May 4, 2012

The Narrative

Listening to NPR a few weeks ago, I made an important realization about the media, and it's (dis)function in providing "the narrative" we revolve our lives around.  The story was that Rick Santorum had dropped out of the presidential race, leaving the republican nomination to Mitt Romney.*  Some examples: hereherehere, and here.  Of course, since there were still two other candidates competing for that prize, one wonders how the news media can make such a statement.

Any significant event is corralled by the news media into an acceptable story for consumption of the American mind.  Or, if needed, an event (or significant portions of the event) can be ignored or under-reported.  In this way, the media is attempting to frame a certain worldview that is sympathetic or even perpetuous of the power of the State.  The official narrative for this presidential race is now that the candidates will be Romney and Obama.

Enjoy your "choice," America!

Neither Romney or Obama will fundamentally challenge the status quo, and are interchangeable.  Indeed, this is a choice between Worse and Worser.  For those of us who would rather avoid this Titanical game of musical chairs, and instead would like a candidate who offers significant change of course, it would be preposterous to consider either of them.  The role of the news media is to create a narrative that achieves a facade of legitimacy whilst ushering in the chosen winner of the contest, and to exclude any stories that may suggest another outcome.

Moving Beyond...

Despite many scholars who have written books, lectured, and even made (limited) media appearances on moving beyond the State, this possibility is never included as part of the narrative.  However-- just as major media networks have become almost fully intermarried into a propaganda mouthpiece of the ruling class-- documentary films, websites, podcasts, and various other conduits have emerged (mostly on the internet) to fill the void for those who crave more, and have provided a nice alternative source of information.  It seems that every action, indeed, causes and equal and opposite reaction.


One benefit of the primitive status of the internet is that this venue makes it much more difficult (though not impossible) for you to be intellectually swindled, as it is lacks highly trained teleprompter readers who are beautiful, exquisitely dressed, and professional- telling you how it is.  Contrarily, internet outlets are traditionally seen as unprofessional- with low sound and video quality.  Sometimes, you have to really want the information to sit through an exceedingly inadequate presentation.

However, this is changing as technology advances and becomes more affordable, and as the market for information continues to slide from TV to the internet.  Now, as people are tuning out cable and supporting emerging outlets for information, winners are being chosen- and with their success, they are able to invest in more capital (video and audio equipment) as well as labor (higher quality and/or quantity of staff).  This synergy of interest in the product and professionalism in packaging has led to the internet being the choice of the upcoming generation.

Another advantage the internet has over the traditional media is the ability to link to original sources.  This is an important check on those who would like to take a story out of context.  It is possible, in the comments section, to correct a fact or opinion and reach at least some folks (like myself) who like to see differing viewpoints on a particular subject.  Also, you are able to link to your blog there- perhaps a whole post can be devoted to providing a factual account of the issue at hand.

Clearly, the ability to bring up a document without having the entire room filled with books and magazines, let alone having to remember exactly which issue of which publication it was found in, etc. is an unappreciated example of progress.  The ability to instantly upload and download information spells disaster for those who would want to snuff out particular stories- we are now much less information "impaired."  Although "those who would want to" are not above it!

It is also nice to be able to read a story about something that piques your interest, and be able to find out more details by simply clicking a link.  The internet is an easy place for a person to find many different angles on a particular subject, perhaps even stumbling on opinions that are outside of Tom Wood's Joe Biden/Mitt Romney Box of Allowed Political Dogma.  As the dinosaur media loses it's traditional audience to old age, and the current crop to irrelevancy,  the narrative- which is the fancy wrapping paper on the box of permitted opinion- will be crushed and burned with it.  This process of intellectual liberation, already in progress, is a great benefit to humanity.

*Update 5/7:

I found a map of the delegates so far, and it would appear the media has, indeed, created a narrative that is not based in reality:

Link to map

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