Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MSM: The Left's Most Braying Asset

No time to post anything new this morning. However, after having absorbed Van der Leun's inspired dyseulogy of the MSM, Our Cracked Bells Will Bleat Until You Love Us, it called to mind an early post of mine dealing with the media. It was written back when my readership was quite small. Being that it now often reaches the high double digits, I'm guessing that there must be dozens of you for whom it will be entirely more of the same.


It should come as no surprise that the divide between left and right in this country is mirrored in the divide between television and radio. With the exception of Fox--which is really more populist than conservative--television news is overwhelmingly to the left, whereas talk radio is overwhelmingly to the right.

The utter failure of Air America just proves the point. Since liberals habitually project their anger and hatred into conservatives, they literally experience them as propagating "hate radio." Therefore, they think that success lies in providing a mirror image of the hatred they feel when they hear conservatives speak. This is why if you tune into Air America and submit yourself to the likes of Randi Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, or Ed Schultz, you will be treated to little more than unmitigated anger, contempt, smirking, and painfully forced adolescent humor.

Likewise, it is very difficult for conservative ideas to compete against the downward emotional pull of histrionic television liberalism. It is much more difficult to wrestle with a weak mind than a strong one. I haven't won an argument yet with my one year-old.

Perhaps surprisingly, the other ideal forum for liberalism is academia. However, the humanities have largely been reduced to an echo chamber of self-validation of liberal ideas that never have to be tested against reality and especially never have to be defended in debate with intellectual equals; imagine Noam Chomsky having to defend his fixed delusional system to informed radio callers instead of the addle-brained college students and moonbat bloggers who idealize him.

For years, liberal newspapers have also been able to shield themselves from honest debate, which is why their readership will continue to plummet, now that there is a choice. None of their editors could survive a day in talk radio, nor would ideas and opinions so predictably lame attract much interest in the blogosphere. In fact, they wouldn'’t even be able to withstand an interview with Bill O'Reilly.

Television is the ideal medium to propagate liberalism, since it is so rooted in emotion rather than thought. Listening involves entering a detached, abstract world of knowledge and meaning, whereas television is an immediate, concrete world of pictures and images. So often, television reports a story as news simply because they happen to have some dramatic pictures to show you. On the other hand, important events with no pictures are not even recognized, much less reported.

Language is an abstraction from experience, while pictures are a concrete representation of it. Pictures do not show concepts, but things. As Neil Postman, author of The Disappearance of Childhood, puts it, unlike sentences, pictures are irrefutable. "A picture does not put forward a proposition, it implies no negation of itself, there are no rules of evidence or logic to which it must conform." Yet, these images "provide a primitive but irresistible alternative to linear and sequential logic,” rendering “the rigors of a literate education irrelevant." Watching television requires no skills and develops none. To paraphrase Postman, there is no one so disabled that he is disabled from staring at the TV.

The really pernicious thing about television is that it provides the illusion that it is simply depicting reality, when it is actually deifying our most primitive way of knowing the world. That is, there is no knowledge at the level of the senses. Television replaces truth with facts, but as Richard Weaver pointed out in his Ideas Have Consequences, it is a characteristic of the barbarian to believe that it is possible to grasp the world “barehanded,” without the symbolic imagination to mediate what the senses are telling us.

We are then faced with the "ravages of immediacy," for without imagination, reality is simply a brute fact with nothing to spiritualize it. The world shrinks down to our simplest way--animal way, really--of knowing it, and with it, our souls constrict correspondingly. In this regard, postmodern skepticism is provincialism of the worst sort, as it imagines that it is getting closer to the reality of things, when it is actually getting more and more distant--like pulverizing a work of art into smaller and smaller parts to try to get at its meaning.

People generally don't realize that it is possible to substitute facts for truth, to replace the higher reality perceived by the intellect and imagination with the lower reality perceived by the senses. When that happens, we literally become disoriented, away from the center and toward the periphery of existence. Today we live in an age in which we are being invaded by horizontal media barbarians who would ruthlessly strip aside the veils of the imagination to try to get at what's real, only to find that there is nothing there. Certainly nothing worth living or fighting for.

Recently we witnessed an orgy of self-congratulation in the liberal media for their brave and unblinking television coverage of hurricane Katrina--for showing America the FACE OF POVERTY, and ripping away our hypocritical pretensions of racial fairness.

True enough, those television pictures did depict a lot of black people. On the face of it, this should not have been altogether surprising, since New Orleans is two thirds black. Therefore, it would have been a statistical anomaly if at least two thirds of the victims had not been black.

