Sunday, December 18, 2016

Political-analytical bifurcation in the mainstream media

This article that just came out of Salon is interesting because it is effectively two separate articles, one embedded inside the other. To pull them apart, take the title, subtitle, first paragraph, last paragraph and the sentence immediately before it, and put them in their own article, which we’ll call the outer article. Then take the remainder and call that the inner article.

 The inner article is a sober and revealing look at the US foreign policy in Yemen. This policy has occurred within Obama’s time in office, so it can’t be attributed to the Bush legacy, and the prognosis is not pretty. This is the kind of analysis I would want to see promoted to the American populace, particularly the left, who don’t seem to always grasp the cold reality of US foreign policy.

 The outer article is all about Trump. It is not friendly. It contains the normal mindless and trivial name calling. And while it doesn’t quite outright blame Trump for the US foreign policy, it does display an extraordinary eagerness to transfer that blame onto him, still more than a month before he steps into the driver’s seat.

 There are two things I’d like to highlight:

 (1) This is a beautiful example of the cognitive dissonance that is occurring on the left. You see they actually have the analytical ability to sift through the public propaganda and unveil the reality of the situation. This is somewhat relieving, as many of us were starting to wonder if the left-aligned media had lost the ability of objective reasoning. The more correct prognosis is that many of these journalists are still capable of higher reasoning, and it is not forbidden from mainstream publication, just as long as the conclusion is politically congruent with ideology.

 Typically this is done by suppressing the analysis where the conclusion is undesirable. This is not a tendency reserved to the media or politics. It is common in academia, in intelligence, etc. This is the first that I’ve noticed where the analysis is allowed to be published, but it is wrapped in more desirable conclusions. This is what I’m calling the political-analytical bifurcation. The two components of the article, the analysis and the conclusion, are allowed to proceed nearly independently of each other.

 Of course I may be overanalysing it. This is just one example, it doesn’t indicate a broader trend. But, such an article is only possible in an environment that includes a healthy dose of doublethink (where mutually opposing thoughts can be held simultaneously, or as I like to think of it, an immunity to cognitive dissonance) and where avoiding undesirable conclusions is the de facto standard. I say de facto standard because the nominal standard is always “we go wherever the facts take us”, but in reality that is not what usually happens.

 (2) This would indicate that mainstream critique of US foreign policy will, after an 8 years lapse, be back on the table again. The media that has never taken Obama or Clinton to task for the utter catastophes unleashed in Lybia and Syria, will be more than happy to do so if it can be pinned on Trump. I for one will take the trade. If Trump is blamed unnecessarily for situations he did not create, but at the same time the supposedly peaceful and anti-war left will again start calling out the bullshit of a foreign policy where no humanitarian disaster is spared in their zeal to maintain US global political and economic hegemony, that will be a positive change.

Some afterthoughts:

  •  I suspect someone might be able to write a best-selling book that critiques Obama's foreign policy legacy, but replaces all instances of Obama's name with Trump.
  • This article indicates just how quickly Obama has become irrelevant in the public eye.
  • You won't see them publish an article called "Hey President Obama, Do You Know Where Your Bombs Are Falling?" (which is what the title would be if the conclusions synced with the analysis).
  • If I was to write a satire of media in 2016 it would read a lot like this. A solid overview of the reality of some issue, coupled with a totally bizarre conclusion.
  • If I wanted to discreetly redpill liberals I would write articles like this, with headlines that are pure clickbait for Drumpf haters, but would subtly expose them to rational discussion.

No comments:

Post a Comment