Adam Curry: Mainstream Media Has Jumped The Shark

Jan 2nd, 2007 | By | Category: General

One of the creators of podcasting, Podshow’s Adam Curry, thinks that the controversial Saddam Hussein execution video represents a defining moment for Internet media, and a jump-the-shark moment for mainstream media:

“One last prediction as we close out 2006,” notes Curry. “The Saddam Hanging video will go down in history as the Shark Jump moment for mainstream media worldwide. The ‘people’ get what they want to see and no bureau chief or network boss can stop us. Recorded on a cellphone by a single citizen in Iraq, seen worldwide the very next day.”

13 Responses to “Adam Curry: Mainstream Media Has Jumped The Shark”

  1. […] Adam Curry sagte: ‚ÄúOne last prediction as we close out 2006,‚Äù notes Curr. ‚ÄúThe Saddam Hanging video will go down in history as the Shark Jump moment for mainstream media worldwide. The ‚Äòpeople‚Äô get what they want to see and no bureau chief or network boss can stop us. Recorded on a cellphone by a single citizen in Iraq, seen worldwide the very next day.‚Äù […]

  2. Murphy says:

    The phrase “bread and circuses” comes to mind. So does the phrase “amused to death.”

    And given Adam’s well-known skepticism about the moon landings (he can *say* he changed his mind – that doesn’t make it so), why does he take as he take as evidence of Saddam’s demise a single, very low-quality cellphone video?

    I don’t for a second believe, as Adam appears to, that alleged “citizen journalists” are inherently more reliable than his favorite straw men – mainstream media.

    As in *any* field that can be named, there are a number of people and organizations in “mainstream media” (I prefer the term journalism) whose association with truth is open to question.

    But to tar an entire profession, and thus cavalierly lump journalists of unquestioned integrity like Seymour Hirsch in with bottom feeders like Matt Drudge, is insulting to trained journalists who *do* work their asses off to tell the truth and get it out to the public.

    The nature of and the distribution of news is undergoing a change – that is quite plain – but I’ll read and weigh reports from mainstream journalists and make up my own mind (and it was ever thus for any thinking person), before I’ll wade through what are usually badly written, biased reports of questionable veracity from “citizen journalists.”

    You’re big on fair treatment, Adam: just because you’ve been pimp-slapped and treated badly by the bottom feeders, don’t turn around and apply the same yardstick to *all* journalists. C’mon – you’re better than that.

  3. He’s right you know.

  4. Eric says:


    As the son of a freelance journalist, I completely hear and understand what you’re saying. There’s a lot of validity to it. However, as someone who has also personally (tried) to work with corporate journalists in a teaching environment, and having seen their journalistic ethics put into practice, I can say that Adam Curry isn’t entirely wrong, either. The fact is, this is not the only instance of citizen journalism that has trumped mainstream media. It’s only the latest.

    And while we’re talking about poorly written articles, I have to ask if the editor here at Podcasting News is still hung over from New Year’s Eve. This is a horribly written and edited posting. C’mon guys! Let’s get some of those standards that so many are claiming the mainstream press doesn’t have and put them to work around here! Ok?

  5. Hey wait a minute. It looks like I’m not on Adam’s side. I was commenting on what Adam said and I agree with him. Sorry if it looked like I was replying to this guy’s comment above me.

    : )


  6. Murphy says:

    By “he,” Wichita, do you mean Adam or me?

    I should make it clear I believe Saddam *was* executed (my previous post might leave the impression I believe otherwise) ‚Äî I’m just calling into question Adam’s reliance on a single low-fi cellphone video to assert that a “citizen Journalist” somehow provided an invaluable service to humanity by recording, then disseminating that video.

    I notice the “citizen journalist” did not include any footage of the several minutes Saddam undoubtedly hung at the end of the rope, gasping and twitching before he passed out, and his bladder and sphincter let go after he asphyxiated.

    What about *that* part of the video “reality?” Did the “citizen journalist” fail to record those things? Did someone else in the dissemination trail get squeamish and cut them?

    C’mon … if it’s all about the unvarnished nature of “real,” then the public should be availed of *all* the reality, so they can see how barbaric capital punishment is in practice.

  7. info says:


    You caught us! Thanks for the feedback – we fixed the glaring typos.

    Murphy/Wichita – I’m not sure if I buy that mainstream media has really jumped the shark or if media is just going to have to get more base to compete with Internet snuff films and papparazzi photos of Britney Spear’s crotch.

    Events like this show that one person with a video camera is enough to be the news, and that there’s an audience that doesn’t want FCC babysitting.

  8. Murphy says:

    Sooooooo … will we reach the point where full democratization of the media will mean the lowest possible denominator is the rule?

    State sanctioned snuff films for the blood-thirsty masses, for instance?

    Oh … wait …

  9. Stephen Eley says:

    Curry has a persistent and flamboyant tendency to get caught up in whatever’s going on today and declare it the greatest thing since…well, since him. A short while later he’s forgotten about it. (Often leaving half-done Web sites to rot… But I’m spinning off on a tangent here.)

    The Saddam clip may be big news today, but it’s nothing more than a momentary, tasteless, and obvious jot in a much longer trend. Amateur video gets worldwide attention? Golly. That’s new. Please explain how this is different or more important than the Rodney King video. Or footage of the planes hitting the World Trade Center.

    Or the Pamela and Tommy Lee video. Hell, Adam should know about that one, even if he never heard of the other two.

  10. info says:


    Good points. I think that the immediacy of Internet video and its global nature may be new. The Rodney King video depended on mainstream media to distributed it, and it ended up causing riots in LA. With instant global distribution, Internet video has the potential to cause international incidents.

    With the Pamela & Tommy Lee video and other Internet sex videos, they didn’t spread as quickly either, because there wasn’t a YouTube of Google video yet.

    So while the Saddam clip may not be something entirely new, it is new in its immediacy and global reach.

  11. Leigh Hanlon says:

    What I found tiresome the other night was Anderson Cooper repeatedly assuring viewers that CNN’s elite squad of taste arbiters would carefully screen any video and decide whether it was appropriate before allowing all of us great unwashed to see it. While I agree that standards are a good idea, Cooper’s imperious tone and his implication that we should all sit back, relax and open our feeding tubes really left me cold. This mainstream media attitude helps fuel a lot of citizen journalism.

  12. Murphy says:

    My personal association with journalism comes from the newspaper world, and many, many people on the print side who I’ve known over the years have had a visceral loathing (which I share) for the sort of delivery and attitude that you describe coming from Anderson Cooper.

    So Leigh, I completely understand your distaste — gasbags like Cooper get where they are on TV by looking good and having a good speaking voice — and little else.

    I just wish someone would clone Seymour Hersh.

  13. Leigh Hanlon says:

    Murphy, for another example of print journalism’s contempt for stinking normal people, check out this twerpy little screed from Joel Stein. Too bad there’s no video — I’d love to watch him strut while seated. You might need to register with the Los Angeles Times to view this column — which is yet another way that newspapers just don’t get it.

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