Even though that nowadays, the effect produced by Medias upon the process of designing socio-political policies in Western countries, still continues to be discussed within a conceptual framework of “fourth power”, there are many good reasons to believe that Medias can longer be thought of as simply one among many sources of political authority, but the only source. The realities of post-industrial living invariably point out the fact that today, the influence exerted by media upon the very functioning of a particular society, does not quite relate to the Medias’ officially proclaimed agenda – namely, satisfying citizens’ informational needs. In this paper, we will aim at substantiating the validity of our thesis even further, while providing readers with insight into the true extent of Media’s power in today’s world and explaining the reasons why the functioning of Media-related infrastructure does not correspond to the principle of operational independence, as it should have been the case.
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In his famous book “The History of Sexuality”, Michel Foucault had suggested that in today’s society, the reality of social and political events cannot be thought of as a “thing in itself”, as it used to be the case before the rise of informational technologies in 19th – 20th centuries. This is because modern people’s perception of surrounding reality derives out of their psychological affiliation with the existence of a so-called “public discourse”, which Foucault defines as an informational realm. Outside of this realm, an individual’s life cannot have an ontological value, simply because it will go unnoticed. Therefore, “discourse” is not merely something that reports on political power, but something that creates it, while simultaneously affecting such power’s subtleties: “Discourse can be both an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a stumbling block, a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy. Discourse transmits and produces power; it reinforces it, but also undermines it and exposes it, renders it fragile and makes it possible to thwart it” (Foucault 1978, 101). This Foucault’s idea explains why nowadays, no individual can seriously expect to be able to gain a political prominence, unless he or she would be willing to utilize Medias, in order to appeal to people’s subconscious anxieties, because today, it is namely these anxieties that directly correspond to citizens’ stance on the matters of socio-political importance.
This situation can be explained by the fact that, as time goes by, Western societies become increasingly marginalized, as the result of the concept of multiculturalism having achieved a status of an official policy in these societies. As a direct result of this fact, more and more citizens become increasingly preoccupied with the matters of entertainment, while tending to assess the actual significance of the news, conveyed by Medias, as being quite unrelated to what they perceive as “boring politics”.
In his article “The New Journalism: We Are All Paparazzi”, Juan Cebrian suggests that in recent years, the whole concept of journalism has undergone a dramatic transformation: “Until recently, investigative journalists did most of the muscle-flexing. But as tabloid publications and broadcast media – television “magazines” and talk radio – began to capture major segments of the market, they all committed abominable excesses… There was a time when we journalists could devote our time to writing about what was happening. But now it really seems things happen exclusively for journalists to be able to write about them” (Cebrian 1998, 38). One cannot help drawing parallels between the time of Roman Empire’s decline when Rome’s intellectually corrupted citizens had been solely preoccupied with trying to get cheap thrills from being exposed to the bloody spectacle of a gladiator “shows”, as the only thing they could care about, and contemporary times of enforced political correctness, when intellectually corrupted citizens in Western countries appear to be preoccupied with essentially the same pursuit – namely, seeking cheap entertainment, as their full-time occupation, while giving preference to graphic news about murders, acts of terrorism and sexual perversions. This is exactly the reason why nowadays, the metaphysical premise for the production of news is not being concerned with reporting objective news in making, but with facilitating the events that could draw instant attention, on the part of the marginalized public. Just as it has always been the case, throughout history – it is only by being exposed to the sight of people’s suffering, that marginalized degenerates can be entertained.
Why it is that today, the danger posed by international terrorism had attained a truly global magnitude? This is because journalists think that there is nothing wrong with them interviewing terrorists, for the purpose of these interviews being air on prime time TV. By providing informational coverage to terrorist activities, Medias facilitate terrorism. In his book “Manufacturing the News”, Mark Fishman suggests that, if it was not up to journalists, there would be no concept of a “crime wave”, as we know it. While discussing the “crime wave”, which had taken place in New York, during the course of the twenties, Fishman states: “New York’s crime wave was a public event… News organizations created the wave, not in the sense that they invented the crimes, but in the sense, they gave a determinant form and content to all the incidents they reported” (Fishman 1990, 11). In its turn, this brings us to the discussion of how the production of news reflects dominant ideologies.
