Remember Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 hit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“? (“You will not be able to stay home, brother./You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out…. Because the revolution will not be televised.”)
How quaint that seems now. Not only will the revolution be televised. EVERYTHING will be televised, ad tedium, ad nauseum, whether we like it or not.
Wednesday on Fox News, the Dictator Was Televised… meaning, of course, Syria’s Bashar Assad.
And I don’t think that’s a good thing — not just because Assad obviously gassed and/or murdered tens or hundreds of thousands of his own people — but because television is a great equalizer. You don’t have to be a slavish follower of Marshall McLuhan to realize that the minute someone is given a formal interview on television, he or she is elevated. In fact, in some ways it’s hard to tell him or her apart from any other interviewee. They have been chosen.
And that is what happened to Assad, who sat there in what appeared to be his presidential palace, nicely lit and neatly dressed, being questioned by Dennis Kucinich (yes, Dennis Kucinich!) and the network’s senior correspondent Greg Palkot.
Both men asked the dictator rather banal questions and referred to Assad repeatedly in the traditional, deferential manner as “Mr. President” (as in “Chancellor Hitler, was that really Zyklon B you used at Auschwitz?”). And Assad did a superb job (he’s no dummy) of replying to their questions while lying about just about everything. It was a big win for him. Indeed the Syrian dictator’s office has helped promote the interview. They urged their citizens to stay up and watch it!