As it eventually turned out, the victims were not disproportionately poor. Even so, the television pictures told us absolutely nothing about them except the shade of their skin. In this regard, it is the medium of television (not to mention liberalism in general) that dehumanizes and diminishes blacks and strips them of any other trait, good or bad. They are simply black. And poor. And it is not their fault. Because white people hate them. This is the unconscious template the MSM uses in every story that touches on race. I don'’t recall ever seeing a story in the MSM that focused on what blacks needed to do for themselves as opposed to what whites had done to them and needed to do for them. Therefore, the liberal racial narrative is never about blacks at all, only about the reinforcement of white guilt.

Since television images are atemporal, we do not see that the pictures may well be showing something that is actually the consequence of a bad idea that is not visible on screen--such as the idea that the traditional family is a patriarchal instrument of oppression, or that children do not need a mother and father, or that if restraints on sexual expression are removed we will live in a kind of secular paradise of instinctual free expression. The destructive ideas hatched by white liberal professors do no immediate damage to the professors themselves, so they never see their extraordinarily pathological consequences. They do not see that blacks are in fact the canaries of the liberal ghoul mind.

While there are certainly undeservedly poor people in America, what the television pictures cannot show is that very few people stay in the bottom quintile of income distribution their whole lives. Rather, people are constantly moving in and out of the bottom, and there are very clear behaviors associated with those who stay at the bottom and those who manage to get out.

For example, children born out of wedlock are seven times more likely to live in poverty, and two thirds of all children living in poverty come from single parent homes. Add to this the well known statistic that seventy percent of black children are born out of wedlock, and the television pictures begin to make more sense. The poverty rate of black children who come from an intact traditional family with mother and father is nearly identical to non-black children in the same fortunate circumstance.

But by portraying the poor as victimized automatons, the envious and bitter victim finds his envy and bitterness validated by television, so that he may loot and pillage in good conscience, since he is simply claiming those things that have been unfairly denied him through no doing of his own. Come to think of it, when the angry and entitled victim is exonerated for stealing a giant plasma television, it is just the medium of television looking out for one of its own.

Imagine an educational establishment that was not run by liberals. For example, in "sex education" class, they might teach high school students that traditional marriage is the most appropriate outlet for sexuality, or about the archetypal differences between men and women, or about the disastrous economic consequences of having children out of wedlock, or about how not being married carries the approximate health risk of smoking cigarettes (since people who are married live significantly longer and healthier lives on average).

But what are the chances? Liberals are too busy teaching all about family diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice, when the surest route to social justice is the decidedly un-diverse monoculturalism represented by the traditional family. And that system is totally rigged to benefit people who don't make stupid decisions.

You can't reason with a liberal, because they're too immature to know what's good for them.


karrde said...

The Disappearance of Childhood...

It's been a little while since I read that book. Postman did an excellent job of showing what childhood is, where it came from, and why it disappears.

By the time I was done reading his book, I had come to the same conclusions that you give here. Perhaps with less focus on the partisan nature of the divide between radio and television, but the same understanding.

After which, I thanked my parents for reading me books when I was a child, rather than giving me TV shows to watch.

Lisa said...

Okay, there are 2 hilarious videos on at The Jawa Report. You have to check out the women eating spaghetti in burkas! (If that is not a reason alone for fighting and winning this Cosmic War, I don't know what is!) and Carlos Mencia's comedy routine on making fun of Muslims!
keep scrolling down till you get to videos.

Hoarhey said...

TV in unregulated quantities makes me stupid.
It’s amazing how people assume that if you don’t watch TV you’re uninformed. That is until the political debate begins.
A decade and a half ago I moved North into the woods and so began my time with little or no television. I noticed early on that when I was around a television it had a hypnotic pull on me. Even when engaged in a conversation, I would find myself looking over at the television despite it being too far away to discern what was on. I came to find that it was doing my thinking and forming my opinions subliminally without my realizing it. About the same time I found myself beginning get a clue about the workings of the world and what was going on around me. Television for me was a great brainwashing machine and knowing what I know now, I see its effects on others. Ask a person which cable channels they watch and it's a dead giveaway to their political opinions. Although it pains me to see the negative influence which T.V. exerts on people, I still have to step back and say ”forgive them, for the automotons have not yet learned how to think for themselves”. I guess if used in a purely entertaining manner limited T.V. can be benign, though in these times especially, it does much more harm than good.

m. andreyakovich said...