As we are well aware, the dominant political ideology in today’s Western countries is neo-Liberalism. The most important conceptual tenants of this ideology can be outlined as follows:
- Cultural relativism / Multiculturalism – the value of ethically-based cultures is assumed to be as such that can no longer be perceived through the lenses of euro-centrism
- Free market economy – the functioning of commercial organizations is expected to be affected by governmental rules and regulations to lesser and lesser degree
- Security – the considerations of “security” outweigh considerations of “freedom”
- Globalization – the eventual elimination of states’ traditional function as the only legitimate “sovereigns” on geopolitical arena
- The absence of rationally defined concept of one’s identity – people are expected to be automatically endowed with strong existential identity, regardless of their cultural, religious and racial affiliation.
In his book “Ideology: an Introduction”, Terry Eagleton defines the conceptual essence of Liberalism in essentially the same manner: “An opposition to monotonous self-identity…a suspicion of absolute truth claims… a rejection of reductive stereotypes… a celebration of difference” (Eagleton 1994, 128). If we analyse the ethnic affiliation, on the part of most ardent supporters of neo-Liberalism today, as well as in the past, it will appear that they consist predominantly of representatives of “chosen people”.
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In his article “Exceptionalism and Jewish Liberalism”, Marc Dollinger states: “In many ways, American Jews proved exceptional in their political beliefs and social activism. American Jews comprised the majority of white activists in the struggle for racial equality, while national civil rights organizations counted Jews among their most important leaders and funders. Even as political programs such as affirmative action alienated other white northern urban ethnic groups, most American Jews remained in the liberal fold” (Dollinger 2002, 162). Why is that nowadays, a so-called mainstream Medias appear being utterly dedicated to promotion of neo-Liberal agenda? The answer to this question is rather banal – these Medias are being own hook-nosed “experts on tolerance”. In his article “Six Jewish Companies Own 96% of the World’s Media”, John Pakalert does not only provide us with the insight onto disproportionate representation of Jews among the owners of world’s most influential Medias, but also point out to the fact that such situation can barely be thought of as being fully appropriate: “By permitting the Jews to control our news and entertainment media, we are doing more than merely giving them a decisive influence on our political system and virtual control of our government; we also are giving them control of the minds and souls of our children” (Pakalert 2009). Why is it that Western Media products appear to become ever-more tasteless, shockingly graphic and absolutely deprived of intellectual significance of any sort, as time goes by? This is because the promoters of neo-Liberal agenda are directly interested in Western societies being gradually deprived of their former national integrity. The reason for this is simple – the “atomized” societies that consist of citizens deprived of their sense of national belonging, can be easily exploited by those in position of political power.
Today’s Medias do not go about trying to objectively portray what accounts for citizens’ popular opinion, in regards to a particular subject matter, but to instill citizens with opinions that politicians expect these people to hold. Therefore, we can only agree with Jürgen Habermas, who in his book “’The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” had exposed modern Medias as such that are being primarily concerned with manipulation of public opinion, rather then with its representation: “Although objectively greater demands are placed on (public opinion), it operates less as a public opinion giving a rational foundation to the exercise of political and social authority, the more it is generated for the purpose of an abstract vote that amounts to no more than an act of acclamation within a public sphere temporarily manufactured for show or manipulation” (Habermas 1991, 222). As we stated earlier, the actual agenda of today’s politicians in Western countries, who wear the same grey suits, who indulge in the same sophistically sounding but utterly meaningless rhetoric, and who smile in the same conniving manner, while yapping away nonsense, is to turn citizens into a bunch of hedonist degenerates, so that they would not be able to put any effective resistance against governmental oppression. And, it must be said that these politicians have largely succeeded with pursuing such their agenda – the introduction of so-called “hate laws” into jurisprudential systems of many Western countries, substantiates the validity of this suggestion.
