From No More Fake News
- "Instead of scurrying into a corner and wailing about what media are doing to us, one should charge straight ahead and kick them in the electrodes." ~~ Marshall McLuhan, 1960.
For the past 35 years, I've been pointing out "flaws" in major media presentations of the news. Specific lies, specific omissions, specific strategies intended to keep the public from knowing the truth about a variety of life and death matters.
The word "media" comes from the Latin, meaning "middle." And "middle" suggests there are two ends. The media are between two ends. What are they?
Well, when you back up a few steps from The News, you see that elite anchors and their colleagues are interposed between EVENTS and THE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THESE EVENTS. The anchors and reporters are the eyes, ears, and mouths for the population. This, at best, is a highly precarious set-up.
Why would anyone in his right mind place blind faith in these newspeople? The answer is simple. No one who gives that faith is in his right mind. He has surrendered his mind.
Surrendered it to the need for authority. "You have to trust somebody." This is the rube and yokel factor. "The man behind the news desk looks good. He speaks well. He seems sure of himself. He represents a large successful organization. Therefore, he wouldn't lie. Truth is his job description. If he's lying, then what else about reality might be a lie? I'm not looking for a sinkhole to fall into. I want to keep my balance. The anchor helps me do that. I have to maintain a basic trust in my fellow man. It's part of my religion..."
Then there is a psychological need for The One. More-than-one takes a person into a realm of uncertainty, and who wants that? "You mean I have to choose? I have to make distinctions? Forget it. Give me Lester Holt. Give me the anchor who looks the cleanest. Give me the one friend above all others. I have the one God, so I want the one anchor."
But here's the trick. No one who places his blind faith in the one anchor wants to admit that this is what he's doing.
Instead, he might say, "Well, of course Lester is giving me the facts. What else would he be up to? Stop doubting. Stop all this conspiracy nonsense."
In other words, there are only two supposed territories. The first is bland neutral surety. It almost sounds like science. Then there is crazy Loonsville, where insane fantasies are floated. The correct choice is obvious. "Congratulations, you just made the right selection. You get a gold star in the sky."
In the second half of the 19th century, Western philosophers made a sharp turn. Instead of trying to describe ultimate reality (more and more, a losing proposition), they focused on the term "epistemology." The study of knowing. How do people know what they know? This led to all sorts of hypotheses about the brain, the eye, the five senses, and so on. The philosophers, as it emerged, missed the boat. How do people know? Through The News. That's how. Through substituting someone else for themselves. Voila.
And then the question became: who is that someone else going to be? Aha. Yes. The news networks were very interested in the question and the answer. "What will make the public choose our man? What does he need to look like? How does he need to speak? What can we do to make our man into a star?"
An effective series of strategies along that line, resulting in high ratings, opened yet another door: "Now that we have our one anchor, and now that the public has surrendered their minds to him, how can he present the news with thin surface and short circuits and tricks and lies and omissions, in order to serve our basic agenda?"
Because, face it, opting for truth, no matter where it led, no matter how deep it went, no matter who it EXPOSED, would leave the news networks naked, out in the rain, bereft of sponsors and begging for pennies on the street. It would cut them off from government and corporate sources of information. The networks weren't looking to EXPOSE, they were looking to COLLUDE.