The Revolt of the Media

August 6, 2016 in News by RBN Staff


Way back in the olden thymes, “the media” was the local newspaper, news radio and the evening news on the television. My father would read the paper every evening after dinner, while my mother would watch the evening news. Once in a while my mother would put on the radio and listen to the news channel, but that was rare. If the people in charge wanted to get the attention of the peasants, they had to do it in those small windows when people paid any attention to the news.

We live in a different age, but it is a very new age. We are saturated with media. Young people have no frame of reference so they just assume it has always been thus, but our modern mass media culture is one of those rare things that is truly new. It really was not so long ago when it was easy to be entirely uninformed about the world. It took great effort to be well informed. That’s not to say we are all worldly cosmopolitans, but the world is literally at our fingertips. More important, media is everywhere and it hard to escape it.

This newness means that the people in charge have struggled to put it to their uses. Buying off a few newspaper publishers was easy. Controlling the three TV networks required hardly any effort at all. A free wheeling mass media with millions of bloggers, podcasters and small outlets is a different task. Rounding up the farm’s bull is a hard job, but rounding up all the barn cats is actually much tougher. The former can get you killed, but the latter has a maddening number of variables.

When the masses started to get on-line, the “media experts” said it was ushering in an era of wonderfulness because the people would now have a say. The news would be interactive! It was not that long ago when every Progressive commentator went on and on about the wonderfulness of interactive media. I used to laugh at it as I was on-line long before the media airheads had heard of the internet. I knew those hothouse flowers would not last very long in the rough and tumble world of the internet, but like missionaries headed off to the the jungle, they were sure it was going to be great.

I was thinking about that yesterday when National Review announced they had been taken over by Facebook. Like a lot of these sites, they learned the hard way that their audience was not going to just nod along and clap when instructed. Instead, they posted articles and the comments filled up with ridicule and criticism. That led to lots of comments from NR writers about the awfulness of the comment threads. Now that millennial pansies are in charge, they have turned it over to Facebook to police their comments.

It turns out that popular opinion is not all that popular with the people in the media. All over, news and opinion sites are clamping down on comments. They are heavily policed or they are shut down entirely. Twitter has allowed a band of angry lesbians to take over the moderation duties. Reddit hired Chinese grifter Ellen Pao to chase off the bad thinkers. Faceberg, of course, is run by howling lunatics, who ban people for any deviation from the orthodoxy. The media is slowly shutting down public comment in a rather deliberate effort to shut down dissent.

This started a couple of years ago, but the process has been accelerating. The claim from the media is the comment sections are revolting. Coincidentally, it is happening just when the public is revolting. It also coincides with a sudden solidarity among the media. They no longer seem to be divided along ideological lines. Now, they are quite unified. Read National Review, for example, and you could be forgiven for thinking it is New York Magazine or Salon. Glenn Beck, once the scourge of the Left, is now getting a sex change and supporting Clinton.

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