Evan Shapiro is worried that both leadership failures and failures to speak up are dooming the media and entertainment industry to a slow death from “short-terminalism.”
“Much of Big Media are now so focused on winning the next press release, theyʼve forgotten the ultimate importance of the final score,” Shapiro writes on his Substack.
And that is further complicated, he says, because of “[t]he white-knuckled addiction of our industryʼs leadership to the mythological belief in the infallibility of the Strong Man On Top has created a systemic chilling effect on our willingness to openly reconsider anything. Itʼs not just that many people are stuck in their ways, itʼs that so many in our community now fear even questioning those ways.”
Shapiro notes that it’s not that everyone is without insight. In fact, he credits much of his information about the state of M&E as originating “from disappointed, frustrated, intelligent, insightful people too afraid to tell their bosses what they actually think.”
But even more worrying for Shapiro is the industry’s “inability to even ask ourselves the right, hard questions.”
“I am frustrated and concerned by the complacency of so many in our ecosystem who call themselves experts,” Shapiro writes. “Trade writers who cut and paste their headlines from corporate press releases; analysts who color analysis with unspoken bias; subject matter authorities who rarely take the time, or risk, to actually question authority.”
He is also worried that many leaders are focused on a different aim: “to tamp down debate; to protect the status quo of the expert economy, and maintain longstanding confirmation bias, as to not upset the profitable, yet already teetering apple cart.”
To fix this, Shapiro writes, “There is nothing more important we can do for each other right now than continually question everything and anything, and let the facts pick the winners. But for this to happen, we all must take some risk, and put ourselves out there.”