A touch of TV power

June 25th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

One thing that stood out in my most recent trip to Russia: the Kremlin could care less about what magazines print. Seriously. Magazines, radio, even some newspapers are allowed to criticize Putin, Medvedev, whomever. Yes, there are some taboo topics (New Times editor Evgenia Albats’s office was recently raided after she criticized the riot police). And you still should have a good estate lawyer before reporting on corrupt businessmen.

But print escapes the overwhelming Kremlin pressure that TV news faces, for one reason alone: Print doesn’t matter; TV does. The clever autocrats in the Kremlin understand that television is the only real way to sway public opinion, to rally them to a cause, or to tell them the story of what is actually happening in a country.

Which is why I am reminded that television in the U.S. can still move the conversation in good directions. It’s not just brain rot for kids, or Glenn Beck in tears, it’s also reporting like this weekend’s upcoming CNN mini-documentary “Gary and Tony Have a Baby.” Don’t just take it from me—I’m clearly biased and homo-friendly. Take it (like a man) from Tom Shales over at the Washington Post, who points out that the one-hour special (Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m.) is neither mawkish nor didactic, but rather a straightahead look at forms of love and parenting that a lot of people still want to deny. Watch it.

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