The Revolt of the Media

Way back in the olden thymes, “the media” was the local newspaper, news radio and the evening news on the television. My father would read the paper every evening after dinner, while my mother would watch the evening news. Once in a while my mother would put on the radio and listen to the news channel, but that was rare. If the people in charge wanted to get the attention of the peasants, they had to do it in those small windows when people paid any attention to the news.

We live in a different age, but it is a very new age. We are saturated with media. Young people have no frame of reference so they just assume it has always been thus, but our modern mass media culture is one of those rare things that is truly new. It really was not so long ago when it was easy to be entirely uninformed about the world. It took great effort to be well informed. That’s not to say we are all worldly cosmopolitans, but the world is literally at our fingertips. More important, media is everywhere and it hard to escape it.

This newness means that the people in charge have struggled to put it to their uses. Buying off a few newspaper publishers was easy. Controlling the three TV networks required hardly any effort at all. A free wheeling mass media with millions of bloggers, podcasters and small outlets is a different task. Rounding up the farm’s bull is a hard job, but rounding up all the barn cats is actually much tougher. The former can get you killed, but the latter has a maddening number of variables.

When the masses started to get on-line, the “media experts” said it was ushering in an era of wonderfulness because the people would now have a say. The news would be interactive! It was not that long ago when every Progressive commentator went on and on about the wonderfulness of interactive media. I used to laugh at it as I was on-line long before the media airheads had heard of the internet. I knew those hothouse flowers would not last very long in the rough and tumble world of the internet, but like missionaries headed off to the the jungle, they were sure it was going to be great

I was thinking about that yesterday when National Review announced they had been taken over by Facebook. Like a lot of these sites, they learned the hard way that their audience was not going to just nod along and clap when instructed. Instead, they posted articles and the comments filled up with ridicule and criticism. That led to lots of comments from NR writers about the awfulness of the comment threads. Now that millennial pansies are in charge, they have turned it over to Facebook to police their comments.

It turns out that popular opinion is not all that popular with the people in the media. All over, news and opinion sites are clamping down on comments. They are heavily policed or they are shut down entirely. Twitter has allowed a band of angry lesbians to take over the moderation duties. Reddit hired Chinese grifter Ellen Pao to chase off the bad thinkers. Faceberg, of course, is run by howling lunatics, who ban people for any deviation from the orthodoxy. The media is slowly shutting down public comment in a rather deliberate effort to shut down dissent.

This started a couple of years ago, but the process has been accelerating. The claim from the media is the comment sections are revolting. Coincidentally, it is happening just when the public is revolting. It also coincides with a sudden solidarity among the media. They no longer seem to be divided along ideological lines. Now, they are quite unified. Read National Review, for example, and you could be forgiven for thinking it is New York Magazine or Salon. Glenn Beck, once the scourge of the Left, is now getting a sex change and supporting Clinton.

It’s one of those things you can read different ways. It could be real fear on the part of media over what’s coming their way through the comment sections. This is the sort of thing we associate with reactionaries facing a revolution. The people in charge try to suppress dissent so they can win the public relations campaign. If only one side can speak and they are holding a megaphone, enough people will be swayed to back the regime so that the revolt losses steam. That’s the theory, anyway.

On the other hand, the Cloud People speak a slightly different language than the rest of us. It’s why a crime story using the phrase “Minnesota man” means the man was not from Minnesota or even North America. In the language of the Cloud, interactive may have meant that they yell at you and you obey. These are people who truly believe they are called by the blank spot where God once existed to lead the Dirt People in the right direction. Ask any of them why they chose their career and they say, “I wanted to make a difference.”

There’s also the possibility that the people in media are just very stupid. Spend any time on an elite college campus and it is not hard to figure out that they select for things other than raw IQ. The kids that end up in the soft majors are not selected because they pegged the math portion of their SAT. Way back in the stone age, I was in college with a couple of rich kids who were as dumb as goldfish. But, family money is worth two SD’s on the entrance exams so they were accepted and put into sociology and psychology respectively.

