Reports of journalists attending the Conservative Party Conference being spat at prompted the following headline on Yahoo News: “Hatred of the press is reaching toxic levels”. An ungenerous person might be tempted to remark that this is scant surprise given the great height from which the journos have been spitting on the rest of us for so many years. That, however, would be ungallant and unjust. Ad revenues are down, staff have been cut, and ‘click-bait’ is what brings in the punters, not in-depth or reasoned reporting.
The wretched hacks never stood a chance, for as the tech community never tires of telling us, we are in the midst of a revolution. While print circulations spiral ever downwards, the legacy media’s web-based counterparts are just about able to compensate, provided that costs are kept low. This favours a style of reporting that, like so many other aspects of networked culture, unthinkingly adopted by the masses—without any understanding of the (frequently bizarre) military-industrial/counter-culture complex that shapes executive decision-making on the West Coast of the United States—has rapidly become established as the de facto standard throughout the media industry.
Lacking the intellectual architecture to report on, let alone analyse current affairs, the legacy media resorts to trolling. Most readily associated with provocative comments ‘below the line’, written with the express purpose of eliciting an emotional response, trolling also takes place ‘above the line’—and with increasing frequency. Why? Trolling works. Millions of people visit the websites of The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Spectator and Brietbart London to receive a daily dose of outrage porn.
Understanding why people consent to this mild but persistent form of emotional abuse would require a team of psychologists, but it is my pet theory that many people are attracted to these “prestigious” sites by the readily accessibile comments section and the prospect (if not the actuality) of a captive audience. They vent and then they go back to sleep. However, the process is destructive rather than constructive. As a result, people will eventually tire of it and begin to wonder about what else they could be doing with their time.
The legacy media fears boredom and apathy (towards its offerings) above all else, so, for want of a coherent worldview, the intensity of the trolling will increase, driving smarter people even further out towards the periphery. The fear and confusion that the journos peddle—more often than not as a result of their own ignorance—is approaching a stage where near-on everybody with an ounce of self-respect is ready for something new.
…utterly unfit to cover the news
Part way through writing this piece, I was not sure that I wanted publish it. I was concerned that the topic was too theoretical and I was not happy with some of my descriptions of the more esoteric concepts, then a new media colleague posted the following message on Twitter, “This is how dumbed down our public service broadcaster has become. The BBC is utterly unfit to cover the news”, accompanied by a link to the following:
I am of the opinion that there is a large constituency of people who would like to embrace something better than what the legacy media provides, something that acknowledges that political debate is a matter for adults and engages in genuine dialogue. The aim of this blog therefore is to offer the kind of information and opinion that is condusive of reasoned debate. If you are not yet ready to abandon the security blanket of the legacy media then at least you may have access to an alternative—something to compare and contrast.
Unlike the legacy media I shall not troll my readers. The legacy media has little to offer except fear and confusion; their rotating ‘narrative’ kalidescope, which distorts debate through omission and misunderstanding, cannot possibly match a coherent intellectual architecture, which provides an essential aid to clear and critical thinking. Here, the fundamentally supranational (“above the nation”) nature of the EU institutions will be taken for granted, rather than denied, which, I think that you will find, clarifies, rather than confuses.
To that end, unless the main players in the legacy media considerably up their game, I see no use for their ramblings other than as entertainment and distraction. The aim is for this blog to become a place for real reflection, so, come one, come all—europhiles, eurosceptics, Brexiteers and Flexciteers—the legacy media no longer demands our active engagement, so let us instead engage with one another and get to the bottom of this matter of Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Finally, in the spirit of intelligence-led campaigning, I have a stack of books about global governance and where the various nation-states, along with the EU, fit into this matrix of connections. There is much more work to be done to develop the Weltanschauung to report on these issues with any degree of authority. I shall return.