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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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 Fourth 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.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

"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. "

uh, YUP - you've NAILED it again, great sir....
beware the internet kill switch, for then all may be lost

Thanks for your great efforts and a Merry Christmas to all that observe

danfan

Naresh Krishnamoorti said...

I am reminded of the Bond villain Elliot Carver.

Edward Cline said...

I lost interest in broadcast news ages ago, nearly retching every time I saw the slick, make-up groomed faces of Brian Williams and others delivering the news with pontificating, elitist smirks, reading from their own Teleprompters. When TV broadcasting went digital, mandated by Congress, I no longer could watch mainstream broadcast news. It was no big loss. The pioneers of news anchors acting like wise, parental guides to what was happening in the nation and in the world were men like Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley. You could sense, even when they were broadcast in black and white, that they saw themselves as the sole, qualified Platonic guardians who would decide what you should know and what wasn’t worth knowing and how you, the viewer, shackled in his cave, should think about this or that issue or event or person. As Daniel explains above, the news media have perfected that Platonic guardianship to an insidious, perverted skill. Only the passive and credulous believe anything the news media say anymore. Unregulated, unfiltered news is available on the Internet and that worries the Medacracy. They would like to do to the Internet what Hitler and Mussolini did to newspapers and radio in Germany and Italy: Decree that newspapers and radio must report the official news, or no news.

The Unrecorded Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Unrecorded Man said...

Good article. it's depressing to see how pod people are formed.

"the Third Estate acts as the third candidate"

Shouldn't that be 'Fourth Estate'?

Anonymous said...

In Europe we have the same problem, with only one difference: Here the state-media are 'in charge', not private corporations like CNN

Yura Dashevsky said...

Typo : "NO longer wants". The rest - bravo!

Robin said...

Daniel-Great points. Wish you had added how much of the traditional publishing market, especially nonfiction, now is owned by those same media companies. Between that and the university presses who do not care if they lose money and we are being inundated with hard cover fine books that lay out theories that are not true that are trying to alter social arrangements in the future.

Just a heads up, the current head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has decreed that UNESCO will be using education globally and the complicity of the media to push its Marxist Humanist vision of the future. I found those documents and explained it here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/decreeing-the-interdependence-of-environment-economy-society-and-cultural-diversity-in-the-21st/ . Hugely alarming as long as this coordination remains mostly unknown.

Anonymous said...


The public enjoys this. In conversation with people they parrot this manufactured consensus as though it's the undeniable truth. Sometimes I poke fun at them. For a moment they snap out of it, but the main stream media is relentless, and by the next time I speak to them their beliefs have been all shored up and revalidated.

Anonymous said...

A first rate piece, as usual.

If I may…

In the previous piece, (The Left is Too Smart to Fail) “theunrecordedman” made a comment to the effect that your articles, in his words, were like a “bludgeon”, tending to make the same point over and over in slightly different ways. It is a characteristic of your work, but one I’ve grown to value.

Your style completely dissects and lays bare the hypocrisies of the political process and your thoroughness is an aid to comprehension. You leave no doubt in the reader’s mind.

Yes, we can read the abridged version at FrontPage Magazine, but a comparison merely serves to illustrate to us the value of your diligence. theunrecordedman made his point and you answered respectfully - I would expect nothing less of you – but each to his own. Perhaps you are an acquired taste, I don't pretend to know, but for me, please continue to give us both barrels.

You made me smile to myself a little while ago when you referenced Carl Sagan. His tenure at the office of Official Cultural Guru is long gone and I haven’t heard his name in a thousand years, but, like you, I haven’t forgotten what a complete phony he was. The cultured, bass register and the tortured, measured, pedantic delivery of the banalities on offer was an immediate tell – a 22 carat fraud.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah to you and all your devotees.

churchill

XisDshizL said...

