impeachment in the era of Netflix

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

impeachment in the era of Netflix

Postby hyksos on November 27th, 2019, 11:48 pm 

I talked to some older people, and they told me about the nature of television and news media in the 1970s during Nixon's impeachment. TV in people's houses had like 4 or 5 channels maximum. They would show hearings of the Nixon impeachment inquiries and such by just blasting them in the middle of the day on the broadcast networks. That is, they would "interrupt soap operas" -- as the saying goes.

I happen to be old enough to remember (very fuzzily) the Ollie North Iran/Contra scandal of Ronald Reagan. I do remember that some of the hearings were switched over on broadcast TV channels, and that they did indeed "interrupt the soap operas" as it were.

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Die-hard fans of soap operas would be livid when the networks would do this. TV had no other options for many people other than to be forced to watch political history unfold.

By the late 1990s, cable TV was a staple household technology. ( I was actually in a dorm at the time and so I was distracted by schoolwork, girlfriends, et cetera -- I didn't pay attention to politics whatsover.) I can say that I have no memory of ever seeing the actual impeachment trial of Bill Clinton in the senate. Ironically, youtube videos are the first time I have ever seen them. Chief justice Rehnquist presided there in a colorful robe. I find the videos to be surreal when I watch them.

In 2019 media technology has even transcended the 500+ channels of cable television, and gone on to streaming services. E.g. like netflix and hulu. The broadcast networks cannot interrupt "your regularly scheduled programming" because the broadcast networks can't interrupt anything at all in your consumption of media. I still have cable in my house here, but I can't even remember where the broadcast network channels are even located. I would have to use the menu to hunt them down. I would even surmise that the major networks are not even covering Trump impeachment-related stuff, perhaps feeling that CSPANs 1 , 2, and 3 and 24-hour news networks are perfectly sufficient for coverage.

Anyways, the older person I talked to (old enough to remember the impeachment of Nixon) said that the ability of people to tune out politics is greater than it has ever been in history.

My use of the verb "to tune out" there makes me sound like some older person. I'm certain that a millennial listening to me talk (or reading this) would pick up my use of antiquated lingo. In the age of Netflix, the power and control over media and its consumption is in the hands of the customer. I do feel like a person could got into a bubble far enough that they wouldn't know that war has broken out. So a little impeachment inquiry hearing is not even going to be a blip on their attention span.

You could hear about "some impeachment thing going on" that flips through the screen of your mobile phone like everything else that you flip through.

There is no front page of newspapers anymore.

There is no "major network channels" to interrupt to tell you that planes flew into towers.

All media is co-equal.

People's attention is saturated by 1000s of distractions.

There is a real danger of a Trump impeachment fizzling out into fuzzy obscurity -- forgotten in weeks as our attention is drawn to the next shiny thing. The "impeachment of Donald J Trump" (dun-dun-dun) will vanish off our media devices like one of those tropical depressions vanishing over the ocean, having never reached cat 1.

People seem to know about the impeachment of Nixon like they remember the Civil War. In 13 months, you will have to jog someone's memory with : "remember that one time when they tried to impeach Trump?"
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Re: impeachment in the era of Netflix

Postby toucana on November 28th, 2019, 1:31 am 

When president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas on Friday 22 November 1963, most of the network TV channels weren’t even on air at that time of day (12.30 CST). They didn’t normally start their full daytime broadcast schedules until several hours later. When five bell alarms started cascading across the news agencies Telex systems, the TV studios had to get on air as best they could. As TV studio cameras of that era were powered by ’tubes’ (thermionic valves) and took some 20 minutes to warm up properly, it meant that the earliest TV bulletins about the Dallas shooting were audio only, with a blank screen and voice-over commentary, until the cameras were hot enough to run live.

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July 1969, the entire world watched it happen live on TV. Three years later in December 1972 when Apollo 17 made the final manned moon landing, jaded US viewers were reportedly phoning up TV channels to complain that the live coverage of the astronauts driving their moon buggy around the Taurus Litrow landing site was interrupting ‘Time For Beany’ re-runs (a puppet show for kids originally broadcast between 1950-55).

In August 1973 I was inside a Washington daily newspaper press-room when a major breaking story about the Watergate scandal came in. All the journalists were standing looking up at a b/w TV set on a shelf and taking notes on shorthand pads, before diving over onto their desks and hammering out their newsprint stories on golf-ball electric typewriters.

