The Myth of the Media

All politicians have to rely upon "the media" to get their message to Americans.  Giving speeches reaches few people, and those it reaches nearly all favor the politician giving the speech anyway.  All federal politicians live in that surreal Land of Oz on the Potomac, which is utterly disconnected with the lives of those they purport to represent.

So what are "the media" anyway?  The simple answer is that there is no such entity as "media."  Once, many decades ago, we had something like the semblance of a media establishment in municipal newspapers, which carried on the front page more information than an entire thirty-minute news program.

These media were connected to geographical community, so their bias had to be tempered with the interests and demands of a town or a city.  These newspapers could not simply parrot the party line and hope to succeed commercially. Cities and towns valued genuine objectivity or at least neutrality, with real facts reported.

There were a handful of newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post that had the luxury of a national audience, but most had to cater to the genuinely diverse interests and needs of a metropolitan readership.  There were also a handful of national news magazines, but these had only modest impact on opinion.

Broadcasting changed all that, and the internet has changed it even more.  Now what we call "the media" are simply appendages of rich corporations or ideologically specific news outlets in cyberspace.  The vast majority of Americans ignore those media outlets that offend their values or politics, and this, in turn, means that these media outlets ignore those who disagree with them.

What makes this even more myopic is that nearly all the national news outlets are geographically located close to each other and close to Washington, D.C. or New York City and so have the same points of reference even when these media outlets have different philosophical viewpoints. 

Flyover Country, in this respect, seems more like a system of colonial possessions than an integral part of the nation.  The incestuous relationship between federal politicians and national news media outlets makes these outlets even more narrow-minded, lazy, and corrupt. 

Most Americans sense this, even if using terms like "the media" sometimes prevents them from seeing clearly that "the media" are simply a collection of rich corporations who represent the true makers and controllers of wealth: the federal government. 

Recognizing the meaninglessness of "the media" also means that conservatives ought to understand how the left gets its message to America.  Leftists infest public school systems; universities (particularly the soft pseudo-sciences like sociology); government bureaucracies, which churn out "facts" that are nothing more than shopworn nostrums of leftism from fifty years ago; vast nonprofit organizations; and, increasingly, the bureaucracies of large corporations whose executives were brainwashed in academia and whose board members invariably seek the easy way out of conflicts (i.e., surrendering quietly to the left for peace and quiet).

What does this mean for conservatives trying to restore honesty, seriousness, and freedom to the thinking and the deliberations of our nation, its government, and its citizens?  Here are a few ideas.

Conservatives ought to stop complaining about "the media" and state instead that all of us constitute a part of the flow of ideas, facts, values, and opinions that form our national discussion of issues and policies.  The term "Malefactors of Great Wealth," a Progressive phrase of a century ago, might well be used to attack the monopoly these few great corporations have as a stranglehold on the national discussion. 

Conservatives ought to decry the use of publicly funded institutions like educational and governmental offices to enter into this national discussion, because these exist to serve and not to govern us.  Indeed, these all have an enormous vested interest in leftist dogma, which invariably proposes more money and power to these institutions out of the public trough as a solution to social problems.

Conservatives ought to attack "Capitolism," or the geographical domination that tiny bits of the map of America exercise over the rest of us.  Propose moving the Federal District to the Midwest or South or Rocky Mountains, and then suggest that periodically moving the nation's capital would be a healthy step toward returning the federal government back to the governed.

When these lines of attack are seriously pursued, we will begin to win back America.  Until there is a bold charge like this, we can never win.

All politicians have to rely upon "the media" to get their message to Americans.  Giving speeches reaches few people, and those it reaches nearly all favor the politician giving the speech anyway.  All federal politicians live in that surreal Land of Oz on the Potomac, which is utterly disconnected with the lives of those they purport to represent.

So what are "the media" anyway?  The simple answer is that there is no such entity as "media."  Once, many decades ago, we had something like the semblance of a media establishment in municipal newspapers, which carried on the front page more information than an entire thirty-minute news program.

These media were connected to geographical community, so their bias had to be tempered with the interests and demands of a town or a city.  These newspapers could not simply parrot the party line and hope to succeed commercially. Cities and towns valued genuine objectivity or at least neutrality, with real facts reported.

There were a handful of newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post that had the luxury of a national audience, but most had to cater to the genuinely diverse interests and needs of a metropolitan readership.  There were also a handful of national news magazines, but these had only modest impact on opinion.

Broadcasting changed all that, and the internet has changed it even more.  Now what we call "the media" are simply appendages of rich corporations or ideologically specific news outlets in cyberspace.  The vast majority of Americans ignore those media outlets that offend their values or politics, and this, in turn, means that these media outlets ignore those who disagree with them.

What makes this even more myopic is that nearly all the national news outlets are geographically located close to each other and close to Washington, D.C. or New York City and so have the same points of reference even when these media outlets have different philosophical viewpoints. 

Flyover Country, in this respect, seems more like a system of colonial possessions than an integral part of the nation.  The incestuous relationship between federal politicians and national news media outlets makes these outlets even more narrow-minded, lazy, and corrupt. 

Most Americans sense this, even if using terms like "the media" sometimes prevents them from seeing clearly that "the media" are simply a collection of rich corporations who represent the true makers and controllers of wealth: the federal government. 

Recognizing the meaninglessness of "the media" also means that conservatives ought to understand how the left gets its message to America.  Leftists infest public school systems; universities (particularly the soft pseudo-sciences like sociology); government bureaucracies, which churn out "facts" that are nothing more than shopworn nostrums of leftism from fifty years ago; vast nonprofit organizations; and, increasingly, the bureaucracies of large corporations whose executives were brainwashed in academia and whose board members invariably seek the easy way out of conflicts (i.e., surrendering quietly to the left for peace and quiet).

What does this mean for conservatives trying to restore honesty, seriousness, and freedom to the thinking and the deliberations of our nation, its government, and its citizens?  Here are a few ideas.

Conservatives ought to stop complaining about "the media" and state instead that all of us constitute a part of the flow of ideas, facts, values, and opinions that form our national discussion of issues and policies.  The term "Malefactors of Great Wealth," a Progressive phrase of a century ago, might well be used to attack the monopoly these few great corporations have as a stranglehold on the national discussion. 

Conservatives ought to decry the use of publicly funded institutions like educational and governmental offices to enter into this national discussion, because these exist to serve and not to govern us.  Indeed, these all have an enormous vested interest in leftist dogma, which invariably proposes more money and power to these institutions out of the public trough as a solution to social problems.

Conservatives ought to attack "Capitolism," or the geographical domination that tiny bits of the map of America exercise over the rest of us.  Propose moving the Federal District to the Midwest or South or Rocky Mountains, and then suggest that periodically moving the nation's capital would be a healthy step toward returning the federal government back to the governed.

When these lines of attack are seriously pursued, we will begin to win back America.  Until there is a bold charge like this, we can never win.