I would only add that the media in and of itself would exert much less influence on the people without their partner Academy. I see it as the left's one-two punch. All the lies offered by the Mediacracy would ring hollow to an educated, not indoctrinated, electorate.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Meanwhile, most good folks on the Internet keep sputtering, "hypocrites" at the media. They haven't a hypocritical bone in their collective body. When A&Evil can turn its back on millions of dollars in favor of a neo-Normalist radical group representing less than 2% of the population, you know the invisible hand of capitalism has withered. Which is what the Mediacracy wanted all along. They saw where power rests and they courted it at its throne: entitlements, set-asides, crony considerations. Now, after 40 years of patience, they receive their orders from their financiers, not the "buying public" (which can't buy what the cable companies won't bundle). Those elite few--less than 1%--- who have more money and buying power than all the U.S. fandom and all the merchandising China can provide, they tell A&E, "walk away" and A&E walks.

You once kindly linked to my take on this back in May. Though my sword is not nearly as deft as yours, I offer it as a parry against the coming night: http://primordialslack.com/?p=2744

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Naresh, Carver was a thinly disguised version of Rupert Murdoch

Edward, we've gone from avuncular fake seriousness to perpetual cheerfulness. Actors adjusting themselves to the culture they manipulate.

Anon 1, we are seeing the rise of a state media with Obama's people controlling the news and manufacturing their own stories and photos.

Robin, and even when they don't have single ownership, the people who run them and staff them have a common worldview.

Anon 2, yes people like to feel smart and so they repeat what they think the consensus is

Churchill, the Front Page versions are more focused. Here for example I go into more side details such as the overall culture of manufactured intelligence.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Joan,

it's also a common consensus at the top. All this is financed by advertising which is not really concerned with the mass of people, but with ideas dictated by a handful of people, many of them extremely radical, more so than even Hollywood.

The paradigm in advertising is to look for younger and wealthier audiences, even if they're niche, rather than the ordinary American. That's a major shift from what it used to be in the 1950s.

This conveniently favors more radical shifts in programming to appeal to those niche audiences, the wealthy twenty and thirty-somethings, who have the disposable income and lean to the left.

Currently no network could be paid to air a television show that would bring in ten times the audience of one of their own shows, if the audience it brings in is old.

Unknown said...

And there are already attempts to tame, control, and collectivize opinion on the internet. While there is still considerable elbow room on Face Book and a few other social media channels, the users can be tracked, and are always at risk of being shut down by having their accounts canceled. New software, such as Disqus make it possible to do same in discussion fora. Fewer and fewer site owners still retain control over their own comment threads.

-Rurik

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Another reason I would never put in Disqus

Anonymous said...

Okay, we all know the media's the problem. They lie, they distort, they are hyper-partisan.

Now what?

What can we do about it?

Dean Weingarten said...

It is both heartening and humbling to see a great writer put together the arguments, and even some of the verbage and terminology that I have been pushing for the last 20 years.

This is a brilliant essay. I am pleased to say, that in my own way, I have been saying almost exactly the same thing. I like to think that I was one of, if not the first, to use the term “mediacracy”.

Daniel Greenfield does it so much better than I ever could.

Anonymous said...

Yashar koach, Daniel. This is one of your many keepers. I have long maintained that the fourth estate is our fifth column, working for and supported by those who wish our civilization ill, but you see further than I do; you state that the mediacrats' aim is to supplant our civilization for themselves. Thank you for opening my eyes to an even greater danger than I suspected.

Lightbringer

mindRider said...

Pity about not wanting the Disqus comment option, I do appreciate the immediate retort possibilities also between the readers, but indeed the discussions often get bogged down in either plain scolding or they deviate from the issue.

Dennis Latham said...

I quit watching major network news a long time ago with their ridiculous stories and their actual avoidance of more serious issues that doesn't fit the lemming agenda. I watch the weather and read news stories online, but most seem to be written by foreigners experimenting with English as a new language. Nothing makes sense and nothing is ever explained. It reminds me of Vonnegut's view of the future in Welcome To The Monkey House. We are living the Monkey House.

AskTheReferee said...

The mediacracy is on the job in living colour, replete with manly female reporters bloviating the obvious fact of a tank formation with Apache helicopters providing force protection and reconnaissance, moving on undefended Baghdad.

Where is it when we need to understand the implication of a small town police force in Ohio adding SWAT capability, military grade armoured vehicles and unannounced, night-time Apache helicopter force suppression exercises?

