A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Haiti will soon be a distant memory

Marshall McLuhan (April, 1965, age 53).  War on TV.

I was telling Tom Easterbrook just the other day The Vietnam War cannot be won on TV.  It could be won on radio, but not on TV.  TV is too involving.  One other thing, which I think is “verra” interesting.  Have you noticed that the media can only follow one war at a time?

Me (February, 2010, age 57).  What if he’s right?

Marshall McLuhan’s observation that the media can only follow one war at a time, suggests a prediction about the three week-old now disaster in Haiti. Sooner or later, the will media move on to some other bad news story to sell their good news (the advertisements).  Somalia, New Orleans, Bangladesh where are they on the 6 o’clock news?  Can Haiti, no matter how deserving of our attention remain long in the electronic eye once another story pops up.  At least Tiger is getting a break.  However, the hurricane season is fast approaching.  Haiti’s only chance is to suffer new disaster.

Is there a difference between radio coverage of the story and TV coverage?  If so, what is it? Does TV coverage, while it lasts, increase the likelihood that something will be done to rescue Haiti?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore.  War and Peace in the Global Village, 1968.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Technology, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to Haiti will soon be a distant memory

  • Don Lindstrom says:

    Of course there is a difference between radio and TV coverage. Watching a political speech on TV is a much different experience than listening to it on the radio. With the radio, we are forced to form our own pictures of what is being said. In that sense, radio is more interactive. This is analogous to music before and after MTV. The internal visuals and associations I have for songs heard only on the radio are different from those viewed and heard on MTV.

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