Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mainstream reinforcers

From a comment by Helen & Harry at Unknown News about an alleged attempt to censor a story about a very relevant scandal involving the similarities of stock touting and political manipulation (although in fact the details of the scandal may be bogus; as I’ve noted before, Mother Jones is a highly questionable source):

“I've always hesitated to say the following 'cuz it'll sound like sour grapes, but today, let's say it:

There certainly are occasional newsworthy nuggets that surface at ‘big league blogs’ like Daily Kos, but just in general, the fame and popularity of some of the giant blogs – Daily Kos,  AmericaBlog,  Atrios at Eschaton,  MyDD,   etc. – has always seemed exponentially out of proportion to how worthwhile they are. Or how worthwhile they aren't.”

So true.  In fact, the only one of the blogs that I call ‘Democrat camp followers’ that is of any real interest is Talking Points Memo, but you still have to wade through an enormous pile of partisan crap to find anything worth reading.  Both the mainstream media, and the mainstream bloggers, have the same purpose, which is to reflect and reinforce the prejudices of the elites in their audience.  Juan Cole wrote (emphasis in red):

Jebediah Reed at Radar Magazine makes the point that pundits who were wrong about the Iraq War have been well rewarded, whereas those like Bob Scheer and others who warned about its dangers have been fired or marginalized even though they were right.

This is because punditry is not about being right or wrong or exhibiting good judgment. It is about producing and reproducing elite American political discourse for the masses. It is more important that they can continue to justify changing elite policy than that they supported past policies that didn't work out very well. All the real reporters I know at all well are deeply unhappy at their workplaces, where they typically have wealthy far rightwing bosses who interfere from time to time in the newspaper or magazine and make the reporter's life hell. That is why it is unfair (as I have been reminded when I fall into it) to criticize reporters for where they work. Good reporters work for the Washington Times or UPI, i.e. for the Rev. Moon. But ultimately it is the Rev. Moon who decides who gets to be pundits for his media outlets. Apparently almost everyone in the news business is in pretty much the same position.”

I’m not so sure they care about the ‘masses’, but the mass acceptance of the lies is a welcome side effect (reflected in the fact that soldiers in Iraq claimed they were there to avenge September 11).  The real point of much of the mainstream chatter appears to be to justify the decisions already made by the government (we tend to forget that hardly anyone except the elites actually watches most of the shows that are the subject of so much discussion).  The repetition of the justness and good sense of the decisions already made seems to be some kind of psychological counseling for elites who may not be feeling entirely comfortable (this is particularly true when the decisions were stupid ones made as a result of a Zionist conspiracy, as we have recently seen in American decisions concerning the Middle East).  The media – controlled by you-know-who – creates a phony consensus.  Having every talking head, every ‘expert’, comment positively on the decisions makes everybody feel better about them. 

I can detect no difference between the mainstream media and the mainstream bloggers.  Both exist to make their important consumers feel comfortable about their decisions and prejudices.  Truth only appears as an occasional by-product, or by accident.