The Emmy awards “honor excellence in Advances in the Use, Creativity and Adaptation of technology that enhances or improves the consumer experience with media.”  Last Sunday, Current TV won.  In an acceptance speech on behalf of the network he founded, Al Gore said “We are trying to open up the television medium so viewers can help to make television…and reclaim democracy.”  Amen.

I certainly won’t argue the benefits of open television, but is Current the vehicle with which we might reclaim democracy?  Current has brought much attention to the new paradigm of TV distribution and, as far as I’m concerned, its programming is top-notch.  But many people think its boring, and Current is a profit-bearing entity that programs a carefully selected message.  Is that the bastion of democracy that Mr. Gore suggests?

To me, Current is one of many interesting applications of Internet-video, and it deserves credit for being the first to bring “user-generated” content to old TV.  It brings significant attention to the democratization of TV, but its played a minuscule role in this inevitable process.

Still, Current TV and Al Gore should be proud of their accomplishment in bringing a fresh voice to old TV and we congratulate their honor.  We hope they’ll continue to develop interesting applications and perspectives in this rising sea of expression.

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