will not provide and if there are, can they be provided by some alternative system? That we never settled that in the Jonathan Zittrain: And I guess the beauty of the license is that it sort of goes into a lock box. It s not like the government Newt Minow: Right. Jonathan Zittrain: changes the appropriation. It s that this is specifically to support that enterprise. Newt Minow: Correct, and the BBC Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Newt Minow: is often in an argument with the government on this issue or that issue and so there is a tension there but it s a device we never even thought of in our country. Jonathan Zittrain: I guess today it would have to be flat screen monitors or internet access or something. Jonathan Alter: I just I don t mean to like be the skunk at the garden party but it isn t happening anytime soon. Newt Minow: re right. Jonathan Alter: I mean there s one political party that their top priority early this year was getting rid of NPR funding which is a very small percentage of NPR is Jonathan Zittrain: Well, it s funny that that hoax email that has been going around for about a decade, about they re about to cut PBS, then became true. Jonathan Alter: Yes. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Jonathan Alter: Yes, and I think a lot of it will be what you know, Ann Marie is working on, you know, the non-profit model. ProPublica is doing some great work in investigative reporting and a lot of it will be in niche programming that can make money. Like Fareed Zakaria has a show on CNN. It s very substantive, international news and he gets sponsors and he does well and then make even makes a little bit of money for CNN. So, you know, there are ways of working within the four-profit model and [01:00:00] still do some quality work. One of the things that s fascinating to me about was what looks like is about to be happening is that we you know, even there s a story in the New York Times yesterday that the late night scene is breaking apart and that the Leno-Letterman model is now old and shows like [01:00:22] [Indiscernible] or The Cold Bear Report [Phonetic] which are much cheaper to produce are kind of the future that it s all getting vulcanized with smaller considerably smaller audiences but making money with smaller audiences and your so to your choice point and you know, there s now much more choice which is a hugely positive development. But what worries me about it, because I always have to look for the dark cloud, you know, is that I think remember how everybody used to talk about the digital divide, you know, and you still hear it a lot. I think we might be headed for this is clunky but a kind of a contextual divide between the Americans who get the vast wasteland stuff, you know, no context. Maybe they re getting something in social media. You know, they re seeing a snippet, a video from around the world but they re not really getting context and then elites who have a pretty great choice of different websites to go to and so, you know, I m always m very conscious of the fact that the entire political conversation goes on among about 10 million people. The total ratings of the cable networks and the Sunday shows, you know, in the New York Times and everybody gets into 10 to 15 million people. Everybody you know, everybody you talked to. A hundred and thirty million people vote in presidential elections, you know. So where are that other 115, 120 Jonathan Zittrain: Jonathan Alter: Where are they getting their information? Jonathan Zittrain: So this Jonathan Alter: How are they making their decisions? Jonathan Zittrain: This raises great questions for which I want to turn to more of our special guests for insight and on what you ve just been talking about, Jonathan, I think Ellen Goodman and Virginia Heffernan might be best able to weigh in. Ellen, you ve been thinking a lot about public interest, public information, funding models, all along that stuff. Feel Ellen Goodman: And the fact that people don t want to eat their broccoli. Jonathan Zittrain: And the fact that people don t want to eat their broccoli but they still might vote. So one strategy would be to stop them from voting but another would be to have them vote and then that s the end of it and the third would be to somehow get some broccoli into the mix. So we have [01:02:45] [Indiscernible] mics you should be free to use and the representative of good eating, please tell us what you think. Ellen Goodman: OK. Well, I wanted to come back to the point about public media because public media has sort of been looked to as the salvation both to produce the broccoli and also to get people to eat it, somehow to become more popular than it is; and one of the things that strikes me is Chairman Minow said the public broadcasting system that we have in the US is weak and it was intentionally designed to be weak. Yet, it seems to be these weak institutions that we look to, to sort of solve these market failures whether it s a problem of curation or a problem of reporting. So I wanted to pose the question. So for all the proposals that are unrealistic but still worth making, as Yochai points out to invest more public support and the broccoli producers and broccoli marketers, are these the right institutions? Can they be reformed existing public broadcasting institutions Jonathan Zittrain: You sound skeptical. Ellen Goodman: that we have? Yes, I am skeptical although I m a strong supporter of public media. I don t think that the existing arrangement that we have, not CPP, not PBS and not NPR as the strongest public media institutions are capable of innovating like many large innovations, they sorry, large institutions. They are not innovators and it although it s reasonable to look to these non-market actors to solve these problems, I don t think these are going to be the actors. Jonathan Zittrain: Virginia Heffernan, you ve seen the landscape both as a student of television. You ve forced yourself to watch a lot of it and write about it in the New York Times or elsewhere. Virginia Heffernan: No forcing. I m a doughnut eater Jonathan Zittrain: Oh, you re a doughnut eater. You don t eat the broccoli? Virginia Heffernan: And I really believe that beta carotene and foliate is where you find it in the media. I something on this so, one of the things that Mr. Minow ve bored him with before [01:05:00] is the idea that something in this vast wasteland had an amazingly salubrious effect for entertainment. We ve been talking mostly about news but television and entertainment is hugely improved and if you look at HBO or even Bravo, you see anything