Articles

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rise of the Mediacracy

A nation where governments are elected by the people is most vulnerable at the interface between the politicians and the people. The interface is where the people learn what the politicians stand for and where the politicians learn what the people want. The bigger a country gets, the harder it is to pick up on that consensus by stopping by a coffee shop or an auto repair store. That's where the Mediacracy steps in to control the consensus.

The media is no longer informative, it is conformative. It is not interested in broadcasting events unless it can also script them. It does not want to know what you think, it wants to tell you what to think. The consensus is the voice of the people and the Mediacrats are cutting its throat, dumping its body in a back alley and turning democracy into their own puppet show.

Media bias was over decades ago. The media isn't biased anymore, it's a player, its goal is turn its Fourth Estate into a fourth branch of government, the one that squats below the three branches and blocks their access to the people and blocks the people's access to them. Under the Mediacracy there will still be elections, they will even be mostly free, they just won't matter so long as its upper ranks determine the dialogue on both sides of the media wall.

The Mediacracy isn't playing for peanuts anymore. It's not out to skew a few stories, it's out to take control of the country. In military empires, the military can act as a Praetorian Guard. In political empires, it's the people who control the political conversation who also control the succession.

In 2008, the Mediacracy elevated an Illinois State Senator who had briefly showed up in the Federal Senate to the highest office in the land. They did it even though he had no skills for the job and no serious plan for fixing any of the country's problems. They did it to show that they could. They did it because they wanted to tell a compelling story and inflict radical change on a country that would have never voted for it, if it had not been lied and guilted into making the single worst decision in its entire history.

Propaganda is a powerful weapon and seizing control of the newspapers, radio and television stations is one of the first things that tyrants do. That wasn't supposed to be an issue in a country where anyone could open their own newspaper. But that changed with the transformation of journalism into the media. The media, plural, embraces multiple mediums, most of them expensive and requiring a license and often, government approval.

Two hundreds years ago, a few friends could open a printing press and take on the big behemoths and often did. Today the only place they can do that is on the internet. Radio and television are walled cities controlled by a small number of interlinked corporations that keep merging together. Their staffers come out of carefully controlled environments, where with the pyramid of indoctrination, political gurus pass down their wisdom to professors who program students with its doctrines, to create the Mediacracy.

FOX News, for all its faults, is under constant attack by the Mediacracy because it is independent of that same rigid coercion. Wrong or right, it represents a view that is fundamentally different from the same mind-numbing conformity to be found everywhere from the weekly news magazine in your dentist's office to the talking heads on your cable channel to the honeyed voices of the anchors giving you the news every 5, 10 or 50 minutes over the radio while you're driving to work.

The real crime of FOX News is not that it's especially right-wing, it isn't. It is far less conservative than CNN is liberal. But FOX News' existence, its patriotic color scheme and attempts at appealing to the heartland while putting a conservative spin on issues, forces viewers to notice how conformist and identical the rest of the media landscape. And that is what makes FOX News truly dangerous. Like a goat among the sheep, it makes you realize the sameness of their generic competitors who all cheer for the same team, shop at the same stores and dream of the day when everyone thinks like them.

They are the Mediacracy and they are the Ministry of Propaganda. They are the smirking people who got tired of telling you how many people died in an earthquake in Indonesia and decided to begin explaining to you why the earthquake is your fault because you don't ride a bike to work. These are the people who longer want to report on a shooting, but want to tell you that it's time for a firearms ban. They no longer want to report on Washington DC, unless they can control Washington DC.

The Memorandum of Understanding for the Town Hall debate was that the moderator would relay questions from the audience, but would not ask the candidates any questions or comment on what they say. Candy Crowley made it clear before the debate that she would not abide by those rules and liberal organizations piled on, deploying a petition against the silencing of Candy Crowley. And so Candy Crowley wasn't silenced, in true Mediacrat fashion, she silenced others.

The Mediacracy's insistence on being the third candidate at every debate, its outrage that anyone would expect it to be silent and let the actual candidates speak, reflects its power and arrogance. Its elites are not interested in the conversation except as a means of controlling its outcome. They are not here to let other people talk, except as vehicles for making their own points.

Candy Crowley, in true Mediacrat style, was not there to facilitate a conversation, but to tell us what to think. Unlike Obama or Romney, Crowley had no legitimate reason for being there. She was not a political candidate and had not passed any of the democratic tests that Obama and Romney had to be able to sit there. Her influence had no basis of any kind in the voice of the people. Instead she was there as a representative of the powerful and unelected Mediacracy which was determined to have its say. She was there to remind the pols that even in a Two Party system, the Third Estate acts as the third candidate, never running for office but always winning by controlling the conversation.