Doug Mayfield said...

"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."

I agree that the media go all out to support and protect Obama and company. But I cannot agree that they were able to elect O. by themselves either the first or second time without considerable help from two cowardly, semi-socialist, RINOs by the names of McCain and Romney. (If I misinterpreted your comment above, my apology.)

Both RINOs ran miserable, non-competitive campaigns. (I knew McCain would lose when I watched him, live on TV, haranguing his own followers about what a great President Obama would make.).

As long as the Republicans refuse to challenge the Democrats morally, intellectually, by pointing out that the Democrats deal in immoral socialist poison, they will continue to lose.

Anonymous said...

American is a Republic, not a Democracy.

The only true constitutional option is to realise that the entire premise of this article is unconstitutional: American should be neither a Democracy, nor a "Mediacracy" (in fact, Mediacracy and Democracy are one and the same thing).

America must return to the Constitution, and be a Republic once again.

fodderwing said...

So I was ready to take up my pitchfork and storm the gates of the Mediacracy, but, then what? "Force[ing]... them out of the public space that they have usurped" is a great idea, but how, precisely, is that done? It took them 40 years to force democracy out of the public space that it owned. The nation does not have 40 years.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

We're doing it now.

Doramin said...

There IS something that can be done. And if conservative politicians and activists had any sense they would jump on this whole hog.

Unbundling cable.

Right now it is ludicrous to rant and rave and bellow about "boycotting" A&E. A&E, MSNBC, MTV, Skinemax, the Oprah channel, the menopause channel, the gay channel, Al Jazeera Amerika and all the others make their cut if they're on the menu and subscribers pay for it all whether they watch it or not.

If cable subscribers were able to sign up for and pay for only those channels they wanted, the Liberal Mediacracy would collapse without its strongest pillar. Even the Big Four networks would probably go belly up. MSNBC would be unable to pay for Rachel Maddows' stylist let alone keep the lights on.

You want to actually accomplish something rather than just vent your spleen...?

Anonymous said...

Spectacular! You made so many good points that picking just a few to laud, would not do the entire piece justice.

Fortunately we have the internet, but I'm afraid that its not enough to arouse the electorate, in time to prevent the continued rapid descent of the country. The internet, unfortunately, just doesn't have the emotional authority of network TV especially to the impressionable "low information voters." And I don't just mean the TV news, much of the programming is done on what passes for entertainment as you recently pointed out in your article, "We Can Have Gay Rights or Freedom of Speech." Furthermore, while the internet and talk radio reach millions of people, it tends to reach only those who make an effort to be informed and inclined to think, that is to say our side.

To save this country, we need to win elections, which means influencing the puppets. So, while I find your articles brilliant and insightful, we need to find other ways to get the votes of those who won't or can't read them.

My grandfather told me, "liberals are people that don't let facts or logic interfere with their opinions." Our side, therefore, needs to find other ways of persuading the impressionable to vote our way.

The closed loop of leftist media, as you detailed in, "The Left is Too Smart to Fail," is used to create a smug self-righteousness as well as to reinforce the pre-formed opinion that it wants their voters to have. To win, we need to become as adept at utilizing the media as the left. I believe that we need create "soundbite" opinions, a mix of a little fact, a little reasoning and mostly humor presented in the media that the other side utilizes to give them their opinions.

fsy said...

The only real answer in the long run is extreme decentralization of government. This is the only thing that could short-circuit the mediacracy, which as you pointed out at the start of the article, is based on the fact that "the bigger a country gets, the harder it is to pick up on that consensus".

The question is only, how is this possible? Secession of states, or maybe of counties, has to be the first step, but it seems that even real conservatives are loath to even bring this up.

Anonymous said...

How can conservatives "utilize" the media when the media is entirely made up of leftists?

Look at Fox News: a genuine attempt to create an objective news source. What happened? Liberals have turned it into a punchline. They mock it, and anyone who watches it. News presented by Fox is presumed to be "right-wing propaganda" and so can be disregarded.

