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Thinking About David Hasselhoff

By - May 07, 2007

David H

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.

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12 thoughts on “Thinking About David Hasselhoff

  1. coxy says:

    Sounds like you’re a little tired and a little cranky after flying… maybe you need a cup of hot Hoffie to bring you round. ;)

  2. Edwin says:

    Right u are!

  3. lisa says:

    and yet you watched it. hmm….

  4. michelle says:

    “a poor, sick, f*cked up man is losing his dignity on CNN”. if you don’t like cnn then take it out on cnn. why the hatred for this guy. he’s an alcoholic. i guess my mom must also be poor sick and f*cked up since she fell off the wagon a few times on her road to recovery.

  5. abb3w says:

    Why does it offend you on CNN, but not on the internet? Easy. To quote Drew Curtis, “It’s not News, it’s FARK.” CNN used to be a quality news source once upon a time. Reporting unhappy details about a celebrity is hardly news; showing video of him losing his lunch even less so.

  6. Kelly says:

    I am glad that I wasn’t the only one embarrassed for Hasselhoff. Everything is such a joke and you’re right – this poor guy is going through enough without his life’s mistakes splattered all over the news! Freakin’ crap journalism.

  7. John Battelle says:

    Michelle – You make a valid point. I do not hate him, I feel very, very sorry for him.

  8. SorenG says:

    I have to agree with John, though I would say this is true of the internet as well: imagine ourselves in the video. If we do not want to be seen throwing up, then we should probably not watch others doing the same.

    Now, you may say that you never would do x or y and you are not an alcoholic or whatever, but if we want a certain level of privacy, we should extend that to others. If not, the world is going to be less news, and more gossip. And while while gossip and other people’s mistakes give us some humor and a momentary sense of righteousness, I think there is better uses of media. Also, the way it is usually presented is not “lets help this person,” and more “look what a screw up.”

  9. sol says:

    I find it sad that CNN thinks what Americans are most interested in is David Hasselhoff’s alcoholism, Anna Nicole Smith’s death, Snoop Dogg’s most recent drug offense and the latest sex offender. CNN has a duty as a popular news source to cover legitimate news and not spend all their time on discussing celebrity gossip and alarmist bulls***. People’s perceptions are that the crime rate in the US is higher than its ever been because theres so much of it in the media, particularly disgusting sex crimes which the media seems to love, while in fact its pretty safe here, safer than it was 10 years ago for sure.

    Maybe I’m wrong and what CNN covers is exactly what their audience cares most about. In any case they’re hurting America.

  10. Adam says:

    Some thoughts:

    1) Get TV-B-Gone: http://www.tvbegone.com/

    2) Stop watching CNN altogether. Heck, stop watching TV. If you (and by you, I don’t mean you, personally, John, I mean the larger You) keep supporting companies that spew this crap, the networks will keep shoveling it out.

    3) Support strong, independent journalism. Subscribe to sites like http://www.salon.com that actually analyze and support discussions on substantive issues in our world.

    Our “news” on TV is broken. I don’t know how to fix it, but I sure know it’s hazardous to support it.

  11. Julian Wearne says:

    As I live in Australia I manage to not watch CNN (unless I’m at someones house with Pay T.V (which isn’t very common in Aus). However I can see the trend that T.V and especially news seems to be getting worse and worse. I also think Adam is 100% correct. I don’t know how to fix this problem but I sure know watching it will only make it worse (remember T.V is all about ratings). Night after night my housemates bitch about T.V being crap, yet rather than watch one of the hundreds of good DVD’s we have, or walking to the video shop they stare at the junk. I just don’t get it.

  12. macbeach says:

    I think the only “fix” at this point is for the remaining media to collapse and die. they’ve long since passed the point where the geniuses at the top could do something reasonable, and now they are reduced to taking stuff off the Internet thinking that is is the “stuff” that makes the Internet popular rather than that it is the ability the Internet gives us to not only pick and choose on a story by story basis, but to interact directly with the story (as I am doing now).

    I was glad to hear that by their own measure they lost another 2.5 million viewers since this time last year. Burn baby BURN!

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