"Television is chewing gum for the eyes." - Frank Lloyd Wright

michael andreyakovich said...

There's maybe four shows on TV I watch regularly; I can take or leave the rest, to be honest with you. TV, in general, lost its luster for me when Mystery Science Theater 3000 went off the air.

Anonymous said...

I've posted on this before, so I'll try to keep my personal rage out of it. My mother retired fifteen years ago, plopped down in front of the tube, and hasn't got up since. Fifteen years of nothing but television from the moment she awakens until she falls asleep with it at night.
I see other seniors like my wife's mother, and her friends, some of whom who are older, and actually in poorer health. They love life. They get out. They do things. They have interests. They have friends. My mother has become a hollow shell. She has no love for life whatsoever.
Most of her conversation starts with "You should watch this" Dr. Phil has people in a Menonite cult- anorexic teens- domestic violence. They're going to remove a hundred pound tumor from some poor slob from Paraguay. Watch liposuction live. Oh, abused animals. Gee that was really sad about those people who got killed... Meanwhile she sits and counts the days until she can just die.

I can't stand to even talk to her. Her presence is a black hole that sucks life and joy right out of the air.

How prophetic Ray Bradbury was in Farenheit 451, where people lived their lives in a television trance, preferring it to the world of face to face encounters.

I noticed we had a brief visit from some barking moonbat earlier today. I even checked the blog. This moron is in his fifties. He sounded just like the perpetually aggrieved twenty-somethings on Kos.

While I'm rolling on moonbatus domesticus, canadiansis and europiensis. I mentioned about having to exercise my moderator's judgment and drop a few posts from a toy-geek BBS. Speak of the perpetually aggrieved! I would have thought most adults would just say, "oh, well, no biggy, let's talk toy robots." My (and the other mod's)action spawned a flurry of thousand word PM's to myself, the other mod's, the board owner, indignant posts about- feh, you've heard it all before. Whining, indignant, oh so badly affronted, so trampled on, so hurt. It speaks volumes about the leftist mindset that they can't even talk about an innocuous hobby without bringing their political BS to the table. Anyway, my wife will be home soon. We're going out for tacos. MMMM.


jwm said...

Hey! how did I get that anonymous thing? I'm me dammit! I've been oppressed, stifled, my identity stolen by evil on-line djinns.
This is an outrage! I protest!


Gagdad Bob said...

A TV Mama of a different sort, by Big Joe Turner:

I was in my bed a'sleepin', oh-boy, what a dream
I was in my bed sleepin', oh-boy, what a dream
I was dreamin' 'bout my TV Mama, the one with the big, wide screen
She got great big eyes and little bitty feet and in the waist, she's so nice and neat
She's my TV Mama, one with the big, wide screen
Every time she loves me, man, I'm bound to scream

jwm said...

I'm the Slime
by Frank Zappa

I am gross and perverted
I’m obsessed ’n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little had changed
I am the tool of the government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can’t look away
I make you think I’m delicious
With the stuff that I say
I am the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I am the slime oozin’ out
From your tv set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don’t need you
Don’t got for one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That’s right, folks..
Don’t touch that dial

Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin’ along on your livin’room floor

I am the slime from your video
Can’t stop the slime, people, lookit me go


will said...

I'm gonna stand up, partly, for tv.

My Ten Reasons For Watching TV

(1) Fox News in general, Brit Hume in particular.
(2) The occasional cable TV series or drama, eg., HBO's Elizabeth.
(3) South Park
(4) White Sox/Cub games on steamy week nights (while reading baseball avatar/guru Bill James)
(5) C-Span's weekend book coverage featuring panels, lectures, interviews with authors
(6) Some really decent films, foreign and domestic, on cable.
(7) Infotainment in the wee hours. Not kidding. It's an out-of-body experience. Any day (night) now, I expect to see an infotainment Lisa, talking up MBTs.
(8) Let's fact it, tv is not bad for breaking news. Tell the truth, when you hear the dramatic music and see the "Breaking News" come up on the screen, don't you drop what you're doing and watch?
(9) History Channel, though I think they've slipped a bit.
(10) Fergus the Cat likes to sleep on top of the tv. I have to keep an eye on him so he doesn't roll off.

jwm said...

Good points, Will. And last week they had Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky" on Turner- subtitled with no commercials. Miyazaki for free. That's as good as it gets.


Gagdad Bob said...

