Audio of Al Gore's speech is now available in full on PaidContent.
UPDATE: transcript is here.
A few notes from what he said:
* It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. Something has gone badly wrong in the way america's fabled marketplace of ideas is now functioning. "Serial obsessions" take over our airwaves for weeks at a time.
*If the rich-poor gap is widening why is our apathy as citizens also widening?
* The Senate was silent on the eve of war with Iraq because what people say on the Senate floor no longer counts - all were out fundraising to pay for tv commercials
* KEY POINT: The marketplace of ideas effectively no longer exists in this country. It is the destruction of the marketplace of ideas that accounts for the strangeness of america's present public discourse.
* SELF-GOVERNMENT: requres rule of reason undergirded and strengthened the rule of law. The American people need to be able to exercise reasoned collective judgments. Our current media universe no longer enables that. The absence of 2-way conversation means theres absence of marketplace of ideas.
* He cites a media study in which the U.S. was found to have the 27th freest press in the world.
*The subjugation of news by entertaiment seriously harms democracy. When people are not informed they cannot hold government accountable.
* As long as the only means of engaging in serious political dialogue is through the purchase of tv advertising, most Americans will be excluded from the conversation. The pervasive advertising environment has warped our democracy.
*Current TV: (Al Gore's new venture): is reaching out to individuals and asking them to co-create programming. The purpose is more and better informing of the american public: "Viewer created content."
*As exciting as the internet is, it still lacks the most basic component to be a truly successful mass medium. The internet still does not support the realtime mass distribution of full-motion video. Full-motion video is what makes TV such a powerful medium.
(That's true. When I worked for CNN, it was always the images that people remembered. They rarely remembered what I actually said.)
CONCLUSION: We must ensure that the internet will be open and accessible to all people without any limitation. We cannot take this future for granted. Some of the same forces of consolidation and control who consolidated the television market place are trying to do the same thing with internet access.