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A Digression Into The Media

September 14, 2011 1 comment

If you believe that Obama has done something for you (rather than to you), you need to stop reading the Huffington Post, put your abstract thinking cap on for a second, and bear with me as I explain to you how you most likely got these ideas in your head.

Jokes aside, because I know everyone doesn’t read HuffPo and it is an easy target, everyone gets their news information from media source. The media influences your beliefs about the president has or has not done for you, and the media, just like the government, puts on a show that there are two sides to the story: the Liberal MSNBC/Huff Po/NY Times version and Fox News/Drudge Report/Wash. Post version. The reality is that what finds its way into your brain is a carefully curated selection of news bites, micronarratives, and memes specially designed for your consumption pleasure by the corporate interests that own the media. Media consumers self select towards which ever agenda they want to believe; this is why two “opposing” viewpoints are presented. By defining the news item agenda, and then defining the viewpoints of the two opposing sides, the corporate media is able to completely define the conversation. They marginalize stories or discussion that doesn’t serve the corporate-supported narrative’s continuity, and they are able to literally manufacture public opinion through the careful curation and circumscription of public information.

This doesn’t require a conspiracy to happen; the mechanisms that allow for it are as subtle as picking the right editor-in-chief of a newspaper, who has the power to kill a story or make sure it gets picked up by Reuters or the AP, and subsequentially into thousands of papers across the country. You don’t need to kill every story, just make sure that the skew is right, or that it’s buried on B6, or that it’s short and incomplete. Once consensus coalesces around the corporate interest’s supported narrative, it doesn’t even matter if the independent media picks up a “subversive” story, because it has already been marginalized and not enough people will believe it anyway for it to make a difference one way or another. The more that a story challenges the corp.-supp. Narrative (a.k.a. the consensus), the more outlandish it seems, the bigger a potential lie it becomes… and the less likely we are to take it seriously.

I know we would all like to think we have bulletproof brains that are impervious to such obvious chicanery, but these memes and ideas enter your brain as soon as you are exposed to them, whether you like it or not. Your own ideology acts on the information, giving you a firm impression of “what a load of shit that the GOP/Obama would do that”. This is true especially if you already say you support the Democrats or support the Republicans. Your ideology is there, even if you only vote to keep the other bastards out of office, and that ideology is what allows these memes to flourish, like bacteria in our brains.

The only way to rise above it is to trust no one, be 100% skeptical of the media and consider who is it that is most likely to benefit from the dissemination of such information, why they may want to disseminate it, and what the counter facts may be… and then as soon as you think you have something resembling a concrete opinion about the truth or meaning of a certain piece of media propagated information, reject it. There is no truth in the corporate media, only interpretations of events. You must adapt your mind not to think in binary dimensions of true/false, but rather in quantum field dimensions where all there are is probabilities and uncertainty, and you should exercise your mind by absorbing as many disparate interpretations as possible.

***Most of the ideas contained in this post are from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, which I recommend to everyone. It could quite possibly be the most important book you ever read on the media, and if you work in the media or critique the media, you are doing yourself a great disservice by having not read it.***

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Categories: Media