Does Being on TV Make Us Better World Citizens?
To quote the character in the 1995 movie, “To Die For” — “You’re not really anybody in America unless you’re on TV… ’cause what’s the point of doing anything worthwhile if there’s nobody watching? So when people are watching, it makes you a better person.” So if everybody was on TV all the time, everybody would be better people.
A minor statistic – that the recent tsunami in #Japan got CNN its highest ratings since Obama’s inauguration! What can beat the reality of earthquakes and rising water, followed almost immediately by nuclear power plants with seawater cannons blasting? And then add the airstrikes over #Libya – all delivered in breathtaking color.
Does showing these images on TV make people more sympathetic to the plight of the rest of the world? I think it probably does – and that it does make us better people for caring.
The social media has contributed greatly to this – working hand in glove with TV – expanding coverage to new audiences and flashing breaking news around the world. The immediacy of Twitter and email make us seem empathetic because we are sending the news out to our social circles.
The middle east uprisings are possible not because of just the media, but because people around the world weigh in and give political support to the protesters. They know the world is watching and because they know they are not alone anymore, they are empowered to stick with their protests.
And look at the payoff – the rebels in Libya make their case and the world comes to their aid. Obviously there are other critical factors at play here, but the TV makes it all possible.
Just five years ago, people were wondering when the One World concept would finally catch hold and we would collectively realize that we’re really all people on this tiny planet – Pax Humana, aka World Peace.
It looks like that day has come – not because of highideals or harmonic convergence, or universal values, but because we can tweet pictures to our friends about other people on the other side of the world. This is true reality TV and it’s going to be a game changer for businesses and governments everywhere.