Media tell us that we have reached the post fact era. But to me it seems more that we have just reached a new level within an era that has started a long time ago. The Greeks complained already 500 BC that the good speaker can undermine democracy. Propaganda and so-called framing have aggravated this problem exponentially. Facts are distorted and reality is framed with the aim of manufacturing consent of the population. The one-sided reporting about Crimea or Syria are just the recent examples.
“We had the misfortune of actually trying to talk about the problems facing America and providing real solutions,” Sanders said in an interview with DemocracyNow. With the new president-elect, media manipulation might just add a new modus operandi: Do not speak about the real problems. Let the masses care about the private lives of famous actors, football players and other celebrities, entertain them with sports events, soap operas and the latest Hollywood productions but do not let them come in contact with real political questions. Politics in the ‘post fact’ era is reduced to the vulgar utterances and the public’s reaction to them.
As we have seen during the election campaign, Trump’s nonsense lacking most political substance was given fare more media coverage than Bernie Sanders’s statements of the factual policy. Trump received between $1 and $3 billion of free air time. In comparison, Trump got between 16 to 320 times more air time than Sanders. Addressing real problems earns you the boycott of the establishment, especially the media.
It might be a systemic problem, intrinsic to capitalism itself. As CBS chief executive Les Moonves said at a conference in San Francisco the Trump spectacle “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS” as “CNN will make approximately $100 million in television and digital advertising revenues more than it would expect in the typical election year,”.
But it might as well be a desired development for the establishment. In a world where the gap between rich an poor is vaster than 1929 and two main disasters – atomic holocaust and climate change – are looming at the horizon, the world economy needs a drastic correction moving away from fossil fuel and war-profiteering.
Capitalist economic surplus is extremely unevenly distributed. The 0.1%, the establishment, do not want the masses partake in this surplus and therefore do not want a change. Their attention diverted to exaggerated threats like global terrorism the masses are made to consent. Consent to give up basic rights and consent to be relegated of decision making by the rulers. Meanwhile the masses fear terror and are outraged by disgusting tweets, the 0.1% go on cashing in the profits and ignoring the world’s looming catastrophes.
News and infotainment that keep discussing the emperor’s clothes are nothing new. But with the absence of even addressing the real problems, the manufacturing of consent has reached a new extreme.
1 How the Media Iced Out Bernie Sanders & Helped Donald Trump Win, https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/1/how_the_media_iced_out_bernie
5 Compared to the danger of nuclear war or global warming, the terror victims in Europe much less than those of car accidents or even being crushed by a unstable television! (cf. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/11/23/youre-more-likely-to-be-fatally-crushed-by-furniture-than-killed-by-a-terrorist/?utm_term=.471d73264830)