Good lord, has it come to this? That was my first thought upon getting off the plane here in Seattle, and seeing CNN – f*cking CNN! – running clips of David Hasselhoff reverse puking a Wendy’s Steakhouse Double Melt in a crowded airport during high rush hour (6 pm).
Yes, it has come to this. Why am I, defender of all things Internet (see my views on NBC making the Va Tech material available), offended by seeing on CNN what I can freely see on the Internet? This may not be in any way insightful, and I’m sure someone has put it far more elegantly, but it comes down to this one simple insight: What I see on the Internet, I *choose* to see, and in particular, I choose to see it *privately* – in other words, I see it when and how I want. But when I’m walking with 1000 other souls through a public thoroughfare, and a poor, sick, f*cked up man is losing his dignity on CNN, well, it strikes me the standards are different.
Even though we often watch alone, television is in esssence a shared medium. We watch it together. If it’s on, in a bar, on our homes, in our airports, well, it’s on for anyone who comes in the room. Collectively, we must form an opinion that individually, perhaps, we might form differently. We are forced to find common ground. And honestly, really, well, I don’t *want* to find common ground with a bunch of strangers in an airport about David Hasselhoff. No, really, I just don’t.
Online, it’s different. Online, I control my space. Yup, it’s my space.
So CNN, put it online. But don’t make me watch it with people I just got off a plane with.