It’s a sad truth, but once you name something, it becomes a syndrome, and very quickly thereafter an untruth…
I get it. Along with everyone else I am well aware that the media – newspaper, television, radio, digital – the lot of them, consistently push politically one sided narratives. I get that there is a right-wing bubble and a left-wing bubble and that never the twain shall meet – and that therefore – you absolutely can no longer trust entirely whatever is served up to you as news.
It’s easy to speak about the people living in the ‘Fox News’ bubble – but while the politics are different, the fundamental error of outlets like CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and others, are not.
I find myself amazed – as in mouth drop open amazed – at what some of the respectable names attempt, and worse, think they can get away with.
It is true. Yes, and amen.
Also true is that there are new media sources I quite like. Every now and then I do give Joe Rogan a listen, and enjoy it. I also quite enjoy Normal World with Dave Landau and Quarter Black Garrett. And I do enjoy some news sources which come from so-called ‘alternative media’.
There is however, a sad truth we need to get to grips with.
Whenever I hear the term “Mainstream Media” (or “Legacy Media”” or “Corporate Media” for that matter – I don’t fall for little word games), I always feel a little tingle run down my spine.
Because yes, there is a problem with the media, and it does need to be fixed – but classing it all together like that implies there is a pristine alternative – and like all above-guilt utopian alternatives, what you usually end up with in practice is a steaming pile of horse manure.
I remember always reading about “Western Medicine” as a kid. Oh, Western Medicine operates according to a profit motive. Oh, Western Medicine does X, Y, and Z while the better way is A, B and C. Western Medicine makes such and such a mistake.
And again – there may well be issues and things to fix, and problems to correct, and abuses to stop, and flaws in the system.
But by classing it together we have to ask: as opposed to what?
Western Medicine may be responsible for a lot of things, but among those things you’ll find the eradication of polio and about 3 dozen worth of other deadly illnesses and diseases. Interestingly, Chakra Balancing and Aromatherapy wasn’t high on the list when it came to the battle against smallpox. Friggin Acupuncture doesn’t get whipped out when a soldier gets his ankle blown to shreds on the battlefield.
Naming things implies an obverse category. And if one category has to answer for all its own ills – then so does the other.
If mainstream media is so misguided, then absolutely wait until you see the crazed and convoluted unhinged takes cooked up in the nether regions of the internet. While CNN’s self-assured and smug lefty elitism may drive me up the wall, and MSNBC simply oozes with the stench of the fashionable racism of the day, that does not mean I am necessarily better off getting my news from some guy in his grandmother’s basement believing that “The Jews” and “The Reptilians” are ready to put their “Plan 7” into action.
There is no functional difference between mainstream and ‘new’ media – other than that the underlying delivery technology is a little different – and that only on the operational side. The mainstream at the very least have to pretend to be respectable, and while they fail a lot these days the drive to pretend is helpful. Alternative options are good to have, but not every alternative option is good to pursue. And when it comes to sources of news and truth, pursuing ‘alternatives’ is statistically a particularly risky strategy.
I get it. You might have your own very favourite fringe figure who tells you what you like to hear. I certainly have mine.
But when it comes to Mainstream Media, like Western Medicine, it is good to remember that despite all problems some institutions have done the vast majority of the heavy lifting, while in the others, damn near anything goes and no one is held to account.
This might be a bitter pill to swallow – that there are no good guys, only self interested parties and that it is the job of you – the user – to always and in every case critically digest what is being served up no matter who does the serving. We like there to be good guys, a right side, and an answer. But there aren’t, there isn’t and we won’t.
So enjoy your alternative and mainstream stuff… just remember that whenever there’s a serious Ebola outbreak there isn’t a sudden call by the UN for Reiki practitioners to show up.