Karl over at Patterico’s Pontifications has taken Ace’s reworking of Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and given us a primer on how the Old Media and the New Media operate in the 21st Century. This one post is more valuable than an entire semester of journalism classes.
I usually treat the establishment’s media bias like the weather in Forks, WA — sought by vampires, simply endured by normal people. Nevertheless, I was recently tickled by Ace’s twist on Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent:
Suppose there are five possible plausible public reactions to an event or initiative. A, B, C, D, and E, ranging from rightist to leftist, and A and E representing the extremes.
Media debate tends to package C and D — C, a centrist reaction, and D, a left-center but still mainstream-ish reaction — as the only two possible reactions, and debates the issue without reference to A, B, and E, as if they don’t exist, or, if they do mention them, they are dismissed peremptorily as extremist and wack-a-doo and “not serious.”
Thus, at the end of the day, the public does get to “choose”… but only from the two options the media has pre-screened as permissible, C and D. Thus, consent of the governed has been “manufactured” — sure, the public chooses between C and D, but their choice was forced — as a magician forces a card on you — by a media that carefully insulated them from genuine consideration of A, B, and E.
However, the toxicity of the current political environment is better explained by the slow collapse of this model.