It is not in the public interest for the Mediacracy to have its say, no matter how often the Mediacrats trot out their public good routine. Power is either vested in democratic institutions or undemocratic ones and the media corporations and their talking heads are about as undemocratic an institution as can be conceivably imagined. And when Mediacrats try to control the outcome of a popular election, their actions are an attack by an undemocratic institution on a democratic institution.

Mediacrats fill the airwaves with rantings about corporate influence on politics. The 800 pound gorilla of corporate influence on politics is the media. Candy Crowley's employer, CNN, is owned by Time Warner, the second largest media conglomerate on the planet. Not the country, the planet. The only media conglomerate bigger than it is the one that owns ABC News. But the Mediacrats never report on their own influence, never turn the camera back into the studio while warning about the danger of corporate lobbyists. But the corporate lobbyists sitting in the CNN studio don't just want to chat with a few politicians in a closed room, they do their best to dictate the outcome of elections.

Businesses turn to lobbyists when the times are bad. The media is losing the public, so they are turning from being mere media into Mediacracy. Media is subject to the whims of the viewing public, but Mediacracy subjects the public to its whims. And they are dreaming of a country under the enlightened rule of the Mediacrats. One nation under a thousand channels all serving the interests of a dying media state.

The media, with its expensive equipment and its licenses, is confronting an era when everything is being reduced to a single medium, print, voice and visuals falling into the internet singularity and leaving them with some expensive equipment, exclusive rights to broadcast on frequencies that no one watches anymore and the ability to print millions of papers, when they can hardly move a tenth of them. And like all imploding tyrannies, they are confronting the crisis by grasping for power. They know that they will either be a Mediacracy or they will be nothing.

The greatest challenge to the integrity of our democracy may be the coup of the media corporations. Information is the lifeblood of a free society and the consolidation of information outlets in the hands of a small and powerful elite with no ethics and no boundaries is leading us down the road to a virtual tyranny that will maintain the illusory workings of a democratic society without any of the substance.
The old institutions of elections are becoming a charade, a formal routine where the outcome is determined by the employees of a handful of major media corporations that present the public with the inevitable result. And America is falling into the hands of the Government-Media Complex.

The Mediacracy has directed all its efforts into hijacking the public dialogue, turning elections into a cheap sideshow accompanied by sneering commentary. It has insisted on being the third candidate in every election and turned its corporate shills into the pretend voice of the people. It has stomped all over the traditions of this country, its independent institutions and its freedoms with thousand dollar shoes while wrapping itself in any available flag. And it cannot be allowed to get away with it.

A free society does not only become unfree at the point of a gun. It becomes unfree when its mechanisms of freedom are jammed, when the institutions that are meant to provide power to the people are taken over by unelected forces and twisted into the apparatus of a new tyranny. When undemocratic institutions seize control of democratic institutions then democracy dies, strangled by men and women who keep on smiling while they tighten their grip.

America can be a Democracy or a Mediacracy. It cannot and will not be both. And the only way to preserve democracy is to challenge the Mediacrats and force them out of the public space that they have usurped and back into the private sphere of their financial interests where they belong.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...


there's the mediacracy monolith -- and then there is sultan knish, coming at us through the computerverse. until they take that away from us

-- Spanky

p.s. sad to think that the guardian may be coming to the end of its print existence. let's hope the new york times is next. they are unfit to remain in print

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

or Haaretz

American Genie said...

Ah, Daniel. I could not agree more with everything in this piece except the notion that America is a democracy.

When did America devolve from a constitutional republic to a democracy?

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself." ~ John Adams

Anonymous said...

The sharp tone that he used towards the moderator to jerk her out of her tardiness in injecting herself, I thought, was telling. Why use that tone unless there was an understanding beforehand that that's what her role was- the third debater. Jim Lehrer sucked dog's bum, but I have to hand it to him for at least acting obtuse when he was glared at and actually voice-prompted to get with The Program.

Hiding the collusion doesn't seem to be an issue, anymore. It's going to be placed on Front Street regularly and I think a lot of folks are convinced that braying from the sheeple will die down and we'll go back to the barn and take another long nap pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

It is worse in GB. We have to pay via a tax, extorted by threat of prison, for the BBC.
Never has a more self satisfied, full of entitlement and smugly liberal in the worse sense of the word, bunch of prigs afflicted any country.
At least with Pravda you knew the scvore.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, but the reality is that our Media overlords will not relinquish control, and the sheeple at this point will not regain it from them, from totally stopping watching their programs or buying their papers. The ironic thing is that by pushing the re-election of Obama all costs they are setting the stage for their utimate overthrow and trivialization. People always come to realize BS is just BS at some point, and in having no new ideas or prescriptions for turning this economy around and the future of having to bring a wheelbarrow of dollars in order to buy a loaf of bread may sadly be around the corner. And people will lash back at those their perceive responsible, always other than themselves. The blowback might be quite intense. Actually Romney is by far and the better wish for the media, they can simply go back to Bush-style bashing, and pat themselves on the back about how they are looking out for the country by fighting for the sane liberal values that America needs, in their minds largely.

