756: Public Opinion
Cueball as a news anchor is reporting a message from a politician, shown behind him.
The comic is mocking the "old media" (television, radio, newspapers) for their move to opinions as an information source. Such change came with development of the internet and "new media" as source of information (websites, blogs, social networks), which pushed "old media" back and diminished their significance. In their attempt to return to relevance, "old media" tried to copy the opinion part of the news, taking what could be considered a bad thing from them. The humor of the comic comes from news anchor cutting to an opinion piece from people on the street, thus proving the politician's point.
The title text illustrates what Randall sees as the problem with this approach. The new media, for the large part, consists of uninformed opinions from people of average intelligence and abilities. However, the sheer volume and immediacy of information is threatening to destroy old media, much as the iceberg destroyed the Titanic. You don't join with the iceberg or try to emulate its methods; the iceberg does not care, it's too big and will destroy you anyway. If possible, then the best way to survive is to steer far away to avoid it and find your own path. (Ironically, the Titanic sank because it steered away just enough for the iceberg to scrape its side, tearing into multiple compartments. If it had steered straight into the iceberg, although the bow would have been severely damaged, the ship might have stayed afloat.) Old media must present us with something better than new media (for example: informed, analytical, intelligent), otherwise we have no need of them.
- [Cueball as a news anchor reads from a paper. There is a picture on the left side of screen of a man with black hair speaking behind a lectern holding up one hand. In the bottom right-hand corner is the logo for the news.]
- Cueball: A leading politician today charged that the media, rather than informing people, now merely report on public ignorance.
- Cueball: Do our viewers agree? Let's hear from some voices on the street...
- Logo: News24
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"It's rare to see a comic without comments on the explainxkcd page for it."126.96.36.199 13:29, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
I don't know if anyone else is getting this issue but for some reason this one comic will not load on my computer. This single comic cannot be reached. All other ones are fine. 188.8.131.52 19:49, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Can't get to original comic link, Avast says it's infected with phishing or something. 184.108.40.206 01:10, 2 June 2020 (UTC)