Thursday, May 16, 2013


The sky is obviously falling for the Obama administration, if you buy into the increasing but arguably exaggerated, even vaguely unhinged, elite media opinion in the capital.

President Obama and top aides have lied to the country about the Benghazi raid and the IRS meddling with various groups. He’s too passive. He sees himself as a victim. “Scandals” are engulfing his second term. The White House is falling apart.

That’s the drift. But don’t bet against the same people shortly announcing that Obama has put out the fire, righted the ship, dodged a bullet, etc. In a world of short attention spans, the downside of error seems minimal.

The possible lack of perspective is head-turning and, somewhere in the mix, is technology and a media culture where, in significant ways, being provocative and "interesting" can seem a greater priority than being right and, thus, simply more measured.

It’s why I turned to one of the smarter folks I know who doesn’t live and work in Washington. He’s Howard Tullman, a lawyer-turned-serial entrepreneur who now runs an impressive, scandal-free for-profit college in Chicago called Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. 

Tribeca gives fully accredited two–year degrees in digital arts and entertainment technologies. The “Tribeca” reflects a partnership with actor Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Enterprises, best known for its film festival.

Tullman is one of those guys who seems to know everybody; a politically-active Democrat whose work has brought him close ties and respect in industries as diverse as Hollywood, Silicon Valley, restaurant and auto. And given his work at Flashpoint, he’s a true expert on social media and lectures on it worldwide.

So, when he looks at the reporting out of Washington, and the role of Twitter, Facebook, cable TV and other means of instant assessment of political matters, what does he think?

“We’re living in very scary times. There’s no question that - in the world of web conversations - volume (in both senses – tone and tonnage) and velocity have completely overwhelmed any kind of vision or veracity.”

“Every day the biggest blowhards extinguish even the brightest bulbs. There’s just no room left for considered discussion or deliberation because the pace of the back-and-forth continues to pick up and no one in the media can afford to be left in the dust.”

“So it’s every factoid for itself – shoot first and fact-check later. If you’re wrong, BFD. And we, the shell-shocked public - are left on the sidelines watching a steady stream of aggressive and ill-founded accusations predicated on false hopes and made-up figures without a clue or a trusted guide to help through the crap and the clutter.”

“When Bob Dylan said long ago that “you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows”, he could never have envisioned a time when the unceasing winds of cheap conversation blew in every direction at once and whatever the truth may have been was blown out the window.”

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