Anonymous said...

"The old institutions of elections are becoming a charade, a formal routine where the outcome is determined by the employees of a handful of major media corporations that present the public with the inevitable result. And America is falling into the hands of the Government-Media Complex."

On the same phenomena, the alarm bell from Michael Savage (probably it was he who first coined the expression "The Government-Media Complex"):

Beware the Government-Media Complex * Monda, May 15, 2000 * (Michael Savage Addresses the Commonwealth Club of California)

http://archive.newsmax.com/articles/?a=2000/5/15/52236

http://michaelsavage.wnd.com/2011/07/savage-audio-beware-the-government-media-complex/

Anonymous said...

If Obama had the military on his side, the USA would be a complete dictatorship.

Edward Cline said...

Daniel: You realize, of course, that articles like this one aren't going to garner you invitations by Diane Sawyer, Matt Lauer, and Brian Williams to interviews so you can tell the truth about anything. – not that they'd recognize truth even if it fell on their heads. You're not going to be asked to show up at "Meet the Press" and sit across the table from Paul Krugman and David Axelrod, or be given a chance to make goo-goo eyes at Rachel Maddow while she throws leading questions at you. And PBS will never forgive you for having omitted mention of Charlie Rose and "Washington Week" and, well, just PBS because in its own eyes, it is the St. Peter of real, real, real news, never mind those conglomerate-run outfits. I know that Charlie's been hankering to pillory you with a dozen questions about Israel and jihadists and the Brotherhood's influence in the White House, but now that you've snubbed him, he's instead booked a chat with Matt Damon and Charlie Sheen, experts on fracking and combat in Afghanistan.

mehere said...

I take note of what you have said, Daniel, and would endorse it entirely.

May I also add that the problem we have now is the appeal of the media for the would-be shapers of the future. To get into politics you have to have the right connections; Obama would not have been rapidly elevated up the ladder of power if he had not had some powerful allies and sponsors. Quite who they are is a matter for some conjecture, but that is for another time.

For most young or once-young people, the media is a way into that world of power and drama. A journalist used to have to find news, but now they are merely people with opinions or (the hope) the ones who form opinion. It doesn't matter what you know -- and heaven knows many journalists only have a slender understanding of science, say, or more relevantly how people are in the wider world -- it matters to them that they have opinions.

It is power without responsibility, and powerful drug it is too.

The media platform not only pays these young turks a respectable wage for sitting up straight and typing, or clicking, but more importantly gives them a chance to share their views. Ill-formed views, perhaps and usually remarkably inconsistent (the way some 'journalists' can opine that an unborn baby has no soul but a tree has one, beggars belief), but they are 'honest' opinions that must be forced on others who clearly have not thought things through to the opinionated one's satisfaction. Or perhaps they just haven't attended enough Marxist lectures.

So the media become the sub-voice of political indoctrination. if you can interrupt a would-be president, while skipping over what the president has actually said, must make other young hopefuls think there is room for their loud mouths in the media. Candy became a star in the industry she works, and will enjoy the praise of her like-minded 'colleagues' who are equally intent on having their narrow views broadcast.

Once upon a time, young people had ambition to widen the world or increase its knowledge. But that has either already been done or is too much like hard work. How much better to nurture your opinions and hope that the spotlight operated by your friends will fall on you.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Genie, skipping over the historical debate, populism is currently the only hedge against the complete control of the left which controls most non-democratic political institutions.

Anonymous, though if the BBC's viewership keeps dropping and becoming marginalized, it might become hard to force people to pay a tax for something that no one uses

Edward, not unless I turn into one of those "moderate" Republicans eager to show up and complain about how the party is sooooo right wing now

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

mehere, yes the mediacracy is a power structure and access to it depends on passing very few tests of competence and few democratic ones

Anonymous said...

Candy Crowley broke the rules of the debate by coming to the aid of Obama in that Benghazi flap.But thank goodness she made a fool of herself in doing so. Romney in true Republican fashion missed a golden opportunity to pin Obama's big ears back.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Kudos Mr Greenfield. The empty chair is the media, Romney should debate them directly, if elected he should use every major speech to the nation to attack the liberal media complex, the country is waking up steadily, but slowly. It is time to call them out.

