Monday, March 14, 2016

Can John Oliver Get Americans to Care About Encryption?

The Atlantic reports in, Can John Oliver Get Americans to Care About Encryption? about the research they did for their 18 min segment last night:

According to some of the people who were consulted for the show, John Oliver’s team spent weeks speaking to technology experts and advocates. They reached out to groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Open Technology Institute at New America Foundation, as well as independent experts like Matt Blaze, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who was featured in the episode.

Given Oliver’s conclusions, it wasn’t surprising that the technology community seemed very happy with how the episode turned out. ‘John Oliver and his team have a track record of distilling complex subjects into easy-to-understand and hilarious explainers, and their recent piece on encryption is no different,’ said Ross Schulman, the senior policy counsel at the Open Technology Institute. ‘It was a complete and accurate analysis of the many reasons backdoors in our devices are a horrible idea.’"

If a freaking comedy show can do this, why can't a real news show? Jon Stewart showed up real news shows by being able to pull up old clips highlighting hypocrisy within a day when no one else could. I've finally seen some news programs doing this with Trump, so that ability has propagated. Clearly 60 Minutes does extensive research, but why is it that even on 24 hours news networks there is just no time ever in a week to show anything of any depth. MSNBC has gutted their once good weekend morning shows to be political horserace coverage all the time (except for prison shows) so you can always here some mostly uninformed talking head talk about the meaning of the latest poll or extoll extemporaneously on the latest gaff.

While I wasn't a huge fan of Samantha Bee on The Daily Show, I love her new show Full Frontal which is weekly and seems to be somewhere between Jon Stewart's Daily Show and Oliver's show. Chris Hayes says he gets the question all the time from fans of when he was on (his old weekend show) Up about why (his current weeknight show) All In doesn't cover things in as much depth. He says it wouldn't be possible to do that in a daily format. It could be with more staff and I think MSNBC is currently wasting his demonstrated talent in such a format.

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