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Paul Levinson's Open Salon Blog

Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson
New York City, New York, USA
March 25
Fordham University
Paul Levinson's The Silk Code won the 2000 Locus Award for Best First Novel. He has since published Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003), The Plot To Save Socrates (2006), Unburning Alexandria (2013), and Chronica (2014) - the last three known as the "Sierra Waters trilogy". His science fiction and mystery short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar, and Sturgeon Awards. His eight nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), New New Media (2009, 2013) have been the subject of major articles in the New York Times, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, and have been translated into twelve languages. Paul Levinson has appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" (Fox News), "The CBS Evening News," the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” (PBS), “Nightline” (ABC), and numerous national and international TV and radio programs. His 1972 album, Twice Upon a Rhyme, was re-issued in 2010. He reviews the best of television in his blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009. Paul Levinson is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City


Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 28, 2008 1:28AM

Superb Speeches by B Clinton & Kerry - TV Shows Just Bill's

Rate: 4 Flag

Bill Clinton and John Kerry just gave two outstanding speeches at the Democratic National Convention. The arrogant cable networks carried only Bill Clinton's. Once again, CSPAN comes through as the true American herald.

Bill Clinton received minute after minute of thunderous applause when he walked out on stage - he deserved every bit of it. His speech was masterfully on target, explaining what Americans have lost under Bush, and why Obama and Biden are what's needed to get it back and move forward. Clinton's praise of Biden was especially meaningful, given that, on the basis of Bill's irrefutable logic, Hillary might well have been chosen as VP candidate. It was pleasure to see Bill Clinton address a crowd again. As always, his intelligence and commitment shone brightly.

Cut to the talking heads on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. But on the small inset screen on our TV, who do my wife and I see but John Kerry. He was never a mesmerizing speaker, but, hey, he gave it a close run four years ago, and we wanted to hear what he had to say.

John Kerry probably gave the best speech of his career tonight. I actually liked it even better than Bill's. Kerry took apart the Republicans and John McCain in a way no one at the convention has done so far, in a step-by-step presentation of logic and evidence. I'm looking forward to more of this from Joe Biden.

But kudos to John Kerry for stepping up and delivering a powerhouse punch. And boos to networks for ignoring him. Cable news, here's a clue: a Presidential candidate from just four years ago is always likely to be more of value than your best talking heads.

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I too was outraged that the tire-swinging talking heads talked right over Kerry's outstanding speech. Kerry was one of the only (the only?) person to talk about how America must not torture, and other major, major issues. Plus, he smacked McCain all over the place.

I watched it on PBS. The CNN and MSNBC kidz preferred to hear themselves talk.
It's too bad presentations of logic and evidence don't sway the American sheeple.
PBS showed them all. I'd watch C-Span if I had it available, but I don't, so it's PBS all the way.

Both Bill Clinton and Claudia Kennedy mentioned Torture as an important issue, too. That made three speeches that I counted that included it as an issue. If there were others, I missed them.
I loved Kerry's speech (I watched both his and Bill's on youtube this morning). He's not nearly as charismatic as Bill (really, who is?) but he hit it hard. I don't think anyone has taken McCain to task like he did last night. It was a brilliant speech- better, in many ways, than Bill's.
Paul, you and your friends obviously don't understand that what's important isn't the speaker but what the TV experts say about the speaker. By accident, I was watching coverage on PBS. When I noticed that they were showing the speaches, I immediately turned to Fox.
I'm only a tad less cynical than you, Steve - but we can still be be friends :)

But as Kirs said, Kerry's speech is available on YouTube. One of the developments I'm writing about in my book, New New Media is how YouTube is replacing the networks and even cable as the cutting edge and ultimate record of video presentation. I predict that Kerry's speech will become a classic. It already has thousands of views.

Television increasingly counts only in the immediate run - in the short, medium, and long runs, it's YouTube.
Paul, that's going to be a really interesting analysis, especially when you factor in how the delivery system affects the popularity and viral dissemination of an individual clip. In a sense, OS is a microcosm of the YouTube phenomenon, especially as has been discussed, there are more users, more comments, yet only a single front page delivery system, though augmented by ratings). As the technology evolves, so will the ways we can find content, both here in OS and on the Internet at large as television and print gets displaced.
Yes, the high participatory quality of OS indeed makes it comparable to YouTube - the main difference being that's easier for some people to write a blog than make a video (but that difference is not as much as it used to be).
After his speech, I could not help but wonder, where was THIS John Kerry in 2004?

Thanks for the post!
My pleasure, David.

I guess coming that close to winning stokes the articulate fire in your soul.