On Tuesday 11 September 2001 we were watching the start of a live stream of the attacks on the twin towers that was being relayed from USA over the BBC. As I turned and said to my wife “it’s a terrorist attack, they must lock down the air-space of Washington DC immediately”, the screen suddenly changed and the BBC commentator said “Oh.. they have changed the feed, I don’t know what I’m looking at..” The camera was actually showing a feed from Washington DC looking across the Potomac river at a vast plume of smoke arising from the Pentagon where the third plane had just hit. I recognised the location immediately because I had been there years earlier.

Major breaking news stories always tend to overrun and break the technical capacity of the news media systems of the day. Relentless coverage quickly saturates the attention span of the general public. The ’57 Channels And Nothin’ On’ effect that Bruce Springsteen sang about in 1992 has been with us for a very long time. They simply added a few zeros to that number
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Re: impeachment in the era of Netflix

Postby Lozza on November 29th, 2019, 9:07 pm 

Seriously? You believe that the distractions of TV are what's going to save Trump from impeachment? No president will EVER be impeached, as it sets up a precedent for ALL presidents past, present and future to be impeached. And all of them are as guilty as Hell, so that won't be happening. Ford's first act as president was to exonerate Nixon of any wrong-doing, based upon what I just outlined, not "facts" about the case, for after all, Nixon ended up admitting his wrong doing to David Frost on international television.

Ollie North, a noble man, "fell on his sword" on behalf of Ronny Ray-Gun (Reagan).

The distraction is NOT TV, it's politicians and politics, whereby people believe themselves to be experts on politics on nothing but bytes of information and reams of disinformation. Yeah, they're experts of bullshit, but not of politics or facts, let alone human behavior.
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Re: impeachment in the era of Netflix

Postby TheVat on November 29th, 2019, 10:51 pm 

The US is an oligarchy, at least since the Reagan administration. Electing Trump just made it a bit more obvious (thanks, Robert Mercer, Koch brothers, and Rupert Murdoch) than it was. The social media are just echo chambers for oligarch propaganda that helps keep democracy from returning the way it threatens to do when someone like Sanders starts getting a groundswell of support. Impeachment will never happen so long as being a Senator requires (in most states) support from the oligarchical donor base. Our only hope is to protect as many people from voter suppression as possible. Most likely, the few democratic states surviving (Oregon, Massachusetts, California, possibly Minnesota, Washington, a couple others) will be trying to secede.
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Re: impeachment in the era of Netflix

Postby Serpent on November 30th, 2019, 12:17 am 

Maybe. But I suspect (as resident pessimist, it's kind of my job) that it's gone beyond the point of saving by popular vote.
The even darker suspicion is that there never was a democracy - it's all just been smoke and mirrors, and the battle of [fake-news, commercial advertising campaigns, intimidated/sacked/murdered journalists, hacked-social-media, propaganda-mill] mass communications crisis just brought it all out into the open. There's this great big steaming pile of sticky goo lying in the middle of the floor and nobody knows what to do with it.
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Re: impeachment in the era of Netflix

Postby hyksos on November 30th, 2019, 11:27 pm 

TheVat » November 30th, 2019, 6:51 am wrote:The US is an oligarchy, at least since the Reagan administration. Electing Trump just made it a bit more obvious (thanks, Robert Mercer, Koch brothers, and Rupert Murdoch) than it was. The social media are just echo chambers for oligarch propaganda that helps keep democracy from returning the way it threatens to do when someone like Sanders starts getting a groundswell of support. Impeachment will never happen so long as being a Senator requires (in most states) support from the oligarchical donor base. Our only hope is to protect as many people from voter suppression as possible. Most likely, the few democratic states surviving (Oregon, Massachusetts, California, possibly Minnesota, Washington, a couple others) will be trying to secede.


"The US is an oligarchy, at least since the Reagan administration. Electing Trump just made it a bit more obvious"


I was about to make a new thread titled Manchurian Candidates.
There is an interesting conspiracy theory knocking around the internet. You start off by asking : Why are Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg running for president -- and why as democrats?

Like, seriously , what's the deal here? The conspiracy suggests they are faux candidates, who want to win the Democratic ticket at the DNC, and then lose intentionally to Trump in the general election. Their primary concern for doing this bizarre act of political suicide is that they want to stymie what you mentioned : A groundswell from Bernie Sanders/ Warren / Yang nexus. (Regarding your"oligarchy" there), both of these men Steyer, BLoomberg are literally hedge fund managers who work in capital investment firms.
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