but a vast wasteland now. So, some credit goes to the you know, the part of the speech where Mr. Minow says he imagines a time when all the forces of art, creativity, daring and imagination had been unleashed. He s not talking strictly about the public interest and everybody getting spinach and broccoli. He s talking about an artistic explosion that we have actually seen in television in the last 50. So it s worth giving the communications technology and the free market a little bit of credit for that and I know he s a big fan of Mad Men as I am and probably many of you are here, which I think wouldn t have been possible without an environment in which television is regarded both as an art form and as a public health hazard. It Jonathan Zittrain: s weird that it s a television show about a time when television was terrible. Virginia Heffernan: And part of the virtue of it is that tension. So the entertainment side though is not the doughnut side is not an afterthought. Mr. Minow also mentioned that after 9/11, there was no YouTube and that s strictly speaking true although pretty soon after 9/11, a movie called Loose Change, that alleged that 9/11 was an inside job brought about by some Jewish Americans to attack the country and inflame the CIA or something like that, appeared and you could watch it on the internet and I watched it there. Some of us who really liked online video from the beginning also like to look at a sordid site called Ogrish that had where you could see terrorist videos and you could see ultimately you could see hanging videos and that s where the Saddam Hussein execution video washed up after his execution. David Pogue and I found that video online just as the New York Times was reporting in Iraq the way that execution went down. They were interviewing people outside the hanging room to get details exactly on what happened and as it happened, they were misinformed. Our million dollar bad guy bureau couldn all that money couldn t tell the story of what happened in that room where the video told it loud and clear. Someone in the room had a video camera and those of us who were undaunted like to look and liked, for whatever perverse reason, to look at videos on LiveLeak made by soldiers and other military personnel. Looked at those videos and could understand the very night of the execution, what Saddam Hussein s last words were where the New York Times reported them and other places reported them wrong on the front page. But and I m reading Errol Morris book right now, Believing is Seeing. It s a completely fascinating book about some of the images of the past 10 years since 9/11 and it makes the case more than ever, especially about the Abu Ghraib images, that contextualization and criticism and obviously, you know, we all write from where we sit. A critic is an extremely important part of this and while I believe the New York Times has made a great investment in its international reporting and that has been the best thing it s done to show up the brand and also inform the readers, we also need people to put that new video lingua franca into context. It s an extremely difficult language to speak. When you look at the Abu Ghraib images, are they entertainment? Are they documentation? Morris does a really brilliant job trying to tease that apart but I wouldn t want to be Bill Keller trying to figure that out the night those images surfaced and the fact that some many of those images including some of the images from Iran walked the line between news and entertainment. It means that we also need to have our entertainment caps on. It wasn t a new source that published that first published the images of the Saddam Hussein execution. It was a source that well, I saw it on LiveLeak where you mostly see escape or car crashes and medical anomalies and things that teenage boys like to look at. That s the place that an execution video turned up. It didn t turn up on PBS. It didn t even turn up in the New York Times. So I think we need to be looking at the entertainment channels. I think entertainment was vitalized by the Vast Wasteland Speech and we should be looking at that part of the television, you know, and also news programming that walks the line like the [01:10:00] magazine shows to as a you know, as a source that could be in the public interest. Jonathan Zittrain: So this was such a textured and kaleidoscopic comment. Virginia Heffernan: Sorry. Jonathan Zittrain: No, totally informative. Virginia Heffernan: That s because I m exploding. Jonathan Zittrain: That s amazing. I m just trying to figure out whether to come out of it happy or sad. So just maybe one quick follow-up is do you suppose, right you ve written a book Magic and Loss: The Pleasures of the Internet. You re bridging television to internet and that s just you do in your comment. Is it the sort of thing for which this ecosystem is in need of the kind of shaking by the lapels that Newt Minow did to the television industry in 1961 or is it that it s going to shake out and that there s no real grasp for lapels here Virginia Heffernan: I would love to see a Vast Wasteland Speech in that moral, poetic key. I mean the only thing I can imagine right now and really, I ve been asking everyone to do this in the question of, Can we do better? Every single one of you should be registered as a Wikipedia editor today. So if you haven t done that, go home tonight. Doris Kearns Goodwin, if you are not Female Participant: Twice Virginia Heffernan: Yes. Female Participant: Twice if you re a woman. Virginia Heffernan: Twice if you re a woman, exactly. Sign up your [Crosstalk] [01:11:19] Jonathan Zittrain: Doris Kearns Goodwin edits the article on like Abraham Lincoln or Virginia Heffernan: Jonathan Zittrain: something and then Hotpants15 reversed it [Laughter] Virginia Heffernan: Yes, exactly, exactly but if you I mean, are you? Are you? Doris Kearns Goodwin: Virginia Heffernan: Doris Kearns Goodwin: Even though I could have been Virginia Heffernan: I mean this is fascinating. This is the internet taxes us enormously but this is one way where we are represented on the internet and the Wikipedia is the first thing that comes up when you put in your name Abraham Lincoln s name into Google and it s edited by might be edited by Hotpants15 and that I mean, I can t put it in Minowvian rhetoric but if I could beseech you to do better, I would say register as an editor tonight. It s very simple and Jonathan could talk you through it. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Ellen wants to get back in but Doris, first, we just have to ask you. Is there any chance you would do this? Doris Kearns Goodwin: m really moved by this. I Virginia Heffernan: Good. Doris Kearns Goodwin: [01:12:19] [Inaudible] Jonathan Zittrain: No, no, no. I was going to make it myself [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: [01:12:23] [Inaudible] on behalf of Wikipedia. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: We welcome you aboard. Now it can be told that I am Hotpants15. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: But I [Crosstalk] [01:12:35] Jonathan Zittrain: I just want it to be on the record. Doris Kearns Goodwin: I understand. Jonathan Zittrain: That Doris Kearns Goodwin is intrigued and elated to become a Wikipedia editor. Doris Kearns Goodwin: It is a deal but if I may add something. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Doris Kearns Goodwin: It comes to what Jonathan was saying about the Tower of Babel. What makes me sad when I think about the fact that in history, communication media was so important for presidential leadership in so many ways. I mean I m now living with the muckraking journalist and Teddy Roosevelt and there you have magazines who put enormous money into reporting. Two years, three years, Ida Tarbell could go reporting about Standard Oil, Ray Baker about the railroad abuses and then those reports so mobilized the middle class that Teddy Roosevelt was able to get legislation through a conservative congress because the public pushed the congress. When FDR comes along with the radio, he s able to go over the head of the conservative press who would never have given his message to the country because of the new radio and because he had 30 fireside chats and Saul Bellow said you could walk down a hot Chicago street and not miss a word of what he was saying because everybody had it on. Eighty percent of the adult radio audience was listening. When JFK gives his Cuban Missile Crisis Speech, they immediately after he gives it, there s no [01:13:47] [Indiscernible], no Tower of Babel. They cut back to regular programming so the country could absorb that speech and you wonder now and we keep asking, What has happened to Obama s communication skills from the campaign to the presidency? I think the bully pulpit has lost its bulliness. I mean he gives a speech as he did on healthcare. Joe Wilson says, You lie, and then for days we talk about You lie and not about the speech. I don t know what we do about the fact that if we need the public to push the country to social and political change and leadership doesn t have the relationship that it once had with the media to get that country mobilized. That was the promise presumably of Obama that when he came in, we were going to have a new progressive era and I think the whole media thing has made that difficult and that s where I think your Tower of Babel is. Absolutely right on and it just makes me sad because as I look at history, I just I always want to be optimistic about it. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes, yes. Doris Kearns Goodwin: And I m not sure how that partnership Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Doris Kearns Goodwin: is going to work Jonathan Zittrain: s a real emerging theme here. The presidents have an astounding amount of diversity and additional channels for expression and ways that entertainment can become news and vice versa; but at the same time, it raises this Tower of Babel issue where none of us know how to turn Ann Marie Lipinski: Can I bring a source [01:14:59] [Phonetic]? Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Ann Marie Lipinski: [01:15:00] have you seen exceptions to that? Doris Kearns Goodwin: You mean in the current day? Ann Marie Lipinski: The last handful of years. I mean sort of at what point do we fall off? At what point does the bully pulpit start to disintegrate? Doris Kearns Goodwin: m not sure I really know. I mean I just think that what it means is in a certain sense that no leader is I mean there have been moments, I suppose, when m not sure. No, I m not sure. Jonathan Zittrain: Maybe 9/11. Doris Kearns Goodwin: 9/11 was a moment that was a lost opportunity. I mean there was a moment when the country was unified, would have been doing anything if it had been asked for shared sacrifice, who could have been mobilized to a Manhattan project for alternative energy. It could have been mobilized for more people to join the army that never were asked to join so the same kids have to do it over and over again. So there was a chance. Bush had a moment there of leadership where the media would have responded, I think; but then once that dissipated, I haven t seen it since then really. Jonathan Zittrain: Ellen, you wanted to get Ellen Goodman: Yes, I was stimulated by your comment about shaking the lapels of the internet and, you know, the Vast Wasteland Speech, you could shake the lapels of an industry because there were only a couple of institutions. This again gets to this sense that we re in a post-institutional era. The presidency the institution of the presidency has lost some of its power. I think all institutions have and I think for policy-making and media, and as I said, I think public broadcasting institutions have not been designed to do what we want them to do. We have to start thinking about the relationship between policy-making and institutions and how you do that in sort of a post-institutional media world and world. Jonathan Zittrain: Jonathan [Crosstalk] [01:16:39] Jonathan Alter: If I m not mistaken, Newt, most of the broadcasters you were addressing were local, locally on broadcasters, right? They were sort of pillars of their local communities who came to Washington for the speech and owned a local Newt Minow: At that time, yes and there has been a lot of Jonathan Alter: Right. Newt Minow: consolidation, right. Jonathan Alter: So there has been on one level, there has been all this consolidation under a much smaller number of companies but there s a countertrend that I find very intriguing that they now call hyper local news and it s using these new technologies to report on something that will never go out of fashion which is local news. So, you know, we ve been through this period of just awful some of the great newspapers accepted like the Tribune but certainly off the local television news over the last 40 years and the new technologies and maybe Patch which is AOL s response to this or some other means of reimagining local news could provide some interesting experiments on how to use the new technology in a good way. Ann Marie Lipinski: There you know, there s one trend along these lines so I think really so we