For example, in such countries as France, Germany, Britain and Canada, one can be easily sentenced to 3-5 years in jail for simply saying that Jews were not only the people who suffered, during the course of WW2 (the “crime of historical revisionism”). In his article “Former Soviet Dissident Warns for EU Dictatorship”, Paul Belien quotes a former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovksy, who had suggested that slowly but surely, E.U. transforms itself into an equivalent of Soviet Union: “The Soviet Union used to be a state run by ideology. Today’s ideology of the European Union is social-democratic, statist, and a big part of it is also political correctness. I watch very carefully how political correctness spreads and becomes an oppressive ideology” (Belien 2006). This is exactly the reason why today’s mainstream Medias actively strive to mislead citizens as to the actual significance of political news, on which these Medias report. For example, British mainstream Medias used to refer to London’s racial riots of 2001 and 2003 as “racist provocation”, “crime against the spirit of tolerance” and “neo-nazi conspiracy”, even though that Londoners who participated in mass rallies against their country being turned into “Northern Pakistan”, were ordinary citizens, which simply got fed up with newly arrived Muslim immigrants’ tendency to explore their “ethnic uniqueness”, by gang-raping White women. Yet, no British news outlet has dared to articulate citizens’ actual opinions about these riots. Therefore, the idea that Western Medias are being controlled by Plutocratic money-bags, closely associated with promotion of Globalization, cannot be disregarded as “anti-Semitic myth” – the objective reality points out to the fact that it is really the case.
It is important to understand that the realities of “neo-Liberal” living in Western countries continue to deprive the classical theories of journalism of their theoretical validity. For example, in his book “Deciding What’s News”, even such an ardent supporter of left-wing agenda as Herbert Gans had suggested that, while reporting news, journalists should think of ensuring society’s well-being as the primary goal of such their activity: “When journalists have autonomy, they represent the upper-middle-class professional strata in the hierarchies, and defend them, in their own vision of the good nation and society” (Gans 1979, 285). Given the fact that nowadays, many journalists consciously prefer providing citizens with information about how many times a day Britney Spears have sex, as opposed to keeping citizens aware about news that really do matter, Gans’ suggestion can no longer be thought of as such that relates to objective reality. Even many contemporary theorists of journalism do not seem to fully understand that informational implications of Globalization are being concerned with allowing world’s marginalized population to have an access to cheap and tasteless entertainment, rather then with increasing the level of people’s informational awareness.
For example, in his book “Media and Power”, James Curran talks about the true significance of Globalization as being an informational “mind-opener”: “Globalization should be considered as an emancipatory experience. It is leading to greater awareness of the international community, and increased freedom from the constraints and prejudices of home cultures” (Curran 2002, 174). We will dare to disagree – as of today, it is only the existence of Internet, which can be thought of as informational factor that unites people across national borders. However, the rise of Internet has been predetermined technologically, rather then economically or politically. The only effect of Globalization on Internet is the fact that today, 80% of world’s web traffic accounts for promotion of pornography. If we analyze the recent proposals to subject Internet to censorship, it will appear that they are being articulated by exactly the same politicians who can never get tired of praising “brave borderless world”. And what is the explanation professional “experts on tolerance” resort to, in order to justify such their stance on the issue? Do they think that maybe exposal to Internet-based sexual perversions cause people to become mentally inadequate? No. The hawks of political correctness (who simultaneously act as the promoters of Globalization) are being concerned with the fact that Internet facilitates “political extremism”. And the reason for this is simple – in the future, the promoters of neo-Liberalism expect Medias to serve the purpose of distracting citizens from the issues of socio-political importance, because then, citizens would be less likely to ask politicians inconvenient questions.
In its turn, this explains why particularly “progressive” theorists, such as Peter Golding and Philip Elliott, now imply that news values do not necessarily relate to the concepts of precision, honesty and rationale. According to both “experts”, it is namely news’ ability to serve as an entertainment, which reflects their journalistic value. Both authors go as far as suggesting that: “News values usually suggest they are surrounded by a mystique, an impenetrable cloud of verbal imprecision and conceptual obscurity” (Golding & Elliot 1999, 118). It might very well be the case, but only in the mind of both “sophisticates” – if journalists are being incapable of conveying news to people in clear and straightforward manner, then they should consider the possibility of pursuing other professional careers. It is perfectly understandable that “impenetrable cloud of verbal imprecision” and “conceptual obscurity” are being considered by Media magnates as foremost journalistic virtues, but it is doubtful whether these magnates should be given a green light, while projecting their mental inadequacy upon others, as they have been doing during the course of recent decades.
