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Monday, July 22, 2013

The Newsroom 2.2: The Power of Video

The power of video was in evidence in The Newsroom 2.2 tonight - including what can happen in its absence.

At an Occupy Wall Street protest, the NYPD - who in reality and on this show demonstrate a blissful and vexing disregard of the First Amendment - Neil is arrested for doing his job, i.e., reporting on the event.   Fortunately, he live streamed his unconstitutional arrest, so even though the marauding NY cops took and likely broke his phone, the video of his outrageous arrest survived.   Will is able to use it to get Neil released.   Journalists arrested by constitutionally illiterate cops weren't quite so lucky in our reality.  But Tim Pool's video did get the case against OWS reporter Alexander Arbuckle thrown out of court last year. (I was pleased to have Tim Pool guest lecture in my class at Fordham University a few months earlier.)

Video, of course, can also incriminate, and it lands Maggie in increasing hot water - that is, a video of her, recorded by a bystander and put on YouTube, when she was in effect proclaiming her love for Jim. Determined to get the video off of YouTube, Maggie (with Sloan insisting on accompanying her) track down the video poster via Foursquare.   The poster is not prone to remove the video - it's getting lots of hits and is connected to her blog, after all - but Sloan tries to buy the poster's compliance by offering to tweet a pointer to the poster's blog to Sloan's nearly half a million followers on Twitter.  The poster agrees, takes the tweet - only to write a blog post about the whole event, anyway, which of course garners even more to attention to the video, which she hasn't removed, and her blog.  A savvy and amusing lesson about the labyrinthine power of social - or what I can "new new" - media, and the wheelers-and-dealers who try to use these media for their often conflicting purposes.

But the final lesson about video in this episode, about the impact of no video, is not amusing at all. Troy Davis is executed for killing  a police officer in Georgia.   He proclaimed his innocence until the end.   If only a video existed of what really happened to the cop.   Just as justice would have been better served if a video existed of what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin.   We don't yet live in such a world, but we're slowly getting there.

See also The Newsroom Season 2 Debuts on Occupy Wall Street and More ... and (about Trayvon Martin) If Only There Was a Video Recording

And see also The Newsroom and McLuhan ... The Newsroom and The Hour ...The Newsroom Season 1 Finale: The Lost Voice Mail

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