re talking about, Do we reward people who aren t innovating? There s one there has been one extraordinary generational change and I ll use ProPublica as the best example of this or a good example of this; and that is to say competition doesn t drive us anymore, competition to be first or to be only with a story. This is really a remarkable shift in the way very good investigative journalists would think about their work. So in the past, you wouldn t breathe a word of your story with, you know, the thought of partnering which is now a verb. In journalism, it was unheard of and yet, if you look at what Paul Steiger is doing with ProPublica, right, so they ll say you know, a recent example, medial malpractice. We are going to go out and we re going to basically create a template for all these newsrooms who don t have the financial or the journalistic resources to create these stories in their own markets. So we re going to provide free databases. We re going to provide, you know, long lists of you know, we re going to FOI records by state. We re going to make all of this put it online, make it available to you and actually then, you know, do workshops or, you know, demonstrate how you might use this information in your own market. That is a huge shift in the last 50 years. I mean those broadcasters, you know, newspapers in those same markets, nobody ever would have agreed to this; and, you know, so basically Paul and his colleagues have said if this kind of journalism is going to survive and it s as expensive as it is, you ve got to sort of, you know, change the way you think about how you re going to apportion these costs and how you re going to share the best of this kind of reporting. That s a phenomenal change Male Speaker: Yes. Ann Marie Lipinski: in the way journalists think about their work and really unheard of until the last couple of years. Jonathan Zittrain: Well, this may be [01:20:00] a really good moment to call on a triumvirate in this zone of I think of it as two FCC commissioners, two former FCC chairmen and one shadow FCC chairman. I m looking of course at Reed Hundt, Kevin Martin and Susan Crawford. Spanning across political parties and appointments bipolar as it were and having been through this incredibly transitional period at a time of great responsibility and I think it from Ann Marie s prompting, it raises the question, To what extent can the government, let alone a single government commission at this point, be in a position to make whatever salutary thing we think ought to happen? s not clear we have consensus on that. More diversity, less diversity happen. So, Reed, shall we turn to you first? Reed Hundt: I think you should go with beauty and youth first. [Laughter] Reed Hundt: That s all you need to know Susan Crawford: I think it s also pearls before swine Reed says with all these things. So, I just want to put a moment here about the political moment. So we have a handsome young president and his beautiful family. They ve just been elected and this is Newt Minow s maiden speech and he rides up to this hotel and he s going into the lion s den. This is the NAB he s talking to. They are enormously, politically powerful and I don t think this should be called the lost the Vast Wasteland Speech. I think this is the Better Angels Speech. This is the speech where he calls on them to search their consciousness and think about how they could be doing a better job and remember who Jonathan Zittrain: And actually believed that that would happen. Susan Crawford: Well yes. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Susan Crawford: And remember who he was talking to. This is a distribution network. These aren t necessarily the authors of the content themselves. They re the people making sure that it reaches each Hamlet in America. So, fast forward to today, such a speech would be unthinkable. Cable was just a glint in Ralph Roberts eyes in 1961. He hadn t started Comcast yet. He had a lot of fun building it up. It s now, I believe, more powerful than those networks were as distribution networks, as a gatekeeper for the good content or the bad and the word content itself is laughable. It must have been to you when you first heard it. This is programming but it s viewed by the cable distributors as just content and they re also in charge of this disruptive network that Ethan talks about internet access. Ninety percent of Americans right now go to their local cable incumbent and they never compete when they re buying internet access. So the political bravery of this speech is unthinkable. Now, hope sinks into misgiving in our own time. We can t imagine this kind of calling to conscience to make sure that there s, you know, elevated programming in our age. So I just want to pinpoint this moment and say how exciting it is to read the speech again and I heard it again today. I listened to it and they re sort of barely laughing at your jokes. It s a very nervous group. Jonathan Zittrain: And [01:23:13] [Indiscernible] at the White House, of course. [Laughter] Susan Crawford: And now, more than ever, we ve got vertically-integrated business owning both content and distribution where the advertisers are the clients and we are all the product. Jonathan Zittrain: But now so that was clearly pessimistic. That, I got. But the reason you can t give a speech to that group because here you are saying, hey, when you look at the pipes, it s consolidated. Susan Crawford: Right, but there are only four actors in America you could give that speech [Crosstalk] [01:23:43] Jonathan Zittrain: s just that you think they could not respond to a call to conscience. Susan Crawford: They have no reason to. Jonathan Zittrain: [Inaudible] in the room here. Susan Crawford: They at this point, they really believe that personal preferences equals good programming. It s the opposite of what Chairman Minow was saying in that great speech. Jonathan Zittrain: Over to Kevin Martin. Kevin Martin: Well, I think that Susan is right about the fact that what was truly memorable about the speech wasn t just the substance but the willingness to take on the incumbent industry and the willingness to call on them to do something more. I think that they were an incredibly powerful industry at the time and she s probably right. The other industries today are actually much more powerful. One of the things I m struck by with Jonathan Alter up there is actually Bloomberg today has more correspondents worldwide than any other news organization. They actually do even than the BBC and yet, they currently are unable to actually get many of their news programs and their news