The mainstream corporate media is losing its Big Brother authority.
The internet is making news more democratic.
The mainstream corporate media will, of course, try to fight back, and their chief strategy, at the moment, is calling non-corporate news “fake news.” And, further, saying that conservatives are more likely to report “fake news.” And further, implying that most “conservatives” are “white nationalists.”
But the genie is out of the bottle.
The latest federal election, and democratic conversation/sharing on the internet (because news is more than facts—it is also which facts one chooses to share) has exposed corporate media as the most dangerous purveyors of fake news.
And then there’s the truly crazy: the mainstream corporate media.
Here’s a radical idea. We don’t need anything resembling a mainstream media.
There’s only two things that matter: 1. The people and 2. the government. These two are sacred. Human happiness on one hand; keepers of the contract, on the other.
The media is merely an extension of how these two sacred entities talk to each other. And, if “the media” can’t agree, if “the media” is full of “fake news” agencies, and is a chorus of warring opinions, this is good for democracy.
A ‘one voice’ media is the greatest enemy of democracy.
So if president-elect Trump talks to Taiwan, he does so as our elected official. The media should not 1. Talk in any official capacity to Taiwan. 2. Be privy to exactly what is spoken between our elected official and Taiwan. 3. Tell the elected official whether or not he can talk to Taiwan. 4. Tell the elected official what to say to Taiwan. The “media” is nothing but a meddling interloper if it assumes it can do any of these things. The corporate media in the United States, until very recently, has been such a powerful influence in every person’s life, that this may come as a surprise to some. But soon it will not be a surprise, since the corporate media is being replaced by the democratic internet, and the truth is now apparent: all along, the media was simply a physical entity to help government and people communicate with each other—it was not meant to replace the government’s role, nor the people’s role to interpret all actions of government for themselves.
There is nothing sacred about CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post or CBS. Or even PBS. These organizations belong to a physical entity—which serves not government, not the people, but the widest possible interpretation of the government’s actions and the people’s responses to those actions. The media’s job is not to be the final word, or fact, on anything. This is absolutely not what the media is for, and, in fact, anyone who believes this is the media’s role, believes in tyranny, not democracy.
We can argue about “fake news” forever as we wander into that accusatory hall of mirrors, in which various media outlets claim a sacred legitimacy—but this would be to miss a much larger, and much more important point. Warring opinions mean less war. Freedom of speech means disagreement, never agreement; for if agreement were ever reached, freedom of speech would then be irrelevant.
The greatest enemy of civilization is slander. We should not fear “fake news,” per se; what we truly need to guard against, beyond simple errors of fact (a mundane topic), is slander.
In a recent Washington Post piece, “How The War Against Fake News Backfired,” which attempts to be the ‘voice of reason’ on “fake news,” the term “white nationalist” is affixed to “conservative” in a (fake casual) manner that implies these terms mean the same thing. This Washington Post rhetoric is dangerously fake and injurious—as bad as anything a “fake news” outlet might serve up.
The media belongs to the realm of opinion, not governance. The media impacts government in the same way the opinion of a jury impacts the law—the opinion of the media is not, in itself, important; only the freedom of opinion presented in the media is important.
The only way to keep this great wrong—slander—in check, is to seek facts, and how they are being interpreted, in many quarters—to listen, not sometimes, but always, to every side.
Long live democracy.
Long live fake news.