Sunday, 16 May 2010

A thought on the media

Vladimir raises an interesting question here:

If you have PR and a parliament full of social democrats, then you are stuck with both, because the social democrats no longer need to win local support within each constituency. They just need the broad support of the population, and with their iron control of mass media this is never hard to arrange.

Now, I'm not convinced that there actually is an "iron control" of the mass media. It simply isn't necessary that there should be. And I think most journalists and editors and proprietors would be indignant that anyone questioned their independence. (Editors may not be entirely independent of their proprietors and journalists may not be entirely independent of their editors, but that's a different matter -- I'm talking about whether the Conservative or Labour Party "directs" the media one way or the other.)

What actually exists in the media is a complete lack of critical analysis of the underpinnings of our society. In other words, the media is filled to the brim with people who have bought in to the cozy consensus, completely.

There is a general acceptance that some form of social democracy is the way forward. While some people think that government should do things better or smarter or more, there is never any question that the government should do something. Anybody who does so is swiftly dismissed as a tin-foil-hatter or some other disparaging description.

Nobody really wants to think too hard about how you underpin society. And very few people like taking complete ownership of their lives, which is why social democracy is so popular.

It's all a question of perspective. To a hard-core Labour voter, Tory policies are awful. The slightest dent in the low of the fountain of state money is a pernicious evil. To a libertarian, there is such a minor difference between them that you might as well vote for one or the other by flipping a coin. A libertarian has a completely different frame of reference.

If you want to change that "Islington mindset", you need to keep challenging the foundations of those beliefs. Write to the papers, or the BBC or whoever, introducing small challenges to make readers think. Don't rant or rage (that's what blogs are for!) but just chip away at the foundation set of beliefs. If this happens in sufficient numbers, from a sufficiently large number of readers, we can maybe get newspapers to challenge their base assumptions.

And that's how that apparent "iron control of the media" will begin to crack.


filosofee said...

Good post Obnoxio, I'm encouraged to reply to Simon Hughes' email response to my enquiry re the new Liberal Tory government!

Dippyness. said...

I really don't believe the media has as much influence as they like to think. Although the hysteria over the "40" mins., WMD did start to make me wonder just how gullible the public are.
Good post.

Vladimir said...

Obo, you're right, it's more of a "consensus" than a Pravda-esque "iron control". And a consensus can be changed, so there is always hope.

Jill said...

Well, I buy the existence of the Islington mindset, but I also buy the propaganda model critique. So I think Vlad is talking shite. Ner.

sixtypoundsaweekcleaner said...

All we need is for the telly tax to be banned and for Aljabeeba to be available by subscription only. There'd be such a difference...which is probably why it'll never happen. Too much of a threat to the status quo. Darn it.

Weston Bay said...

Obo, I shall say this only once: that was a rather intelligent piece of writing.

Guthrum said...

In 1645 Parliament broke the Autocracy of Charles the First.

An all out assault on Parliament and Whitehall has to be carried out by those of us utterly opposed to the centralisation of power. Apart from National Defence and Foreign Affairs there is absolutely nothing that is done in Whitehall that cannot be done cheaper and more effectively by the Counties. The Commons should be reduced to 100 MP's who deal with Defence and Diplomacy.

I would love to see the Islington luvvies come to Bristol and tell us how to think and behave, if full powers were devolved here, ditto Norwich, Chester, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham.

In the 17th Century there was the Court Party and the Country Party in Parliament. In the intervening three hundred years the Court Party has re established itself. viz Millibandism, rich and divorced from reality.

Thomas said...

"I'll give you a hint. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."
Francisco d'Anconia to Dagny Taggart

While there is much wrong with Atlas Shrugged (it's style is derivative and it's content a little childish in it's agrandisement for "big men") Ayn Rand had it pegged on more than she didn't; this is one such area.

An example: yes some people are greedy - why does this always have to be a bad thing? Greed drives many of us to do great & productive things with what resources we have to acquire other resources we don't, enriching everyone.
Some people are lazy - again a bad thing? It can drive us to ideas which simplify mediocre and boring tasks leaving us to pursue more constructive ones.

We need to started challenging these base pillars of the righteous' model; combined with supporting all things expedient to more individual freedom (remember Fabian Libertarianism Obo?) and real change will come.

Remember: TINA

Tomrat said...

For the record I don't think anyone has suggested outright PR - I'd prefer STV withthe "+" component of "AV+", coupled with devolution of tax gathering powers to the devolved states, open primaries and recall, while your at it.