Everything Contained. Everyone Led.

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, January 23rd, 2017 - 12 comments
Categories: activism, community democracy, International, journalism, Media, Politics, us politics - Tags: , ,

So when I was a wee kid I played football. The way the games went was something like this. There was a rammy of us kids and the football would intermittently shoot out from the melee and wind up ‘over there’. And we’d all descend on it in a shouting and hollering tumble of brainless and tactic free determination. And this just went on repeating until the kids whose tops were being used as goal posts packed it in or who-ever owned the ball went home for tea.

Yesterday there were many marches and protests across the world revolving around Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the White House. These marches (it seems) weren’t organised by ‘the usual suspects’ and didn’t display the usual features of such marches and protests. They were varied. People brought their own reasons for being there and so generated a certain vitality that’s usually missing from ‘single issue’ or ‘single focus’ protests. And yes, mainstream media covered the marches and protests. For one day. And only by way of them being a spectacle.

Then some wee fella stood up and made some claims about the numbers of people who had watched a guy get inaugurated.  Essentially, the football ‘shot over there’. And all of the media and all of the commentary went running. The protests and marches were old news.

Tomorrow there’ll be some asinine argument about whether the balls still on the pitch or whether it’s gone over the line, or whether that was a goal or not a goal, a foul or not a foul.

In a world devoted to news and information, those marches would be subject to follow up reporting. People would be asked “What next?” People or groups of people would be followed up on and actions or organising they’d been inspired to give their energies to would be reported on. And some stuff being reported on would act as a beacon to others.

But that’s not the way it’s ever been,  not the way it is, and not the way it’s going to be.

The media will follow the ball as it skitters backwards and forwards and sideways. And they’ll have us believe that all the skittering (Have they even set down goal posts?) and all of their reporting on the skittering is important; that they’re passing information on to us and reporting news.

And we can go with that flow.

But here’s the thing. There is not a single mainstream media outlet in the west, that when the chips are down, will not side with institutional power and authority. And there is not a single major media outlet that will promote or encourage anything that might hold the potential to challenge institutional power and authority.

So yes, the likes of yesterdays marches and protests will get covered. But only in ways and to an extent that ensures everything remains safe and in its proper place.

So today, I see some headlines about audience or viewing figures. And I see opinion pieces and analytical wankery on what it all means or might mean or doesn’t mean. That, apparently, is where the ball is. And so that’s where we’re all meant to rush headlong to. And we’re meant jump in and see if we maybe get a toe on the ball – maybe poke it this way or kick it that way or just shout encouragement for whoever on our side is closest to the ball. Or then again…fuck it. We could just begin to get ready (know what I mean?) and leave the movers and shakers and opinion makers to their pointless hacking.

And I wonder how long it would take them to notice?

12 comments on “Everything Contained. Everyone Led.”

  1. Ad 1

    The ball is wherever we rise.

  2. Institutional power and authority,= How ya gonna keep em down on the farm.

  3. garibaldi 3

    Good post Bill. Imo the most pertinent paragraph was the one starting “But here’s the thing”. The mainstream media have become a major player in the problems of the World instead of just reporting on them. Truth is now the first casualty of both war and ‘peace’.

  4. gsays 4

    Cheers Bill for this post.
    You have summed things up nicely, I have an image of someone reading a newspaper and looking for what to be outraged at.

    I see it often on ts. Trumps latest brainfart is treated as a gospel utterance and the shock and horror reaction is way over the top.

  5. Ovid 5

    For the record, while only 8% of New Zealanders trust the media, only 5% trust bloggers.


  6. What I found noticeable wen looking at the media for the last few days was just how different the handling was in different media.

    For instance the protests was at the top of BBC World News for the entire day. Whereas in NZ it was barely reported in any media that I read.

    I suspect that the local TV might have reported more of it simply because it was visual. However since we don’t get broadcast TV anymore I’d have no idea.

  7. Nick 7

    The US Media talking heads are now waking up to what they have done, after helping Trump to power, now they are shocked that he lies ??!!….now they want to go all out to seek the truth ??!!…. unbelievable (so to speak).

  8. Adrian Thornton 8

    Good piece Bill, you are quite right in your analysis on MSM, I would go one further and state ( yet again) that Liberal MSM are one of the main enemies of , and major obstacles to any chance of a shift to the Left.
    They have shown through their own reporting, over the previous twelve months that they will happily back a right or centre right wing project, rather than give any air or support to even the possibility of Socialist Democratic project.

    If you follow Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’ theory, as I do, you would have been aware of this media bias operating , generally quietly in the back ground for quite a time, then all of a sudden this year, for reasons unknown, nearly all MSM have completely discarded their facade of impartiality, suddenly they stand exposed, can they back pedal themselves to a place of public credibility again?, do they even want to?

    It will be an interesting year to see how this all plays out.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 9

    I can’t relate to the messages in this thread and suggest a very different narrative – that the efforts of the media are to make it appear that he doesn’t have the backing of the people.

    If this is true, then the lack of continued coverage isn’t because the media is complicit in a cover up, but that there is a distinct lack of substance to their stories.

    • Bill 9.1

      Goading or challenging Trump, and by extension, his legitimacy with various stories about fibbing spokespeople or tweets is one thing – it does not challenge the fundamental configuration of power in society.

      On the other hand, the women’s marches do (or could).

      So western mainstream outlets will focus on the infighting – the struggles between those establishment players who would yield institutional power, building mountains from mole-hills to impress on us how important it all is. And on the other hand, it will sideline, downplay, denigrate or completely ignore anything that might be an actual challenge to institutional power.

      It’s not a conspiracy or a cover-up. It’s what the priorities of liberal media are – serve institutional power – protect it; reflect its priorities; express its agenda.. It’s always been this way.

      If you want to reflect a little on liberal media and institutional power, google search mainstream stories on the Strauss-Kahn rape allegations and contrast that coverage with the reportage on the Assange allegations.

      In the former case, the media were more then happy to run stories that had been spoon fed to them, (subsequently discredited) that were nothing more than character assassinations of Nafissatou Diallo.

      You can find those contrasts all over the show – they’re kind of ‘ten a penny’ and the same underlying factor (fealty to institutional power) is at play in all of them.

  10. swordfish 10

    “But here’s the thing. There is not a single mainstream media outlet in the west, that when the chips are down, will not side with institutional power and authority”

    Shhhhh, Bill. That’s the stuff of nightmares for Andre and PM – cognitive dissonance and all that.

    The outrageously romantic notion of a neutral, impartial, purely objective western MSM – entirely innocent of Corporate / Establishment interests and bravely speaking truth to power at every turn – is one comfy blanket that neither Blairite / Clintonista shill can do without. There’d be tears before bedtime, I can tell you that.

    “Tomorrow there’ll be some asinine argument about whether the balls still on the pitch or whether it’s gone over the line, or whether that was a goal or not a goal, a foul or not a foul.”

    Well, I can tell you categorically, Bill, there was no friggin way I was off-side !!!
    Diabolical decision ! The Ref needs someone to help him across the road, he needs a white cane !

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