The Sad State of “The Media”

from the memebrary, original source unknown

The term media originally referred to communication and information organizations that collected and conveyed and “stood between” the sources and the users of that information.  It actually began as an advertising term (“mass-media”) to gauge how many people were receiving these organizations’ information, and hence its advertising value. Advertisers were uninterested in broadsheets and other political publications which had the specific intent of rallying supporters to action.

There was a time when what we now call “the media” conveyed information, mostly for the elite castes, leisure classes, and wannabes, whose function was almost exclusively to satisfy curiosity. Nothing that required important action could possibly await the long time interval between the collection of “news” and its publication.

So you could read an interview with the Queen Mother, or reports about the Boer War. But there was no expectation that you were actually being informed to the point you could be expected to have a real understanding of what was being described, or “know” enough to opine on it intelligently. That was the work of historians and diplomats (remember when we had them?). If you were called up to serve in a war, you did so out of a sense of duty, trusting your government to know whether it was really necessary, and not because you were filled with righteous indignation about something you read in “the media”.

It was not possible, and not your responsibility, to really know what was going on in the world. You were, quite reasonably, not expected to be able to armchair quarterback a war’s tactics, formulate an informed moral position on something complex happening a half a world away, or assess the appropriate personal response to a global pandemic.

Those were the “good old days”. Since the advent of global wars, “the media” began to be used as propaganda agencies, and people reading them presumed to be sufficiently knowledgeable on subjects about which they had absolutely no personal experience, to express credible opinions on them. So now we have “media” reports that consist almost entirely of uninformed, second-hand opinions, based on utterly inadequate information, much of it propaganda (mis- and disinformation and the censoring of contrary information). This is passed off as “news” and “news analysis” when it is nothing of the sort.

And we now have something called “social media” in which this opinion and misinformation is endlessly and selectively parroted by people who know even less than journalists about the subjects they blather on and “add their two cents” about.

Meanwhile, as the advertisers who made up the term “mass media” (now reframed even more pejoratively as “mainstream media”) abandon these publications (their former customers preferring the more immediate and unintermediated adrenaline jolt of “social media” and disintermediated seller-to-buyer sources like Craigslist), the “mainstream media” are now mostly bankrupt, serving principally as scribes and stenos for governments and spooks who give them “free scoops” in return for their propaganda services. And with their constant massive layoffs and “consolidations”, the scribing work is now being done mostly by total novices sitting in their cubicles, naive and incompetent in the challenging and complex work that good journalists learn (learned) from real, front-line service.

No surprise, then, that no one wants to pay to “subscribe” to their useless and uninformed opinions, PR drivel, press releases and propagandized “scoops”, the only thing “the media” still have to offer.

The upshot of all that is that those media that are run by billionaire families, which don’t need to make money, now serve pretty much solely to feed the egos of their oligarchic owners. So once-earnest publications like The New Yorker and The Atlantic have degenerated into personal mouthpieces for the often-racist, caste-ist, classist, ignorant, condescending, fear- and hate-driven xenophobic rants of the families that own them, and their top-caste friends.

The result is especially ugly because what this leads to is a kind of co-dependence between (1) these sorry excuses for journalism, (2) the governments and “senior administrators” who rely on them to print their propaganda, (3) the top-caste zealots who run companies that still advertise their extravagantly expensive cars, clothes, resorts and jewellery in the magazine, and (4) the top-caste wannabes who are still buying the overpriced shlock advertised in the magazine and hobnobbing whenever they can with the other 3 groups to feed their fragile nouveau-riche (or nouveau-puissant) egos. Collectively, these are all members of what Aurélien calls the Professional-Managerial Caste (PMC).

They feed each other’s megalomania, paranoia, and sociopathy. They appear at each other’s events, from press galas to government dinners to presumptuous podcasts and vlogs to country club soirées. They surround each other with each other, and immerse themselves in groupthink. I’ve known quite a few of them, and their complete disconnection from the reality of most people’s everyday lives is absolutely mind-boggling. They live in their own separate world.

And in many cases, their simplistic, uninformed, righteous-indignation-fuelled perspective is also what most of us want to hear. We want the good guys to be quickly sorted out from the bad guys, and the issues simplified so there’s no moral complexity to have to navigate. So we can say “OK yes that’s how it is, I know what to believe, and so I have no further responsibility to learn or do more — whew”. So their co-dependency extends, all too often, to the rest of us as well.

And I know you’re tired of me saying this all the time, but none of this is insane, evil, deliberately dishonest behaviour. They are simply acting out their conditioning, what they’ve been conditioned since birth to do, to think, and to believe. Many of them are self-professed (if rather deluded) progressives. They include many people of colour, and members of long-suffering minority groups. They can’t help themselves.

Just like everyone else in the world, whatever our degrees of privilege, oppression, or deprivation.

I do tend to rant about “the media” a lot, perhaps because they’re such easy, pompous, noxious targets. But then I calm down and realize that they’re just acting their part, like all of us, in this increasingly-chaotic passion play called Civilizational Collapse.

We can try to improve our mental health and our disposition by turning them off, by simply not reading any more of their nonsense. But, when you get caught up in the relentless terror of accelerating collapse, you tend to want to know what most of the people in the world, some of whom will end up being part of the community on which you will have to rely, and whom you will have to support and even love, are believing as a result of “the media” that they, like us, increasingly despise, but are afraid to turn away from.

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