Anonymous said...

Fox News is popular not just because it gives a voice to conservatism but because it is populist.

james wilson said...

The country was lost in 1933, not 2008. Romney aims to slow the decline, which he may, but in so doing he will in also solidify their gains. It's sort of like life--there is no getting out of this alive.

Bilejones said...

American Genie
"When did America devolve from a constitutional republic to a democracy?"

Lincoln's war on the South effectively removed the pretense that the US was a Republic.

It pretty much wiped out this line from the Declaration of Independence:
"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States"

They were reduced to mere administrative units of the central State.

Keli Ata said...

This is an excellent companion piece to your wonderful column on addiction. They make me think about the chilling film Requiem for a Dream (the theme music is used so often in videos about how the US is becoming a police state).

It's even been used in Lost and another film. Perhaps Lord of the Rings or something. I've never heard violins sound so menacing and haunting.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, you are a genius. Thank you.

Keli Ata said...

The problem with network news--FOX, CNN, MSNBC etc. is that the broadcast day never ends. There is only so much actual news to report 24/7 so they're resorted to basically filler matierial (heavily slanted talk shows.) The line between straight news reporting and filler fluff has been so blurred few can even recognize it.

There's no mistaking what my favorite news network is all about. It's very name and funding source make it obvious and would probably have gotten me in dutch with McCarthy decades ago lol. But they only broadcast four hours worth of coverage before a new cycle begins.

Watch any four hour block of coverage and call it a day.

I like the network beause 1. it is very enteraining 2. provides much more international news than ABC/CBS/NBC.

Re FOX--my chief complaint is that some of the hosts on the non-news shows is that they claim to be fair and balanced. It is impossible for any media outlet to be fair and balanced because the media has shifted from simply presenting the facts as accurately as possible and putting these facts into some context.

Re re: Second complaint about FOX is that some of the hosts and their guests are extremely overbearing. Not that the liberal shows get a pass from me either.

The liberal hosts are more of a nagging nature and holier than thou attitude.

Just give me the facts in context. If you can do it in an entertaining and/or thought provoking manner great.

Empress Trudy said...

The media isn't operating in a vacuum though. MSNBC and CNN clearly and unapologetically get their talking points from the White House. They often use the same exact words. It's as close to state run media in the US as you're going to find. And the talking heads all see themselves CLEARLY as working for the White House, even more ideologically driven than the White House itself.

Silverio Facundo said...

Excellent analysis! It must be difficult for you to outdo yourself, but you somehow manage to do it time and again!

I can't help noticing another frightening aspect of the Mediocrecy (excuse me, Mediocracy): Presidents, senators, governors, and in general public office representatives need to be elected to office and their terms tend to be somewhat short. They are constantly uunder the public eye and if they somehow trip they are bound to get a public flogging.

On the other hand, anchors, especially night-time anchors, are appointed and tend to sit on their thrones for decades on end, unchallenged and unquestioned. How many years did viewers had to endure a Peter Jenings or a Barbara Walters coming night after night after night into their living-rooms and bedrooms, bringing with them their slanted, biased version of the world-as-we-should-know-it.

People get to "spend" more time in a week with their "anchors" than they will spend in a lifetime with their representatives or senators or presidents. These benevolent newscast dictators dictate to their subjects day after day what they should think and how should they react, what will they be outraged against and who will they make fun of. Yet there's very little public scrutiny for these people. Take for instance the pitiful Rachel Maddow. She is the epitome of disgusting. She's biased, rude, self-aggrandizing, self-righteous, self-important, yet she has a huge follower base for which she is a moral compass, a wise councelor and a carrier of the true gospel. And we can find someone just like her, only with another name throughout the various news agencies in the alphabet soup.

The only way these people get to be ejected from office is by low viewer ratings. Ratings are the Mediacracy polling booths, and these people don't need to campaign, or to show their intentions, or to show their credentials or to compete against other equally "competent" candidates for the job. Thay get appointed by a holy finger and remain until unseated by their commercial performance, not by their knowledge or their political capabilities.

If, as you propose, Mediacracy is trully the new branch of government, it is starting at the Middle-Ages standards, where appointed, long-term leaders were the rule, isolated and far-away from their subjects and living in a world of make-believe. The only way the top-dog could be unseated was by either murder, natural death or coup-d'etat. Will that happen to Mediacracy?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Silvero, an intriguing scenario

American Genie said...

Bilejones,

Ah, that damned Lincoln!

Thank you.

I will go back to working on my next t-shirt design now - the one that says, Jefferson Davis was the only president my country ever had.

American Genie said...

