October 31, 2008

Politico Discovers Media Unconscious

I was sitting in the health center waiting room the other day for my allergy shot (sort of the allergy equivalent of vaccine -- or, if you prefer, similar to the Dread Pirate Roberts' building up of an immunity to iocane) when I heard something remotely interesting on the news. It seems that the news site Politico did a study on the whole media bias thing. Guess what they found? The media, it turns out, will not admit to having ideological bias, but will chalk its obvious bias up to the need to emphasize the "big stories".

Now it's obvious to any observer not himself biased that the media has impacted the elections by overemphasizing any gaffs or even rumours of gaffs on the part of one campaign and only minimally reporting any gaffs on the part of the other. The crazies up there have managed to convince the world that a man with a short record of voting "present" is more qualified to run the country than a woman with a barely shorter record of handling a State. They've also managed to convince people that because said woman is pro-life and doesn't hate men she is anti-woman. And the list goes on, or as the Romans said, "et cetera."

So if they're obviously reporting biasedly but chalk it up to what makes good stories for the media, are they or are they not biased?

I answer that they are not conscious of their bias in favor of one ideology, but that they have gotten a bias into their heads at a deeper level that some things are more to be criticized for profit than others.

I mean to ask, nay, demand by what ojective standards is this one campaign really that much more susceptible (that is, as much more as the coverage is more) to criticism than the other? They cannot possibly tell us, nor anyone. Therefore I conclude they are not biased in a conscious belief that one must win over the other, but in an unconscious belief that one should be better and thus less criticizible than the other.

I would say furthermore that if they are reporting based on interest/impact in the story rather than based on whether it's info the people should know, they are clearly in their job for the business more than for the truth. It's like that editor of the small paper in New York that reports on Spiderman: it just sells the paper so much better to question whether the superhero is a villain, but is better-selling papers a justificiation or is that editor more concerned about his salary than about bringing people the truth? He may talk about how he's the only guy who will tell people about Spiderman as if he were aiding spread of the truth, but we know that's the quietus he's given his own conscience. Similarly, I think the media in the real world have convinced themselves that they're just trying to do their jobs when in fact two things are amiss: an inordinate love of their own business and/or its profit over the truth, and a bias as to what issues should be of more interest (and therefore sell better).

We were told long ago by whoever wrote the Proverbs of the Bible that the love of money (not money itself, mind you) is the root of all evil. Greed, I seem to recall, is one of the Seven Deadly Sins -- that is, the main sins that form a foundation for much more sin and which whole genres, as it were, of sins build onto. I strongly suspect an ignored greed problem on the part of the media.

Socrates taught us that wisdom cannot be possessed, only pursued. He was speaking against the tendency we humans have to assume we know and thereby cut ourselves off from considering whether we do know the thing we think we know or may on the contrary be mistaken. In doing so he was bringing to light a far more dangerous unconscious than Freud could imagine. For Freud's subconscious is not stronger than conscious, rational thought, whatever Freud may have imagined. But to allow one's rational thought to be a pawn of never genuinely considered assumptions, as to refuse to consider the possibility of error in whatever conclusion one reached when basing other things off that conclusion, now that is a lack of consciousness that can only be overcome by choosing to do the consideration one has been neglecting.

It seems there is a dangerous media unconscious indeed at work in our nation.

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Blogger Immortal Philosopher said...

Quite so!

I would only addone thing. Not only are they inordinately concerned about money, they are also "afraid" of the truth. The truth is uncomfortable. It doesn't sell. It just isn't good for people, etc. The two, fear of truth and love of money, are inextricably linked. I think they love the money because they fear the truth, and vice versa.

November 02, 2008 2:08 PM  

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