What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: How do we address it?

Tom Freston: Well I don’t know. I’m not a leader of a media company anymore, but I think the basic drift of your question is the . . . that sort of low hanging, irresistible, sensational fruit of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Given that people have so much time to consume things, the more they consume this sort of meaningless but somewhat pleasurable pap, how much does it exclude their ability to really better understand what’s going on . . . really going on in the world with serious issues? Are they gonna take up all their time as allocated towards absorption of whatever is coming through the media with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton? I mean yeah that’s an issue. And you know it’s very interesting. Back in the ‘70s in New York, all three of the local news shows . . . news networks, they used to contain on the local news a certain amount of international and national news. And it was really, I think, the introduction of FOX, and then the copying of that format where local news translated to fires, car chases, murders. That sort of more tabloidal news would actually be more successful on the ratings front than things more serious and thoughtful. And I guess it’s easy to understand. But then the pursuit of that, you know, and the snowballing of that, one could argue has dumbed down to some degree a certain proportion of the population, making them maybe a bit more susceptible to bad judgments by their leadership. I don’t know what the answer is. On the other hand, we are seeing to some degree the democratization of the media. So those fans of more serious world news . . . I mean there’s a lot of outlets where you can get that if you know where to look. You’ve got the PBSs. You’ve got, you know, various . . . all kinds of news sites online where more increasingly people do get their news. But I do believe there’s a gene in most people that they’re gonna gravitate towards that, you know, personality driven, sensational stuff. I mean a large part of the population finds it kind of irresistible. And I don’t know really what you do about it. I never really ran a news organization per se, so it’s nothing I’ve ever had to be really professionally very thoughtful about, so I just have opinions like everybody else. If anything I was involved in personality driven news from the kind of networks I work with. But there is a, you know, a decreasing, just say geography gap between people in our country and other countries. I mean I think a lot of people in America couldn’t tell you where a lot of countries of the world really are. Iraq, Iran, which one was which. You know if you don’t know that kind of basic information, it puts the republic in a fair degree of vulnerability.

Recorded On: 7/6/07

 

Tom Freston: Paris Hiltoniz...

Newsletter: Share: