Demagogues of the world, right or left, have got to love television. The linear, emotion-driven, passive, and image-centred medium has reduced politics to a reality-show. As Neil Postman posited in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, television has vastly downgraded the level of public discourse in most democracies. From US to Iran, from Venezuela to France, from Egypt to Russia, from Italy to Turkey, there is as much competition over viewers’ gaze as it is over their ballots. In many countries, gaze is automatically translated into votes.
Most alarmingly, the internet, which was the last word-centred public space after the decline of print journalism, is capitulating to the television format. Social networks’ notion of the Stream, in Facebook, Twitter etc., is killing the web and thereby word-based journalism. Facebook is now more like the future of television than what the web looked like for over two decades.