Of course we are speaking in generalizations. I know that Petey never misses an episode of the Golden Girls.

will said...

For what it's worth:

Last time I saw the Rolling Stones in concert, I had great seats, second row, slightly stage left. Jagger is doing his thang mere yards from me - and yet I'm mesmorized by the Jagger on the Jumbo Screen.

Well, the Jumbos might bring a curious interactivity to such mass events. You see individuals in the crowd reacting to the music - you might even see yourself - as well as the performers.

BabbaZee said...

Gagdad ~
Hail, Blogssiah...
I just ordered your book.
I'll be back when I've read it...

Sal said...

It occurs to me that the reason I don't care for Laura Ingraham's show is that of all the talk shows I listen to, it's the most like TV: the quick cut montages, the sound effects, the sophomoric humor done to death.

we were an extra two days out of town - husband wound up in the hospital with a kidney infection. He's on the mend, but it was a wearing experience.

BUT- one of the books on CD we took with us was Tey's "The Daughter of Time". No spoilers for those who haven't read it - but it's a vivid illustration of the muddying up of history and the tenacity of those who know what they know, whether it's true or not.

Lisa said...

Will - (7) Infotainment in the wee hours. Not kidding. It's an out-of-body experience. Any day (night) now, I expect to see an infotainment Lisa, talking up MBTs.

I am not sure if that is a compliment or a slam! Ha Ha! I am not quite that obnoxious yet! Did you check out a pair yet? You feel like moving in leaps and bounds. They are very bouncy and fun.

I also have to admit that I have made some life choices loosely based on TV! ;0) I went to boarding school for 2 years because of Facts of Life. It looked like fun on TV and was better than hanging around a new school and parents getting divorced! Hey, give me a break, I was a kid of the 70s, teenager of MTV. I am suprised I am still alive! ( TiVo)DVR has completely changed my TV life. It is much less and better quality. Reality TV is just horrible and mean and scripted and unentertaining. Internet has overtaken the TV. I feel like I am back in college because I can learn so much from all the different resources online. It's way cheaper and you don't have to tolerate all those moonbat loser leftover 60s professors who can't get fired.

jwm said...

I know that Petey never misses an episode of the Golden Girls.
One of the more distressing moments in life is when you see reruns of the Golden Girls, and Blanche starts lookin' pretty hot.

Hail BabbaZee!
(fasten your seatbelts, gang)


will said...

Lisa, was a total compliment.

Some wonderful things about infotainment:

- It's great family viewing for the family that is up at 3:00 AM.

- It gives out of work actors, including has-beens, a paying job playing mc, host/hostess, and interlocuter. "Jerry, that's really interesting! But what are the advantages of wearing sunglasses that allow you to see what's behind you?"

- It's pure capitalism at work. Individual enterprise and initiative in the spotlight. Some guy invents a better juicer-izer or a new way to beat probate and the world will beat a path to his door, providing he can shell out the $$ for an hour and a half in the "to be announced" tv time slots. OK, some of infotainment enterprisers seem delicately close to pushing ponzi schemes, but hey - this is America where you get the very best with some of the very worst.

- You can learn stuff.

- The talk is very civilized, if sometimes overly enthusiastic.

- Everybody smiles, except when it's time to not-smile and look concerned.

- They can be uproariously funny.

BTW, haven't tried the MBTs yet, but it's def on my agenda. When you do your infotainment special, I'd be glad to be an endorsing guest on it.

Rorschach said...

My wife has tapes her dad and uncle made of old MTV videos and promos in 1982-83, when it was still a new channel and the possibilities were endless and its potential had yet to be wasted on crap like THE REAL WORLD.

I think I understand nostalgia a little better now. I feel, for some inexplicable reason, as though I missed out on something. All this was going on while we were still learning to walk...

Anonymous said...

"For years, liberal newspapers have also been able to shield themselves from honest debate, which is why their readership will continue to plummet, now that there is a choice. None of their editors could survive a day in talk radio, nor would ideas and opinions so predictably lame attract much interest in the blogosphere. In fact, they wouldn'’t even be able to withstand an interview with Bill O'Reilly.

Television is the ideal medium to propagate liberalism (sic), since it is so rooted in emotion rather than thought"

Ah yes, Oreilly, Hannity, Gibson (is that the name of the guy with the funny hair on Fox ?) always go for thought and not emotion. Not to mention Rush, Michael Savage etc etc

take a look over at
they trounce your heroes' distortions on a daily basis. You can even subscribe to their emails