Monday, December 27, 2021

How Fame, Fortune and Education Ended Objective Journalism: A conversation with Batya Ungar-Sargon

Too often when talking about the media and journalism we engage in a board discussion of ideas, policy, and how the levers of power really work

What we often forget is that all of this is made up of people. People who bring to the exercise of power and of reporting on it, their own values, education, and personal history.

In that fact lies much of what is wrong with the media today. It's how we lost sight of the power of class in journalism, why we’ve tried to bury class differences inside racial differences and wokeness.

If all of this sounds too nuanced, Batya Ungar-Sargon, the deputy opinion editor of of Newsweek, helps us understand how it’s shaping our media and democracy in her new work Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy

My conversation with Batya Ungar-Sargon

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Modern Era of Television Begins with HBO: A Conversation with James Andrew Miller

The link between what we watch in movies and on television, and the business, the money and the people behind it, are inseparable. Business decisions impact and shape what we see, just as one hit can change the finances of an entire company or industry.

The story of HBO, and the way in which it disrupted television, beginning back in the early 1970s, is perhaps the penultimate example.

Just as today we are going through a sea change with respect to how stories are delivered to us, HBO was the creative destruction of its day. Its motto, like Facebook, could easily have been “move fast and break things.”

And just as HBO disrupted television. Blockbuster would eventually disrupt HBO, Netflix would disrupt Blockbuster, and technology and streaming would disrupt everything. But in many ways the story all starts with HBO.

That’s the story that James Andrew Miller tells in his comprehensive and entertaining oral history Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers 

 My conversation with James Andrew Miller:

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Shattering: America in the 1960's: A Conversation with Kevin Boyle

Think of all that has changed as a result of startups and creative destruction. Nothing is the same as it was because of the sometimes revolutionary ideas of entrepreneurs.

In a similar way the 1960s were a time of creative destruction for America and the world. The post war paradigms that had shaped the country through the late 40’s and early 50’s were shattered. And just as today we are struggling, socially, politically and economically to come to grips with the our technology disruption, on a grander scale we are still trying to come to grips with the social and political shattering of the 60’s

We explore this with National Book Award winner Kevin Boyle, whose new book is The Shattering: America in the 1960s 

My conversation with Kevin Boyle:

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Post-Pandemic Normal Will Never Be the Way It Was

Everyone desperately wants to know what the post-pandemic world will look like. Adam Tooze has been thinking hard about it and he thinks he knows. 

Comparing the US experience to China’s, he notes how cultural and political differences have determined successes and failures in dealing with the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. Tooze argues that, like soldiers returning from mortal combat, we are suffering from a kind of national — and even global — PTSD.

Tooze, Columbia University history and economics professor is the author of Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy.

My WhoWhatWhy conversation with Adam Tooze::