My sense is that the Cloud People are beginning to master the new media tools. Oddly, the lesson they are learning is the lesson the Nazis learned. People naturally follow the herd. Put the herd into a big arena, pump in some emotional content and the herd goes where you tell it. Go to a Dallas Cowboy game and watch the buildup. It’s easy to see what happened in Germany.The 20 minutes before the game is a Nuremberg rally. Even if you’re not from Texas, you want to put on a cowboy hat, pull on your boots and defend the Alamo.

We are social animals that look to one another for guidance and acceptance. Unleashing click farms to promote the Cloud People narrative, while demoting the critics, gets the herd moving in the right direction. It also keeps the people holding the megaphones in high spirits. By having only cheering crowds in their line of sight, they truly feel they are making a difference and therefore redouble their efforts for the cause. That’s the weird thing about propaganda. It’s often more effective on the sender than the receiver.

All of this is fine if your ideal society is one where the bulk of the people are treated like cattle. That’s certainly the way our world has shaped up so far in the mass media age. The “big data” guys start from the assumption that we’re all in the hive. following orders from the queen via subtle signalling and nudging. Alter the composition of the signals and you alter society. The drones have no agency of their own. That’s the theory and maybe they are right. The great success of central planning suggest they may be onto something.

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81 Comments on "The Revolt of the Media"

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John
Guest

It’s a very interesting dynamic that’s been set up, where the ability to “red pill” yourself completely and thoroughly is no more than a few clicks away at all times. Yet the vast majority chose to keep themselves shrouded in the artificial reality of the establishment narrative. Meanwhile the cognitive dissonance experience by those folks continues to ramp up. Can’t help but feel for them…though it’s a self impose suffering (aren’t they all).

Member

Nice bit of sarcasm at the end. Have you ever looked at the intellectus /ratio dichotomy of mind in philosophy, or did you come up with the cloud/dirt thing totally on your own?

Member

I wasn’t trying to be funny here. Central planning may be successful at accruing power and consolidating companies within certain parameters, but it is uniformly fatal for economies in the long run. And the dichotomy I mentioned is a real thing and fits in with your own thinking. I’ll admit it’s an obscure topic because it is nigh impossible to discuss non-analytical thinking in conventional terms (things that don’t lend themselves to analysis get ignored), but it goes right to the heart of the Plato-Aristotle division in philosophy.

Crispin
Guest

So does this mean the Cloud people are still pushing the pendulum farther out? Or are they desperately trying to prevent it from swinging back?

SgtBob
Guest

Things that are measurable can be controlled. Social sciences teach all things are measurable. Therefore, all things can be controlled by the ones who develop and understand tests, studies and polls.

UKer
Guest
You cited “Minnesota Man” and we had the same in the UK the other day. A muslim, born in Somali but levered into Norwegian society and thus given a passport, stabbed an American woman to death in London. Immediately the BBC, which is desperate to deny any terrorism anywhere (except by potential neo-Nazis, even if they don’t exist), described the perp not only as ‘Norwegian’ but informed us all he was ‘mentally ill.’ (In turn thus making the case for the defence in any trial) The reaction from the people of this country, at least those not bludgeoned already by… Read more »
Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

@ UKer – Germany has the same issue with identifying criminals by ethnicity or background. Anyone with a German passport is German. Period. Unlike Americans, we don’t have a hyphenated demographic. It’s why the American media identifies African-Americans or Mexican-Americans but Germany doesn’t have African-Germans or Russian-Germans.

JohnTyler
Guest

Karl;
Do 47% of Germans still support Merkel (as recent polls suggest)?
If so, this is unbelievable and really scary, for it demonstrates that the people will basically accept anything.