The reason why up until comparatively recent times, people were able to actually benefit from being exposed to Media news, is because it would never occur to journalists to measure news’ “value”, before deciding on whether these news are worthy of being conveyed to citizens or not. And, the reason they would not do it is simple – while executing their professional duties, journalists were expected to rely on their common sense, rather then on their knowledge of self-contradicting journalistic theories, which is often the case nowadays. In his article “Culture, the Media and the Ideological Effect”, Stuart Hall makes perfectly good point, while stating: “What passes for common sense in our society – the residue of absolutely basic and commonly agreed, conceptual wisdoms – helps us to classify out the world in simple but meaningful terms… It feels indeed, as if it has always been there (common sense), the sedimented, bedrock wisdom of ‘the race’, a form of ‘natural wisdom’, the content of which has hardly changed at all with time” (Hall 1977, 325). Even if we did not know that Hall’s article was written in 1977, we would still have no doubt as to this article being at least thirty years old, simply because had the author came up with the statement like this today, the labels of “racist”, “sexist” and “male chauvinist” would become instantly applied to him.
Nowadays, people are being brainwashed by controlled Medias to believe that such concepts as “common sense”, “rationale”, “discipline”, “intellectual honesty” etc., are utterly euro-centric, and therefore – “evil”. In multicultural society, there can be no “common sense” by definition; as well as there can be no law and order, no perceptional sanity on the part of politicians and no economic prosperity. And, it is exactly concealing an unsightly “multicultural” reality away from citizens, which is the foremost task today’s controlled Medias are being entrusted with. Why is it that during the time of hurricane Katrina, mainstream news channels were reporting on just about anything, except for the fact that, during the course of this natural disaster, New Orleans’ “ethnically unique” residents became preoccupied with looting to such an extent that National Guards had to be brought into the area, to install law and order? Why is it that violent crimes committed by Whites against Blacks are being discussed by Medias within a context of “bestial racists subjecting African-Americans to unimaginable horrors”; whereas, violent crimes committed by Blacks against Whites are being discussed by the same Medias within a context of “African-Americans defending themselves from biased White rednecks”? Why is it that different types of sexual perversity are being advertised by mainstream Medias as “alternative sex-styles”, with those who disagree with such an opinion being automatically branded by the same Medias as “bigots”?
This is because nowadays, citizens in Western countries are being gradually deprived of their constitutional rights and freedoms, with controlled Medias exercising a full-scale ideological dictatorship over people’s minds. Nowadays, Western journalists enjoy even less professional freedom as it used to be the case with Soviet journalists, who were constantly looked after by KGB agents. Therefore, there can be absolutely no doubt as to the fact that nowadays, the existence of Western Medias serves only one possible purpose – the continuous enforcement of neo-Liberal agenda.
Belien, Paul “Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship”. 2006. Brussels Journal. Web.
Cebrian, Juan “The New Journalism: We are all Paparazzi”. New Perspectives Quarterly. 15.5 (1998): 38.
Curran, James “Media and Power”. NY: Routlelge, 2002.
Dollinger, Marc “Exceptionalism and Jewish Liberalism”. American Jewish History. 90.2 (2002):161-164.
Eagleton, Terry. Ideology: An Introduction. London: Verso, 1994.
Fishman, Mark. Manufacturing the News. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.
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Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.
Gans, Herbert. Deciding what’s News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, NY: Pantheon Books, 1979.
Golding, Peter & Elliott, Phillip. Making the News. NY: Oxford University Press, 1999.
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Hall, Stuart “Culture, the Media and the Ideological Effect.” In: J. Curran, M. Gurevitch and J. Woollacott (eds.) Mass Communication and Society. London: Edward Arnold, 1977.
Pakalert, John “Six Jewish Companies Own 96% of the World’s Media”. 2009.
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