Not only do Leftists disregard Fox, but their control of the media is such that they constantly discredit and attack Fox. In any fictional depiction of a corrupt, dishonest media organization, it's ALWAYS a caricature of Fox News. They repeat the lie over and over and over and over and over . . . and the uninformed voters eventually believe it.

This is how they've made people believe Republicans (a party specifically founded to fight slavery of black people) are racists. They just keep saying it, and saying it, and saying it until it becomes part of every person's mental map of reality.

We can't fight that with blog posts. We can't even fight that by getting the Koch Brothers to buy a network. (The Koch Brothers figured that out a while back, I suspect.) Any dissenting voices are attacked.

I don't know what the answer is. At times I fear it can only end in violence -- or that it won't end at all, and we'll slide into Huxley's Brave New World of perfect social control by media and meds. But I do know that blog posts aren't the answer. They help rally the troops, but that's all. We need a weapon.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Leftists attack FOX because it's winning. Look at the ratings.

When the left furiously attacks, it's afraid.

DenisO said...

Good article; as always, it defines problems we all are irritated by, but don't fully understand. I don't mind what someone called "both barrels" in your columns, but repeating paragraphs, in slightly different words, is not effective. Often, you reach the brilliant conclusion half way into the column, and the rest of it takes away from the whole. I understand writing, and it is extremely hard and time consuming to reorganize thoughts after writing them, especially if one is cranking them out on a daily basis.
My recommendations: shorter is better, and if you want to repeat, do so in the conclusion. It is harder, but it shines the diamond.
Regards,

Anonymous said...

http://watchdogwire.com/florida/2013/09/02/who-is-controling-your-mind-in-2013/

Mr. Greenfield,

You can't stop the Merchants

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake, there is a great reckoning of affairs in the making, and the "journalists" who have so willfully and deliberately undermined this civilization are going to find themselves swinging from lamp posts. They bear a greater degree of responsibility for this cultural rot than even politicians.

I'm not saying this to be bombastic or edgy, it's just a statement of historical likelihood. There is a current of inchoate rage, a sure sense that we are being manipulated and managed even if we cannot precisely elucidate the particulars of it. They have heretofore found this to be a protective sort of ambiguity, but that protection is crumbling. What will happen is that vengeful retribution will end up being directed in all suspected directions.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between an editorial endorsement or slanted news story and a political ad?

Since the passage of the Federal Campaign Act after Watergate, campaign laws have been used to abridge the right of citizens and citizens groups attempting to address their grievances with government.

"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." - From Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy by Alex Carey

“It is normal for all large businesses to make serious efforts to influence the news, to avoid embarrassing publicity, and to maximize sympathetic public opinion and government policies. Now they own most of the news media that they wish to influence.” - from The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian

Following reports of serious financial abuses in the 1972 Presidential campaign, Congress amended the FECA in 1974 to set limits on contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. But politicians exempted the commercial press, because the 1st Amendment prohibits abridging their freedom of speech and the press.

Giant media corporations are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money influencing the political process because their political communications are said to have no value.

But, since Watergate, campaign regulations based on the definitions of expenditure and contribution restrict the speech and press rights of every U.S. Citizen political party and organization.

The main stream media already enjoy superior means to influence politics. To level the playing field, the language of the Press Exemption must be amended to include ‘citizens and groups’ in the unregulated class.

Currently, only State approved media corporations are exempt from campaign laws: 2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i) exempts newspaper, broadcast and magazine corporations from the definition of contribution and expenditure. The Buckley v. Valeo decision, which upheld these reforms, effectively redefined free press as the right of media corporations!

In the 184 year period prior to Watergate and the charter of the Federal Election Commission in 1975, citizens were free to pool their money to pay the costs of communicating their political ideas and endorsements without creating a 501, 527 or Super Pac Corporation. And flesh and blood citizens were not limited how much they could spend or required to report political activities to government.

To restore citizens 1st Amendment rights and return the Federal Government to Constitutionally proscribed boundaries, Call your Senators and Congressman and demand they add ‘citizens and citizen’s groups’ to the language of the press exemption.

For a short term solution, conservative groups should consider incorporating as media periodicals to circumvent most unconstitutional campaign laws, rather than applying to the IRS for non-profit status to avoid a few.

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