I am not picking on Germans; Yanks, Brits, French, Swedes, Norwegs, etc., seem to accept what is foisted upon them by the left liberal progressive elites.
This is very troubling.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
@ JT – Yes, that number is about right. If you round up, that means every other citizen is not happy with her. Basically two-thirds of German citizens are no-satisfied with Merkel’s asylum and refugee policy. So from those statistics, and others I have read, her favorable position continues to drop due to her refugee policy more than anything else. I think the turning point will be how she deals with Turkey. This will be critical for her political future and that of her party if she gives in to Turkey especially after they demanded 78 million Turkish citizens should… Read more »
UKer
Guest

Karl, as our German correspondent (I bet that was a title you didn’t think you’d be handed here, hehe) I would welcome your thoughts on — so I am led to believe — the story that the German authorities are about to prosecute a man who had the temerity to shout at a terrorist murderer. Of course, the media here may have got that arse-over-tit as we say in these islands, but I look forward to your view.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

@ UKer – Do you have a link? I am not familiar with this story.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

@ UKer – I just read about it. Interesting. Will look into it.

J Clivas
Guest

One can be BOTH Moslem AND mentally disturbed, right?

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest

@ J Clivas – I believe the correct English word for comparing Muslim and mentally disturbed is “synonymous”.

LetsPlay
Member

Do not forget to include “liberal” in that equation!

Dr. Mabuse
Guest
Same thing happening here in Ottawa, Canada. Somali male caused a disturbance in a coffee shop, police were called, altercation results, guy dies. Immediate BLM-style outcry, with reports that the guy was “mentally ill”. (They even claimed that he was “autistic” for one day, to gain sympathy. Dropped that in a hurry, which told me that the whole story was shot through with lies.) The bigger story was that Abdi was assaulting women at the coffee shop, men there drove him out and tried to hold him until the police came; “mentally ill” means unemployed and already busted up with… Read more »
JohnTyler
Guest
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” ― Joseph Goebbels We have today in the USA the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever witnessed. Silicon Valley (social media), the mainstream media and Wall Street are all in the tank for maintaining the liberal progressive elites in power and they have the wherewithal and the will to do this. They are doing this. Goebbels must be spinning in his grave with envy; he could only dream of such of convergence of money, talent and technology (OK, he could never have imagined the tech… Read more »
RobM
Member
The propagandists are in a pickle. They can fake everything, but I think, just like the Wizard of Oz, you can pull all the levers for just so long…. until the little dog unveils you. Or the often referred to Emperor parable. To your point, I don’t see them as doing their propaganda properly. We’re witnessing the most spastic attempts and ham-handed attempts at propaganda. The talking heads have to keep the plates spinning. It’s always worked ,…. but the stresses are showing. They still may pull it all off , as they tear Trump everyday, but too, a lot… Read more »
Drake
Guest

Twenty years ago or so I used to actually pay for a National Review subscription because conservative opinion was hard to come by. I swear they have made a concerted effort to move me from regular reader, to occasional reader who ridicules the writers in the comments, to where we just arrived at – never visiting their site again.

I’m not ever going to sign up for facebook. And I’m never going to bother reading an NRO article again if I can’t insult the douche who wrote it.

Uncola
Guest
I tend to believe the “highest of the high” cloud people know exactly what they want and how to get there. The political establishment and mainstream media, however, represent the” middle cloud” folks stumbling around in the fog of their own survival instincts. Greed is how they obtain what they want. Fear is why they rally around what they do NOT want. Indeed, those of the “middle clouds” are guided by greed and fear and this is how the “highest of the high” shape those below them. The Hegelian Dialectic is how Orwell’s vision of a jackboot stomping upon the… Read more »
meema
Member

