Forty years later, some of the members of that generation are the cantankerous old barons of today's media establishment -- and they're now the ones that don't know what's happening. Take the political upheaval currently being generated by young people, mostly through the presidential run of Sen. Barack Obama.
Energetic, creative, passionate, idealistic, optimistic and determined, these youngsters are not merely involved -- they're winning! Ironically, these 18 to 29 year olds are the very group that media curmudgeons gripe about. "They don't read newspapers," grump the old editors. "They don't watch TV news shows," grouch network executives. "They don't care about politics," wail the political pros.
But suddenly... Boom! This supposedly "don't care" generation is engaged and taking charge -- on Super Tuesday, the under 30 vote doubled in Massachusetts, tripled in Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma, and quadrupled in Tennessee. Also, CNN's ratings among young folks jumped 232 percent during that big election week, and MSNBC's young-spirited news coverage drew a 400 percent increase in these viewers.
What's going on, Mr. Jones? It's really elementary. Young people have long cared, but politicians and the media have not cared about them. This year, as one 22-year-old put it, "The candidates, particularly Obama, are talking about things that relate to us." In other words, if the system actually reaches out in specific terms to invite youngsters in -- they will come.