LAST TUESDAY, Trinidadians realised for the first time how dramatic and powerful a medium television is. The picture of the riot as relayed from the Oval was graphic enough to ensure that this was one event that could be discussed on the evidence of the eyes and not on a "dem say" basis.
As a result the Oval fiasco has been the talking point of not only the 50,000 who crammed into the Oval but the thousands who saw the action via television. So that it didn't take long for people to make their judgments and in the taxis and on the blocks condemnation for the administrative negligence and police disorder was loud and clear.
That television played such a useful role in this area has nothing to do with the initiative of TTT, of course. The crew happened to be there to cover the match and not even a novice to television journalism would have missed that event.
But the technical coverage was so good that one simply has to goad the television decision-makers into seeing that they are wasting a medium by using it to show junk. The ready answer from TTT, of course, is that they are showing what people want to see.
The truth is that television is a relatively new medium here and people have no idea of what it is possible for them to see.
In a country that thrives on sport controversy, it is scandalous that medium is not used more to cover sport. Why, for instance, aren't clashes like Maple-Malvern, Paragon-Regiment and others that have a wide public appeal not televised? Why wasn't the Village Olympics match between Morvant and Tunapuna on the screen?
To say that it is too costly is not a satisfactory answer. TTT has been making profits over the eyars and if television cannot be made to serve the real likes of the community then where are we going.
Because the corollary to the cost argument is that the only way TTT can make money is by showing canned stuff ad nauseam the Lord forbid!
Not that TTT shows any degree of sensitivity in its selection of canned stuff either. If they did, then Tom Jones would not have been peddled week after week to a population that simply is not interested in Tom Jones and who, certainly, doesn't rank in the top 20 of their favourite entertainers.
And again, how does one explain TTT's insistence that the public be show films of English football and not that of Brazil. Certainly we would prefer to see Pele and Tostao and Revellino instead of Best, Ball and Banks.
The English are first class footballers, but Brazil are the champions of the world. And too many people have been saying that our football temperament is more akin to the Brazilians for us to spend our Sundays looking at the English teams alone.
TTT with its coverage of the Olympics and its coverage of the riot have set people thinking. Either the bosses must make it a serious medium or the people will. We certainly cannot let it go to waste.