Unfortunately I do not think you are far off. 🙁

meema
Member
There’s always the transitional stage as civilization morphs where the old timers still cling to the way it used to be. Eventually when those die off the history is relegated to dusty volumes never opened. We seem to be speeding up though. I have a 35 year old friend who didn’t know what an 8 track was. I’m an old timer who recalls that journalism was once a noble profession. When my generation is gone, there will be no recollection of anything but news as entertainment and a vehicle for selling products. Then the illusion of news as being unbiased… Read more »
Gary
Guest
Symbolism was what I had in mind too so I think I’m understanding your meaning. Keep in mind that this election is happening as the economy is losing its legs. People will go to great lengths for the opportunity to dance around as jesters to appease the court and that means feigning lots of emotion over matters that are mostly trivial. Anyway, with all the nonsense of the mass media age, there is the benefit of being able to seek out the other bad thinkers just as easily. Albeit more quietly and with more tip-toeing around. I’ve been reading your… Read more »
UKer
Guest
“the opportunity to dance around as jesters” Nice line, Gary. well done. By the way, purely as an aside (though it does touch on the media, as I suppose most things must these days) I do wonder, once Obumble has gone, how many of his present toadies, fans and backers in the media will even think about him and his great works. My impression, flawed as it must be by age and distance, is that the impression he will leave on life will be in exactly the same way that a hole remains when one takes one’s hand out of… Read more »
Jarhead
Guest
ZMan, I am a lurker. I follow your blog daily. I am always impressed with your thoughts, and also with your commentators thoughts. As my moniker states, I am a former Marine, also a Police Officer from Maryland. I am currently a fisheries biologist from a state agency. Boy, if that’s not a change in venues, I don’t know what is. I have a feeling you are from the great state of Maryland ( if so we chewed the same ground). I honestly believe, that right now the dirt people/ middle class cloud people are pretty pissed off. The media,… Read more »
Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
@ Jarhead – Thank you for your comments. I must agree Germans and Americans approach problems very differently. Not good or bad – just different. Having worked with Americans for a number of years, it’s always interesting to observe over the course of my engineering career how Americans tend to jump in and sort things out, making things up as they go. Germans on the other hand tend to discuss, debate and arrive at a conclusion to a problem before taking action. Both styles have their pros and cons, but ultimately we arrive at a successful conclusion. Americans value the… Read more »
El Polacko
Guest
In a past career, I had extensive experience with tending to the entitled snots that make up today’s chattering classes. Almost to a man or woman, they are the offspring of well to do, upper middle class parents who could afford to shell out $40-$60K a year to send them to places like the Columbia or Northwestern “J” Schools. The parents would then continue the stipend once their precious snowflakes found nothing but unpaid internships waiting for them in the real world where a baccalaureate degree in Journalism generates the lowest ROI of any career that requires such a credential.… Read more »
Kathleen
Guest
“It really was not so long ago when it was easy to be entirely uninformed about the world”. I had a good laugh over that one, Z. Because it is just as easy today to be entirely uninformed about the world. We are drowning in information, opinion, advertisement, and propaganda. And yet, people seem “stoopider” than ever. At some point, the brain starts filtering in a serious way. What to choose, what to choose….When it’s intellectual work to know what’s going on (for real) in the world, and all that constant entertainment and disinformation is literally in your face all… Read more »
Camacho 2016
Guest

“Glenn Beck is having a sex change”

…so he’s becoming a “man” now? Should we call him Caitlyn?

John
Guest

The biggest mistake that InstaPundit made was dropping their homebrew commenting system and taking on Disqus. They lost the (sometimes miss-used) ‘Report’ button and gained legions of SJW trackers that could then target commenters that expressed ‘bad thoughts’.

Like Jack Nickleson said to the dog, “Don’t ever change, you’re perfect just the way you are!”.

Some Guy in OR
Guest
Nearly 25 years ago, when I was a senior in high school, my parents took me to a private “career counselor.” He talked to me about my interests and skill set, and administered a rather lengthy personality test. When we met to review the results and discuss his impressions, he focused on my enthusiasm for research and writing, as well as my motivator – which I had naively submitted as “truth.” He, in his equal naivety, suggested journalism. The amusing thing here is that I had attempted in high school to get involved in the school paper, as well as… Read more »
sfxxxxxxxxc
Guest

Dude, just stumbled across your site. You’re really good.

Jak Black
Guest

You hinted at this, but to me, the most insidious aspect is not the outright banning or removal of comments, but the willfull “guiding” of opinion – hiring employees to write opinion under the guise of the hoi polloi, students to upvote right-thiink, etc.

There was a time when I actually found the reviews on Amazon.com useful. Then companies obviously took note and began to flood the site with reviews, and that came mostly to an end.

Garry F. Owen, Trooper
Guest

This is also reflected in the surprise by the folks holding the megaphones when the dirt people don’t follow the script .

elfi
Guest

Facts are more persuasive than opinions.
Who Controls Your Mind,comment image

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