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Why the News Media is stealing from the Pro Wrestling playbook | Eric Bischoff | TEDxNaperville

seriously I’m a little disappointed no
it’s not funny I flew all the way here
from Los Angeles it took me an entire
freaking day to get here and I get this
Pavlovian dog response because you feel
like you’re supposed to be polite well
that’s even worse no you guys this is
not funny
I am one of the most important people
you’re gonna see on this stage today and
by far the best-looking that’s not funny
know you want to come up here and take
me off the stage by all means jump I’ll
wait Naperville I heard ours are talking
about what a great town business this
town sucks the only people that think
Naperville is a great town are people
that have never been anywhere else that
is sure it’s a great town no problem I
think the town sucks in this building
Arthur called me and he said Eric we’ve
got this great venue you’re gonna love
the look of it are you kidding me
Salvation Army not available maybe I
played in bigger buildings and nicer
I see what you you can wipe that look
off your face lady cuz I know what
you’re thinking I’m busy tonight
forget about it alright I’m glad this
part is over
I really really am now I gotta be honest
I’ve been doing this for a long time
I told Arthur earlier when I told him
what I wanted to do I wanted to give me
a heads up so he didn’t send security
out here and drag me off the stage
not that that hasn’t happened before
either but I didn’t really I wanted to
give him a heads up and I told him what
I was gonna do and I said you know he
said are you comfortable doing it I said
well I’m really comfortable making
people hate me I’ve just never done it
in an environment like this before so
here we are now I don’t want to ask you
a question though out of out of all of
you in this room is there anybody here
and be honest is there anybody here that
wanted to see security come and drag me
it’s got like a golf swing riding a bike
once you figure it out it’s hard to it’s
hard to lose it but had I continued and
gone further in trying to make you all
hate me until the point where somebody
actually did come out from the back and
drag me backstage and maybe have me
arrested and spend the night and
neighbor Jim Naperville slightest jail
if I would have done that then the very
next person that would have come out
here would have more than likely gotten
a standing ovation and that means I
would have done my job because if Arthur
would have called me up four or five
months ago when he did and said look
Eric we’ve met this thing called TED
talk it’s a lot of fun it’s great
opportunity you know some really smart
people you’ll hear ideas you’ll gain
experience but I don’t want to do
the way we normally do it see what I
want to do Eric is I want to format my
TEDx Naperville show or event to be like
a professional wrestling event I don’t
want people to think I want people to
feel hmm I would have been right up my
alley because that’s what I do at least
that’s what I’ve done for the last
thirty years about 2006 I wrote a book
came out I think we made New York Times
bestseller list for about I don’t know
45 minutes we barely made it at number
16 but we made it it sure as hell sounds
great when I do something like this and
I can talk about being on the New York
Times bestseller list
I don’t always tell people that only
lasted for about 45 minutes but I
thought I’d share that with you the book
really followed my journey and what I
learned in 30 years of being in the
professional wrestling industry people
don’t realize just how enduring
professional wrestling is in our culture
one of the first people I ever worked
for Verne Gagne now anybody in this room
that’s over 45 or 50 years old may
remember Verne Agana Verne was a
professional wrestling promoter based
out of Minneapolis he hired me for what
reason I have no idea but he did and
Verne used to promote a lot here in
Chicago he had wrestles like dick the
bruiser Nick Bockwinkel Ray Stevens and
the crusher and he was a big fixture
here they had rustling matches at
Wrigley Field for crying out loud and
rustling has been around for a long long
time in fact when it comes to content
and the content that we’ve all become
familiar with throughout our lives
professional wrestling and news are the
two most enduring for enduring forms of
content that there are and before the
night is over I’m gonna try to convince
you that they’re far more similar than
you think
now one of the things I learned working
for Vern was in fact it was one of the
first things he taught me I remember
because for a long time Vern didn’t want
me anywhere near the kind of the back
door professional wrestling the
backstage area that was off-limits it
was a secret it was kind of like
magicians they like to keep their
secrets so he didn’t share a lot of
things with me but one of the things he
did share with me as I started producing
for him was that when it comes to the
audience it doesn’t really matter if
they love a wrestler or hate them as
long as they feel passionately one way
or the other business would be good once
you remember that as long as the
audience feels passionately one way or
the other business would be good now one
of the things I talked about in the book
is professional wrestling in fact right
here in Chicago is one of the first
weekly Network television shows back in
the 1950s in the beginning of the
television age and it went from there to
being the number one local television
show long before cable came around in
any city in the United States
professional wrestling was the number
one most watched form of content in any
given market cable television came along
sometime in the 70s 80s whenever it was
professional wrestling became and still
is to this day the most watched form of
entertainment every single week on cable
television the digital age which is only
a few years old the WWE has 25 million
fans around the world
25 million fans they have a market cap
of six billion dollars and they trade on
the New York Stock Exchange for right
around seventy five seventy eight
dollars depending on the day how did it
get so big how did professional
wrestling become such a big part of our
culture it’s simple they don’t make you
