Warning: the end of TV could herald a scared world without experts

As we all know….

Climate Depot: Monckton: ‘Just about everything the mainstream news media say about global warming and its supposed dangers is the opposite of the truth’

… the print media have been printing nonsense about climate for years.

In my last post (The Bloggers that killed the mainstream Press) I came around to the view, that the massive drop in revenue of the press may have been largely responsible for the drop in press standards and the “struggle for headlines” that allowed the scandal of the global warming scare to happen.

However that massive drop in revenue did not happen to the TV. Unlike the printed press, TV largely retained a viable income stream. That is not something I had expected. I had assumed that if the print media was affected by the rise of the internet, then so would TV. It turns out that the public are continuing to watch TV and the internet does not appear to be eating into that.

However, a new report (http://s3.amazonaws.com/kpcbweb/files/85/Internet_Trends_2014_vFINAL_-_05_28_14-_PDF.pdf?1401286773) is beginning to worry me.

In this report, they highlight the growing increase of portable devices and video streaming. Seeing how the change in technology that enabled easy access to blogs and information online so impacted the press, this is a change we should treat with caution. We are now at a stage, where it is very likely that “portable video” is cost effective and we may be on the verge of seeing this technology transform – or more accurately undermine – TV in the same way as the internet undermined the press.

Also the report supports my view, that academia will also be under pressure to reform. (The end of the UK university? )

A world without experts

So, I am now beginning to realise that what happened to the press (a drop in revenue of 80%) could be about to happen elsewhere. So I am forecasting these major trends in the next decades:

  1. The press will continue to decline and by around 2020 we will be left with a rump of around 20% of the news content we had at the peak of 2000.
  2. TV as a fixed format by large companies will likely suffer a similar catastrophic decline to that seen in the press. TV, will largely disappear to be replaced by “on demand viewing” with a rapid increase in content from small internet sites with a small rump of “big channels” dominated by public sector organisations like the BBC, the (once) big US companies and  YouTube.
  3. Academia, will also be facing a similar crisis of funding as new low-cost formats start to eat into the education budget replacing “tenured” academics.
  4. Similar threats may also be seen by doctors and other experts as “online expertise” becomes a viable alternative to “face to face” consultation.
  5. Politics will see a rise in smaller, almost anti-establishment parties (like UKIP).

This might sound a great thing. However, it may well be much worse than we thought. Because rather than this being an improvement, we may just be creating the environment whereby pressure to “up ratings” on TV leads to another “dash for scares, but this time most of the other forms of trusted authorities such as journalists, academics, etc., will also have been undermined.
So, I am now issuing this warning to all skeptics:


It may be climate, it may be medical, “latent” pyschological effects of …,  but if internet TV starts to take off, we must be more vigilant than ever that unscrupulous scammers like the wind lobbyists and carbon traders of global warming do not use it to feather their own nests.

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2 Responses to Warning: the end of TV could herald a scared world without experts

  1. mpcraig says:

    There is one point you have overlooked which may affect your above analysis. If we assume the AGW scare will “end”, the nature of that ending may wind up being very important. For example, if it becomes clear to the general public what you and I know or suspect now, then future fears may not work at all.
    The sound you hear would be trust being shattered. And frankly, that’s what scares me. Because regardless of AGW, we are going to need experts in the future on a wide range of scientific topics and issues and a lack of trust might trump actual good or needed advice.

    • The big unknown is whether the current political elite are capable of understanding the importance of opinion formers on the internet.
      Like many skeptics I used to get really angry because the “mainstream” media weren’t listening to skeptics.
      Then after I spoke to a journalist and heard that they no longer had the staff to report on any science, let alone climate, I realised that all real journalistic expertise was online – and that the internet was now “the mainstream”.
      The big problem is that the politicians haven’t yet got that fact. They’re still under the delusion that the opinion formers on climate are their friends in the Guardian – and they no doubt still believe that if they just satisfy the Guardian/mail/mirror/times journalists that they will easily get re-elected.
      No doubt the EU election was a shock for them – one they will dismiss as something specific to Europe. Then they will get another shock and another, until there are either none of those politicians left or they wake up with an almighty shock and realise the people they’ve been holding in contempt, are the ones they have to satisfy to get re-elected.

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