Friday, June 01, 2007

All the world's a stage

I am more than wildly interested in the fact that today is the birthday of CNN. The Cable News Network turns a quarter of a century today. CNN is a mere 4 months older than my sister, Elizabeth, who is not someone I associate with CNN at all.

This is the day that commemorates the birth of a 24-hour news reality that is now accepted as a rather common way of life in this world today. Thanks to CNN, events such as the Battle of Mogadishu (yeah that didn't ring a bell with me either, truth be known) and the Oklahoma City bombing, and lest we forget the fiasco that turned out to be David Koresh, and 9/11, all these events were brought to us as they were happening, courtesy of a 24-hour operation dedicating itself to what is essentially the original reality show. Now here's a newsflash: yes, folks, there was life before CNN. And correct me if I'm wrong but we were living it pretty well.

CNN. A name that has become synonymous with trust, reliability, promptness, efficacy, James Earl Jones, and not to be outdone Accuracy, as it pertains to delivering news. There are many interesting facts that can be found by clicking here, but none that are nearly as tantalizing (to me) than this one: coverage of the first Gulf War, among other things, led to coining the term "the CNN effect": the perception that CNN's 24-hour, real-time brand of coverage of those events had such an impact on United States' government as to influence it's decision-making processes.

If that is so, and we look at our position in this world from a political and social perspective, and we add up all the rights and wrongs ... what does this mean? Is there a difference between what life was like 26 years ago and life now? Was life "better" back in the "good ol' days"? Does this mean that it's not Nixon's fault the Presidency is corrupt at all - it's CNN's fault!

The truth is, it's probably futile to make such comparisons. We'd have gotten here regardless, and whatever CNN's role in the pudding was, while significant, was not operating in a vacuum either.

It's still very, very difficult to ignore this little tidbit of history. For better or for worse, we live in a 24-hour world. But then, we always have, now haven't we?

1 comment:

  1. You know it has just occurred to me that, as with everything we do, living my life as if it depended on CNN is a choice...