It sure isn't civic media - it's not giving the public anything like a direct and informed voice in defining and solving the world's financial woes - but CNBC videos are giving the public a powerful voice of sorts as the G20 summit prepares to open in London. We'll be seeing these videos all day long. We haven't seen videos like this since the 1999 WTO Protests in Seattle. These protests has a positive outcome: they helped empower underdeveloped nations worldwide to find alternatives to the counterproductive programs of the International Monetary Fund. On the other hand, these videos can backfire. Recall network TV coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots in Chicago and the resulting voter backlash against the "hippy" student protesters. This backlash plucked the presidency from the grasp of Hubert Humphrey and handed it to Richard Nixon. Recall also the riots in 110 American cities following the assassination of Rev. King.
Are street protests the best or only way for Americans to let off steam or outrage? Why aren't American media doing a better job of helping the American people think as a nation? That's what a true civic media can do.