In the bad old days, it took a lot of money and time to produce a 30-minute Right-wing documentary. Documentaries were filmed, which was costly.
Almost no one ever saw these documentaries. They had no impact. They were the Right-wing equivalent of the public school videos they used to show us on topics such as brushing our teeth. (For some wonderful examples of these tax-funded films, click here. I dare you. I triple-dog dare you.)
These days, YouTube lets dedicated ideologues produce documentaries three times longer. Maybe six times longer. Video makes it cheaper per minute to produce documentaries.
Then they are posted on YouTube. Maybe a million people will see one of them. Result? Nothing measurable. It has no impact.
They have no impact because they are produced by people with zero knowledge of direct-response marketing. Fools and their video budgets are soon parted.
This was posted recently on a GaryNorth.com forum with respect to a three-hour 9-11 conspiracy video:
I don’t like video references. What are we supposed to do give a video analysis? At least with concise and well written articles as on Lew Rockwell we can do a proper analysis of a written text. I grew up regarding videos as entertainment.
The person who posted this is on target.
SEEING MAY NOT BE BELIEVING
I have been writing on a professional basis since 1967. I have written many kinds of material, but in most cases, what I have written has always been designed to persuade people of something. I write to persuade. Therefore, I have to use rhetoric.
Anything worth changing your mind about is worth reading about. Anything so momentous that somebody would spend 1,000 hours or more to create a documentary had better have convincing proof outside of the video. Seeing can be believing, but it isn’t always successful. We have videos of planes crashing into the twin towers, and yet there are a lot of conspiracy buffs who do not think that the twin towers went down because of the planes crashing into them. They also think there were no pilots inside the planes.
Where did the bodies go? The people never returned.
If videos do not prove the case, then what should? That is why there is such a thing as irreducible complexity in life, including history. We cannot “get to the bottom of this.” The bottom is deeper than the historical record, which is incomplete. There were videos of 9-11. There is no agreement.
The #1 advantage of written communications is this: footnotes. Footnotes for centuries have been the key for historians to deal with historical facts and theories. Footnotes lead to more detailed arguments. They lead to specialized monographs and highly concentrated articles whose details overwhelm anybody but a nonspecialist. Footnotes enable you to verify the general summary of whatever it is the original author is arguing for.
When you see an article with no footnotes, you should regard it as simply an introduction to something. It is useful only in catching your attention sufficiently to persuade you to read something else. When you see a video that does not have a reference to a book, a website, a detailed article, or something that has further verification, don’t waste your time with the video, except for entertainment. You may get a brief overview of something, and this is legitimate. If the video is highly effective in terms of visual presentations, and if the video is not more than about 15 minutes long, then you can get a survey of the particular thesis. Your time is valuable. You want an introduction. You want the high spots. You want the strongest case you can get. That’s what a video is ideally suited to provide.
Here is the best informational video I have ever seen. It is less than two minutes long.
It is entertaining. It is short. It is brilliant. It does not call us to action. It immunizes us against the idea that politicians are serious about budget cuts.
A THREE-HOUR VIDEO
Anybody who produces a three-hour video but no book or website is wasting his time and mine. He does not know how to communicate. He does not know how to attract a large audience and keep 20% of it until the end. He does not know how to get disciples. He is not building a mailing list. He does not know about people’s lack of attention. He has wasted his time. He has wasted the time of the person who has donated the three hours necessary to start the video and finish it.
Any time you see that a video is longer than 20 minutes, scroll to the end. See what it calls you to do. If there is no action step at the end, skip the video. It is not serious. Do not waste your time.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)