organizations actually on the cable channels because it competes with those same vertically-integrated news organizations. So that s an example of what Susan, I think, is talking about with the power by the other distributors locking out the possibilities of even others to be providing that kind of a service today. I think that is in large part because they [01:25:00] no longer when Newt Minow spoke to them, they viewed their main business is the entertainment side and that they viewed the news as what they were doing in the public interest side. It wasn t about making money on the news and I think that s what Jonathan Alter is talking about is it s fundamentally altered and fundamentally changed. They now see news as a business in it of itself so they approach it completely differently and that s a large part of the problem. But I guess unlike, you know, Susan, I probably would end up being a little more optimistic on the possibility of people calling out for different kinds of change. I do think that the commission in the last few years has made more of an impact on opening up the distribution side. Maybe not on the content origination side but I actually think about Reed Hundt when he was chairman just a few years ago calling on the broadcasters to change their model to deliver more children s program; and that was something that was a very similar moment, calling on them to change the way they thought about the children. We can talk about how effective or ineffective that has been but it actually did change the model for them serving children and developing a new standard for being able to do that. So I think that it is still possible and unfortunately, we see too few leaders that are probably willing to have the same kind of courage as Mr. Minow did. Jonathan Zittrain: Boy, that passes it right there to you, Reed. There on the children s program Reed Hundt: So I have to tell you about the children s programming. First of all, this is really Newt s fault because I was President Clinton s FCC chair and I met with Newt and he was a beacon and he was an adviser and he also told me Kevin, you learned this too. If you re the FCC chairman, you can actually get to do whatever you want. So I took that to heart and we decided that we would have the broadcast industry show three hours of children s television a week which was turned out to my surprise, a violation of the first amendment, an absolute outrage of this was the public interest and they ran Warner Brothers ran a TV show. If there s anyone here who was six years old in 1995, you may remember there was a show called Animaniacs and they ran a TV show that did not feature Reed Hundt but instead a clown named Reed Blunt. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: Aboard the S.S. Minnow. Reed Hundt: And the Jonathan Zittrain: Subtle they are not. Reed Hundt: The whole show was what a complete fool this person was and then they filed this with the FCC as proof that they were complying with the children s television rules. Anyhow Jonathan Zittrain: Is that an answer to Kevin s question on effective versus ineffective? Reed Hundt: you know, hard cases make bad law but what I do want to say is that Newt was a beacon to me as he has been to all the FCC chairs in these years. I just want to say especially to the young people here. The thing that he taught me that I did the best I could to live up to which is to Jonathan s earlier point. If you have the privilege to get in public office, you can t do whatever you want but part of the job, this is what you told me Newt, is to figure out who you re really representing and then go to the people who are on the other side of those issues and tell them what you think and don t just try to persuade them. Actually use the power of law to win because as you ve said to me maybe you might not remember this. You said, m not going to remember you that long anyhow. [Laughter] Reed Hundt: And what really counts is that you stood up for something, you know, in your time in government. Now of course we all remember Newt s speech which drove Kevin and me crazy. We cold never figure out any phrase to beat vast wasteland Jonathan Zittrain: Did you try? Were there actually Reed Hundt: Yes, I did. I gave a we had we I didn t tell you this. You didn t know this. We actually had a contest at the FCC where I said I would give somebody a holiday if they could think of a better phrase. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: What were some of the candidates? Reed Hundt: Well, it morphed because of this stupid internet thing into an online exercise in which people gave different names to the FCC. Five confused commissioners, funneling cash to congress and soon it got out of control. [Laughter] Reed Hundt: Anyhow, the bottom line is I went to the NAB which was in Las Vegas in my time and I gave a speech in which I said we shouldn t waste the vast land blah, blah, blah. They had a little sign outside inviting broadcasters who wanted to come to listen. They misspelled my name and nobody actually came to the speech. Jonathan Zittrain: It didn t say Reed Blunt. Reed Hundt: Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Reed Hundt: But of course the reason why times changed is because of what Susan was saying which is, [01:30:00] you know, the pendulum had shifted and you could give the speech at the National Cable Television Association meeting today; and in fact, the current chairman, Chairman Genachowski in that neutrality in effect did do this to the prevailing media of the day and said there has to be space for open content and open discussion. This is a debate that has only begun and will continue for years and years and years and let me just wrap this up with a note of optimism. It he did this in the same spirit that Newt brought to the broadcasters association in 1961 because if I may say so, just to close the loop, it doesn t matter what media you re talking to. It mattered that you are talking to the dominant media and as long as you re addressing your comments to the dominant media on behalf of the public, then you re doing your job. That s what you taught me. Newt Minow: I want to say a word to the law students. You have three former FCC chairmen here. All three of us are lawyers. The current FCC chairman is a lawyer. Kevin and Julius Genachowski were Martha s students here at the school. Reed went to Yale Law School. My point is that law why are lawyers often chairmen of the FCC? Jonathan Zittrain: That sounds like a beginning of a joke. Newt Minow: [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. Newt Minow: re dealing with a