November 1, 2012
DIVERSITY FOR THEE BUT NOT FOR ME, or, two Public Broadcasting Systems in one:
“Celebrating Diversity — A Capitol Fourth: America’s Independence Day Celebration,” is but one of countless PBS Webpages devoted to the joys of multiculturalism and diversity. But when diversity threatens PBS’s ability to influence viewers, the network quickly circles the wagon, as this recent McClatchy article titled, “PBS newsman sees danger in fragmented nation” highlights:
A generation ago, before cable news channels and internet news sources, most people got their news from the same small collection of sources: three major TV networks and a hometown newspaper or two, Brown said. People gathered around their televisions for the assassination of a president, a walk on the moon, and other major events.
“It was an age of mass media news, one audience sharing a common experience,” [PBS News Hour co-anchor Jeffrey Brown] said. “For the most part, the mass audience experienced such things together.”
Brown, featured speaker for the university’s Fall Family Open House Saturday, Oct. 27, contrasted that world with the one we live in today, in which Americans can restrict themselves to cable news stations and internet news sources they find most congenial.
“For the most part, we now live in the world of niches,” Brown said.
He acknowledged that the availability of more choices was a good thing, but also noted that the change seems to be part of a far more divided and bitter political atmosphere.
“If we only connect with like-minded people, how do we hear other views?” Brown asked. “It’s hard not to feel it has some relationship to the divisions around us.”