The gap between reality as perceived by mainstream media professional and reality as perceived by the public who follow discussions in the alternative media is enormous. I was listing to a phone in discussion on LBC this evening. The topic was the anniversary of 9/11 and one caller suggested that there should have been a proper inquiry to determine what really happened. The programme’s host was immediately dismissive saying “here we go again” and “we know what really happened .. two planes were flown into the Twin Towers”. “What about the collapse of Building 7?” asked the caller. “What is Building 7?” replied the host who then went on to assert that he knew more than the caller, that he had the facts and all the caller had was crackpot ‘conspiracy theories’. I found the host’s ignorance appalling – and this was one of the more thoughtful of the LBC presenters. I’ve seen this attitude so many time on popular mainstream media shows; anyone who questions the political consensus, the consensus being sold by the political elites, is maligned as a crackpot of some kind. The fact that large numbers of people question the official story on 9/11 elicits analysis of their supposed psychology rather than engagement with their stated reasons for doubting the official story. I begin to wonder if media pundits are instructed to stay away from discussion beyond a narrow consensus, to stay within a ‘walled garden’, or if they are chosen for their ignorance.
This same gap is apparent in the response of the general public and that of the media and political classes to the Syrian crisis and that gap is growing. A single example of this is the attempt by mainstream media and politicians to create a consensus that there is evidence that Assad’s government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack on Syrians in the Ghouta region. No such evidence has been presented only an assertion that this evidence exists whereas those who follow the alternative media, the analytical media, understand that such evidence as there is points to the rebel forces that the UK, France and the US have been supporting.
I think that we should redefine or rename the mainstream and the alternative media as the oligarchic media and the democratic media or something along those lines, the defining characteristic of the first is that it is essentially a ‘few to many’ dissemination of information and opinion while the second is a ‘many to many’ discussion of information and its meaning.