Canceling O.J., YouTube Deemed Significant
Internet and TV journalism lines blurred this past year
The cancellation of Simpson's interview, in which he would have hypothetically detailed how he killed his wife, made enough of an impact to become one of the American Film Institutes eight moments of significance for 2006.
A 13-person jury selected these moments which may include accomplishments, trends, milestones, anniversaries, movements in technology and negative/positive influences on film, television and digital media.
Regarding the decision to not air the Simpson special, AFI states, "2006 marked a moment when what didn't air on television was as compelling as what did ... The cancellation showed that a moral standard still exists for television, albeit a limit that had to be pushed to an extreme to be of note. That it was self-regulated, however, and not legislated by the government, is cause to celebrate."
In another television standards arena, the networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX -- challenged the Federal Communications Commission ruling that cited several incidents of "indecent" language. AFI felt this was noteworthy since it brought free speech back to America and pushed the FCC to provide clearer and more consistent definitions of its terms of decency.
A third television moment of significance occurred when "The Colbert Report's" Stephen Colbert stayed in character to wryly roast President Bush at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. The tense and uncomfortable atmosphere made this moment of journalism a favorite on C-Span and later on the Internet, which introduced a younger generation to the midterm elections discussion.
In a similar vein, the rise of the Internet's YouTube.com became a cultural phenomenon in which the audience could interact by self-producing and -distributing content. Camera phone videos and home movies gained popularity, but also allowed the world to get in on political "broadcasts" such as George Allen's senatorial race-ending statement, calling a man of Indian descent "macaca." This site also became the portal for numerous viral videos, most recently "Saturday Night Live's" latest mock music video "D*** in a Box" by Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake.
AFI also noted the death of VHS cassettes, Clint Eastwood's release of "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima," the death of legendary director Robert Altman and the global power of documentaries.