statute. This is the only government agency that is regulating a medium of communication and lawyers who understand the first amendment understand what a treacherous, painful, sensitive thing that is. So for those of you who are in law school, there s a future for you at the FCC. Jonathan Zittrain: At least for two years while you can support your family then [01:32:09] [Inaudible]. Reed Hundt: And if you went to law school with the president. Jonathan Zittrain: And if you went to law school with the president, which could also be, to those who also aspire, something that could happen. Ann Marie Lipinski: Could I ask Newt a question? So we ve had lots of people, me included, suggest what the better parts of your speech were. When you were going into that Newt, did you have a sense of A, whether it would endure at all and B, if it would what the kind of you know, what the critical moment in the speech was. Newt Minow: Ann Marie, it baffles me to this moment that 50 years after that speech, it is still being talked about. It baffles me. I paid no attention to the words vast wasteland . I had a lot of people helping me with the speech, one a very gifted writer. He had written vast wasteland of junk . I crossed of of junk and paid no further attention to the parts of that word. I think what you said before was a good point. The New York Times put it on the front page and I think that made it a and I think many, many American people felt that I was basically right, that television could do more to serve the public and I think I got thousands of letters as a result. So but I did not anticipate this at all. Big surprise. I think the fact that it was a new administration, a new president, a new medium, it was the time and the context; not me or the speech. Jonathan Zittrain: Kevin Martin and Reed Hundt have raised the question of youth and youth programming and of course Newt, you ve mentioned the youth in the room maybe looking forward to when their turn will come to have a crack at issues like these. It seems natural maybe to call upon John Palfrey who has been studying generational changes and how people perceive views, the internet and the information they might receive and give over it. To what extent have people themselves been changing over the years? It s not just the landscape getting different but people too, kids. John Palfrey: Thank you, Jonathan and thank you Chairman Minow for the speech and the occasion to have this amazing conversation. I slightly disagree with the idea that that speech is surprising, that it s so memorable. I think in fact for those of us [01:35:00] reading it and rereading it sometime after you gave it, and I was in the category of not born when you did, it has multiple layers to it. Vast Wasteland I think was the easy headline and then as you noted, you have the tie between communication technologies and politics and the public interest, something I think that many of us it defines why we do what we do but then it has this third layer in many areas where you add in to the mix not just communication technologies and public interest and politics but children and education. You have in the speech the line Most young children today, believe it or not, spend as much time watching television as they do in the schoolroom, and which you then repeat; and it s there when you call upon the people in the room to search their consciences. It seems to me that this is an incredibly fitting thing for you to have called upon, particularly given where your daughter has ended up and her husband Joe Singer, both of whom are educational reformers literally here at Harvard Law School and who have focused on the use of technology and video and so forth. s really an amazing kind of clarion call a long time ago to focus on the power of these technologies in these ways and I think the answer is we don t know the answer, Jonathan, to your question of how people are changing; but we know the relevance. We know the fact that in a classroom like this, it matters a great deal not just the formal learning that s happening here but the informal learning that kids are getting and I actually think that the echoes are amazing from this speech 50 years ago. It s a real gift. Jonathan Zittrain: So bracketing the youth question then, Perry Hewitt, are you here? Where is Perry? Perry, you re the Chief Digital Officer of Harvard University. Perry Hewitt: I am. Jonathan Zittrain: Which so far as I can tell means you are the one who exercises the search dark arts to make sure that we come up on searches for higher education instead of Perry Hewitt: t mess with me, Jonathan. Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. So I don t know. Do you have a sense of reaching out to this generation through this cacophonous set of media? Perry Hewitt: I was so struck by something Mr. Minow said this evening in addition to his landmark speech where he said the government s job at that point was to expand choice for viewers; and I think of today when there are 800 cable television channels and 48 hours of YouTube video uploaded every minute. I think one of the things we need to do both as an educational institution and as media leaders creating programming is not only shift the focus toward creating higher quality programming but also shift the focus toward making that programming discoverable and findable. That s a lot of what I m trying to do here at Harvard, thinking about creating meaningful collections of the thought leadership that happens because something that happens at the law school around 9/11 might be really tied to something that s going on at the business school and nobody has the time to make those connections. So that s our job but when I think about media leadership, when I think about quality programming, I think it s as big a challenge to create the programming now but it s also an enormous challenge to make it findable and to make it accessible to those youth who I think are desperately looking for the quality. Jonathan Zittrain: And I got to that s exactly the challenge that Nicholas Negroponte has been taking up in so many different modes over the years. More recently and perhaps most well-known, the One Laptop per Child Program of trying to figure out how to create information conduits to and from very far away places with Nicholas Negroponte: [01:38:20] [Indiscernible] but you do really good at this. I mean you re really good. Oh my god. [Laughter] Nicholas Negroponte: Yes, you [Applause] Jonathan Zittrain: I can t tell if that s a compliment or not. Nicholas Negroponte: That s a compliment. Jonathan Zittrain: But I ll take it. Nicholas Negroponte: That s a real compliment. I sort of come from a slightly different world where we spend less time reflecting and more time inventing. So I m a little bit of an interloper here but by chance when I founded the Media Lab, my partner was in the White House with you, Newt. It was Jerry Wiesner and he told me a story very early on when I first got to know in the 70s about how he brought Vladimir s work into the White House. I don t know if you remember the name but Vladimir Sworkin is generally credited with inventing television. It was a Saturday and Jerry sent his work and then I won t try and imitate Sworkin s but it was a very heavy German accent. He said, Have you ever met the president? He said, He said, Well, let s go see if he s in his office, and he was there and [01:39:22] [Indiscernible]. It was a Saturday afternoon and he says, Mr. President, I want you to meet the man who got you elected. Apparently, Kennedy said, Oh, you know, how is that? and he said, This is the man who invented television. Apparently, Kennedy said, Oh my goodness. You did such a wonderful thing, and so on. As Jerry sort of tells that it s working, looks at him and says, Mr. President, have you looked at television recently? [Laughter] Nicholas Negroponte: He said, When we invented it, we thought we were inventing an educational [01:40:00] medium. We thought we were inventing a medium for the arts, and one of the things I took away from that story was the difference between television and photography. I m going to use photography as an example. The people who invented television were engineers who then threw it over the wall and various people used it. People who invented photography were photographers and the same people who made the creative content invented the medium and that s what I think is happening in computers. That was why we started the Media Lab, to make a place where the inventors and the creative users were the same people; and for 25 years, we ve been doing that and that s the reason why we from those years. Newt Minow: And do you come out then as an optimist that while we are talking and talking policy, you re out building? Nicholas Negroponte: m well-known as being A, unrealistic and B, an optimist about everything so yes, very much an optimist. Jonathan Zittrain: I can t tell you if you complimented yourself or not but [Laughter] Nicholas Negroponte: You haven t been able to tell much since I was there but yes, I m an optimist and I m sort of sometimes so extremely optimistic that you should, you know, not believe me. [Laughter] Jonathan Zittrain: Which of course makes you far more credible. So it s that sort of I mean part of I think what we ve all been grasping at so far is capturing the kind of authenticity that this medium could allow. Maybe it did, maybe it didn t, trying to elicit it from the medium and trying to achieve the same thing today as more and more choices are there and many of the doors have false ones behind them and others may have [01:41:47] [Indiscernible] that otherwise wouldn t come through. We are nearing the end of our time. We haven t even had a chance to open it up because to sort of unpredictable characters because we have not predictable characters. Predicted characters. That didn t sound like a compliment at all. Jonathan Alter: It didn Jonathan Zittrain: m just trying to make Susan s pearls before swine comment recede but I just failed at that too. Female Speaker: You say something funny, you don t need to be Jonathan Zittrain: So I don John, I m just going to call on you real quick as sort of a proxy, given we have so little time though, for those voices that haven t been organized ahead of time. You ve actually had your eye on the Twitter stream so I hate to have that kind of old CNN moment where they re like, So what does so and so in Baghdad have to say? but I m curious. Is there anything different that has been happening in response to this online that hasn t yet found its way to the floor here? John Palfrey: I was struck that you were actually RT-ing the comment by Susan Crawford about pearls before swine in real time but Jonathan Zittrain: Pearls before swine John Palfrey: Yes. That s even better, right? Pearls before swine. There s a huge amount of Twitter traffic on here. A lot of it actually is of course reflecting on things happening in the room but also some wondering what Chairman Minow makes of 140 characters in this sort of short form discussions on Twitter. So I don t know if there s a way that this could be one last question back to the great man but the social media that has Jonathan Zittrain: Yes. John Palfrey: been in the back channel of this room and other rooms that are watching the webcast are kind of wondering about real time feedback from you. Jonathan Zittrain: So the last question, Twitter, threat or menace? [Laughter] Newt Minow: Well, I would like to make one comment. I think the more communication, the better. I would like to thank you for inviting me today. Fifty years, it s hard to believe you re still thinking about a speech 50 years ago. Jonathan who is in my view the Scotty Reston of today s generation of political journalists, Ann Marie who has not only won a Pulitzer but won the admiration of everybody in her field and we re glad she s here at Harvard. Yochai, I ve never met you before today but I read your work and I admire it and I m delighted that I was invited here today. I see somebody here who will one day be chairman of the FCC and when that happens, I hope you will remember that the two words in that statute, the public interest, still have a meaning which too often is easily forgotten. Jonathan Zittrain: I am pleased then to turn the proceedings, with you having successfully not answered the Twitter question, over to our chairman, Terry Fisher, [01:45:00] to bring us in for a landing. Terry. Terry Fisher: So, as many people have rightly pointed out some extraordinarily rich and diverse discussion, impossible to summarize. So instead of making that attempt, I thought I would try to identify a few of the themes upon which there seems to be agreement in the room and a few comments on them. So, it strikes me that the conversation has revealed the extent to which technology and it should be emphasized. Social practices that are enabled but not dictated by those technologies have are in the process of corroding some fundamental divides that have shaped and structured information, entertainment and our senses ourselves. So, here are the divides, as I say, just picking up on themes that emerged in the discussions. First is that division between public and