Now what do we talk about? Will the conversation return to important things like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? To our involvement in Lybia? In Pakistan? To the Economy? Health Care?
Sadly, no. None of those things were the focus pre-Weiner. Before his sad story it was--well, name your scandal (John Edwards' trial? The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn for alleged rape of a hotel maid? ), name your celebrity bash (Royal Wedding, anyone?). Or name any of so many media-fueled distractions from the important life-changing, world-shifting stuff going on.
I had a fascinating conversation this morning with Tim Murray, Managing Partner of J Capital Research in Beijing, who will be attending the Inner Circle I will be facilitating in Beijing next week. Tim used to be in media and for some years published a magazine. We talked this morning of the demise of the print industry, especially newspapers and magazines. We talked about what happens when we have fewer and fewer news organizations that can afford to continue their role of providing the public with first class journalism. In the past great journalists could be found in many places, in many publications, and their work was read by the masses.
In the future, with the demise of newspapers, Tim posits that "quality information will become the territory of the elite."
Hmmm. In other words, a small number of people--because they are both able and willing to pay a great deal for it--will continue to be informed by the world class journalists that remain. The rest of the public won't see this information because it will no longer be available to them.
I suppose our conversations of today about Anthony Weiner, or the latest celebrity gaffe, or the gossip about some politician's child out of wedlock, are harbingers of what is to come: very few conversations over dinner will be about the universally important news of the day. Because most won't hear about it. At least they won't have that news delivered to them by seasoned, objective, journalists who are great writers to boot.
Remember the old rule that great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about other people?