“Our enemies are a traditionless, homeless race. From the days of Cromwell to the present day they have been the disturbers of the peace of the world... After what has happened the last two years, my only wonder is that we consented to live for so long a time in association with such miscreants. Were it ever
proposed to enter again into a union with such a people, I could no more consent to do it than to trust myself in a den of thieves.”

Jefferson Davis, December 26, 1862

lemon lime moon said...

Media outlets are owned by those who do not like America as it is.
So you get a biased bunch.
Journalism is dead as well.
Newspapers, radio, tv and bloggers give personal opinion but do not really report the news anymore.

TJ said...

There are some things about which we agree, and some we don't.....but man, you can write.

Anonymous said...

This piece made me think about the MSM in a new way.

I thought of them as merely indoctrinated with socialism by all the influences that had shaped them through their lives. But a concerted plan to insinuate themselves as a powerful coterie in the political scheme of things? No, that hadn't occurred to me.

Am I convinced? Well, the piece is persuasive. You usually are, Daniel.

Excellent. full of insight, probative and ultimately, convincing. Well done.

Churchill

Anonymous said...

I also never thought of the media in this way.
Now that you bring it up, however, I see that
they are not merely misguided lefties, there is
certainly something more ominous going on.

KG said...

Great post! I've put up an excerpt and a link back to here on my blog.

Grace said...

Thank you.

Eli A. said...

Where can i pre-order the book you're writing? I'll need multiple copies.

Eli A. said...

Fox News largest shareholder is a Saudi prince, I have "heard." Just because that channel provides contrast to the rest of the clones doesn't mean it isn't in the exact same game. It was Fox News that glorified the talk show clown Geraldo & asked us all to take him seriously as he emoted his opinions and soap boxed from the midst of Katrina victims. Serious journalism, and classy.

So entertaining that the other networks had to get their own cult of personalities to step it up a notch. Nancy Grace, the witch hunter with flared, snotty nostrils being one such entertainer, perfect for the soap opera and harlequin romance novel addicts who no longer had Opera to tell them what to do and think.

Fox News isn't in any true competition with the other couple of zombie corps's. Especially PBS and Big Bird. It exists to round out the Mediacrisy's multiple personalty, so when the public gets out of hand they can easily shift to the right hand instead of the left. Ambidextrous is as ambidextrous does.

Anonymous said...

"free" elecyions ended 40 OR MORE years ago. "Voteing" is meaningless. Delude yourselves any way you wish . The republic is dead. Only the stupid the weak minded, and the chidish still belive anything spoon fed to them by the CIA/NSA/DOD controled media. Or there shills on the internet.

mikeT said...

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2012/10/one_question_for_a_romney_win.html


below quote is from AmericanThinker posted 20.10.2012 -- I guess the writer beat you to it this time.

In the next debate, George Romney needs to begin with a simple question. He needs to ask why Obama has not visited Israel in four years. Romney needs to make Obama explain the apology tour to the Muslim world after Saudi Islamists attacked New York. Obama must also explain why so-called "allies," in places like Afghanistan and Libya, continue to assassinate our soldiers and diplomats. And Obama needs to explain why America needs to rationalize every Arab or Muslim barbarity -- and why America must continue to apologize for what seems to be a very sick Muslim culture. In short, Romney needs to ask the President to explain how America benefits from another four years of anti-Jewish, pro-Muslim pandering.

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked, Romney-the-presidential-candidate's name was "Mitt" and not "George".

Unless of course the author of that article and people reciting it are implying or agreeing with something obvious to them which I do not understand.

Anonymous said...

"....people learn what the politicians stand for and where the politicians learn what the people want...."

==========================

THAT is the root of all evil in this life.

Anonymous said...

Anything you hear from a lawyer, a politician, the government, or the Lamestream Media is to be regarded as false until demonstrated otherwise.

The Establishment Media now enjoys lower esteem and trust from the Drooling Masses than Congress, and if Romney wins (looking more and more likely) I will be overcome with Schadenfreude. While voting for Romney probably won't bring about any Fundamental Change or save the Republic, it will be most satisfying to tell the arrogant mavens of twaddle to pound sand by casting my ballot to dump the Mighty Kenyan and his corps of sycophants.

After such an expenditure of effort to get Saint Barry the Divine re-appointed failure will probably leave them flummoxed as to how the peons could have rejected the wisdom they have dispensed 24/7 for years. Newspapers are failing, and rightly so. Any more, the only reason to subscribe to a fishwrapper is to get the local news. When the NYT ceases its print edition it will be the handwriting on the wall.
_Revjen45

Sky Captain said...

The triumph of mediacrity.

Post a Comment