private, the reversal of the trend of the 19th century which was sharp separation of large institutions into two discreet categories, governments, institutions intentionally pursuing the public interest on the one hand and private parties coordinated primarily by the invisible hand and nothing more. That division which began in the early 19th century and hardened by 1900 is now being reversed and the clearest manifestation is the emergence of extraordinarily powerful new aggregators and channelers of information of which Google would be the easiest example. So in this contest, I would suggest in response to Ellen. We re not in a post-institutional world. It s just the most powerful institutions are changing and they are arising in between the zone of public and private. Other divides that are deteriorating fast or that are traditional divides include that between professional and amateur, that between speaker and audience, that as Virginia suggested between news and entertainment. Always a fuzzy boundary but blurring ever more so now and finally, it should be emphasized here, the boundary between the university and society at large as we collectively do and should direct our voices less at our own communities and more out. So these changes, the corrosion of all these divides have had all of the speakers seem to be suggesting both huge benefits and huge costs. The benefits include the democratization of the process information and entertainment production, the collapse of oligopolies and the reduction of bias of the story that Ethan is working to undermine. An increase in the amount of depth and potential for accuracy exemplified for example by the story of the Hussein hanging. A dramatic increase in the direction to return to one of Newt s original provocations of a free society as opposed to a closed society manifested in the contribution contested of the internet and new media to [01:48:40] [Indiscernible] and the revolutions sweeping North Africa and finally, the resurrection of new kinds of communities. We are bulling alone less often now. Big benefits, huge benefits. At the same time, there are corresponding costs that have received a lot of attention here. They include the fragmentation, the loss of a coherent culture, the Tower of Babel, the threat of sacrificing content, context, at least if Jonathan is correct, for the majority of people and the superficiality of what Ethan refers to as the special power of video programming. So we ve got massive changes underway, partly technological, partly social, impossible to stop with some very large benefits and some very large costs. So, accepting Newt s invitation to look forward, it strikes me that there are underway a couple of additional advantages that have not received too much attention here and a method that Yochai in his comment highlighted of ameliorating the cost. The benefit that we haven t talked about much is the advantage in changing [01:50:00] the people who contribute to this now democratized process of generating information. We focused on the quality of the stuff they generate not on what it does to us as producers. So this new environment is one in which we are collectively with extraordinary breadth, as John Palfrey has revealed in his work, producers of the culture in which we live. We are engaged. We are no longer primarily passive, one of the accusations Newt convincingly made in the 1960s. Semiotic democracy is in part a virtue because of what it does to us. OK, that s the extra benefit I wanted to emphasize. Now, the method of ameliorating the cost that Yochai touched upon, that he wanted to emphasize, is we are seeing and could see more of the emergence of innovated, distributed models for sifting, vetting as you suggested, curating and organizing information. They include, as we have often remarked, Wikipedia. They often also include in the technological space collective sites like Slashdot and then they include within the universities projects the sort exemplified here by digital humanities pioneered by Jeffrey Schnapp, which for example is providing a remarkably deep, new way of organizing information; some of it video, some of it non-video about the Japanese tsunami. A way of gathering information together and making it widely available that television never achieved and could not achieve. So, my hope is that we, focusing on these potentials, can accept Nicholas spirit of optimism rather than pessimism, to see that it is in our power to inflect, not halt the developments. It may be here a heresy in this room that the FCC is not the prime mover any longer, recognizing the rapid emergence and growing power of the intermediaries and the diminution in opportunities for genuine, progressive, regulatory change at the governmental level. That it is the growing intermediaries of which Google is only the first where the real power locates and that s where we should concentrate our energies and seek ways of moving this environment in the direction of the public interest. Jonathan Zittrain: Terry, you managed to give us a perfect synthesis of everything that happened and to ask us to shake ourselves by the lapels, to take up the opportunities that are offered by this new environment. We now get to eliminate the divide between speakers and audience as we thank our special contributors, our respondents, Jonathan, Ann Marie, Yochai and most of all Newt Minow and in fact, all three Minows. We ve learned so much. The School of Minows Newt Minow: Thank you so much. 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See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Bernd Debusmann (February 25, 2007). "In U.S., fear and distrust of Muslims runs deep". Reuters. Retrieved on Dec. 16, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Gary Younge (December 11, 2006). "At least in America they understand the notion of cultural difference". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved Dec. 19, 2006. Reprinted as Gary Younge (11 December 2006). "Understanding the notion of cultural difference". Mail & Guardian, South Africa. Archived from the original on 21 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b Abdus Sattar Ghazali (23 December 2006). "2006: Another tough year for American Muslims". The Milli Gazette. Retrieved on Dec. 27, 2006
  4. ^ Sheikh, Irum (2008). "Racializing, Criminalizing, and Silencing 9/11 Deportees". In Brotherton, David; Kretsedemas, Philip (eds.). Keeping out the other: a critical introduction to immigration enforcement today. Columbia University Press. p. 88.

External links

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