it’s not like a TED talk they make you
feel okay what does that have to do with
the news media that we see today what is
with the news today all of us are
exposed to it right I mean most of us if
you’re like me at least I’m kind of
addicted to it but I try as hard as I
can not to watch it because it upsets me
and it was until after I got out of the
wrestling business and I retired then I
realized that the news media and
professional wrestling used much the
same formula in politicians as well they
don’t want you to think they want you to
feel and as long as you feel
passionately one way or the other
business is good and right now business
is very very good for the news media
that covers politics because of that and
what happened it never used to be that
way now I’m 63 years old I’ve been
around for a little while and I’ve
always been interested in current events
as I got older politics and I don’t
recall seeing it as bad as it is today
at least the news media back in the 60s
or 70s in the 80s at least they tried to
pretend that they were objective they
tried to pretend at least and then most
of them did a great job they tried to
pretend at least that there was a in
integrity with in journalism and lines
they wouldn’t cross things they wouldn’t
do they would report both sides of the
stories and let the audience or the
reader decide how they felt about a
given issue or personality or politician
but that’s gone and why is that why did
that happen it seems to me at least then
it’s it’s really just begun happening
over the last ten years eight years is
when it’s gotten really bad where what
you’re watching on television isn’t so
much informing you and making you think
it’s making you feel and pissing you off
more often than not
because that’s what they want to do it’s
called cheap heat in a wrestling
business it’s easy just like me coming
out here and making fun of people when
writing this gentleman to come up here
and try to drag me off the stage if he
was man enough that type of thing that’s
called cheap heat it’s easy to get
people to react to that kind of thing
a lot easier to get them to react to
that then asking them to think so that’s
what they do when cable television
camera I work for Ted Turner by the way
for about seven years one of the best
times of my life Ted Turner watch CNN at
that time first cable news out 24 hours
international news that was Ted’s vision
Ted believed he could bring the world
closer together as a result of that but
here’s what happened Fox TV followed him
MSNBC followed the business model and
what they realized is it’s a hell of a
lot cheaper to put three or four Talking
Heads in the studio talking about the
news and giving opinions about the news
than it is going out and actually
reporting it so now what we see across
the boards and this is a bipartisan
problem this is a media issue this isn’t
a one party or the other issue because
they’re all guilty of it so now what you
see when you’re looking for information
our talking heads arguing no matter what
it is they’re gonna find a way to argue
about it and if they don’t have
something to argue about they’re gonna
reach it a little bag of tricks they’re
gonna pull out a poll because there’s no
polls now that there are anything else
there’s a poll there’s a new poll every
day and it will tell you whatever you
want it to tell you it falls into the
Liars you know numbers can lie and Liars
use numbers that’s a poll because those
polls provide talking points for the
agenda of any any particular network
give somebody something to argue about
it’s kind of crazy when you think about
what if I told you and I mean is
sincerely what if I told you right now
that there is a very good chance many of
you in this room will vote for
professional wrestler to be the next
Donald Trump Donald Trump is in the WWE
Hall of Fame let that sink in now he’s
an upper he wasn’t a professional
wrestler but again when we’re talking
about the power of media and how it
makes you feel instead of how it makes
you think just recognize that not only
is the current President of the United
States in the WWE Hall of Fame his
member of his cabinet
Linda McMahon the former CEO of WWE and
a member of president Trump’s cabinet
who heads up the Small Business
Administration she’s right there with
him it’s not that far-fetched just think
about that now my goal here wasn’t
really to educate you about professional
wrestling although I’ll talk your ear
off later on over a cocktail if you’d
like to after the show but my goal here
is that hopefully the next time you’re
watching the news and you find yourself
getting angry about what you see that
you realize that that’s exactly the way
they want you to feel they don’t want
you to think they want you to feel just
like Verne Gagne did just like Vince
McMahon did just like I did for 30 years
and like I did when I first came out
here and challenged this gentleman to
jump on stage and
yeah was it trying to make them think
trying to make them feel and if we
recognize that we’re inundated daily
with information designed not to make us
think but make us feel once you’ve
recognized it’s a little bit like an
alcoholic or a drug addict you can’t fix
it too you know you’ve got the problem
and you’re willing to admit it and I’m
asking you know I asked myself I do this
to myself every single day I get up out
of bed I have a cup of coffee I take my
dog for a hike I’ve got a great talk by
the way her name is Nikki I wish she
could be here but after I’m done hiking
with my dog I sit down and I catch up on
what’s going on you know in the news for
the day and I remind myself before I
turn on the television to not let them
make me angry because the minute you get
angry you quit thinking the minute all
of your energy is focused on what you
feel you stop thinking and by the way if
I’m right and you all do vote for a
former professional wrestler to become
the next president of the United States
it might just be history repeating
itself and it might not be all that bad
because believe it or not Abraham
Lincoln one of this country’s greatest
presidents was at one time before he
came became a lawyer a professional
wrestler it can happen thank you all very much
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