Newspapers have been in steep decline for decades. The young do not buy them at all, getting news from online sources, mostly on their mobile phones. Coronavirus looks like hastening their demise and their owners, corporations, have even approached politicians for direct funding. Now, it seems, some politicians have urged the public to support them.
Clearly, I’m not paying to see just whom. I’m guessing it’s the kind of white/pink male Unionist often interviewed uncritically in these same newspapers. Please let it not be Nicola!
Nowhere, across the globe, are state or corporation-owned media the friends of the people. Conrad Black, former owner of the Telegraph once said something like:
‘If the ‘little man’ thinks the press is on his side then the ‘little man’ is in more trouble than I thought.’
Those much-used examples of the journalist employed within the mainstream media, exposing the corporations or powerful politicians, are rare exceptions which merely illustrate the fact that 99.99% of the time they represent the interests of the powerful who pay them in order to ensure the obedience or ignorance of the masses. For every George Monbiot, there are a thousand apologists for the Conservative Party or for British Aerospace.
In Scotland, there is a further abuse, by the BBC and the media corporations, as the voters’ aspirations for a form of independence based on higher standards of honesty in politics and of greater equality in life chances, threaten the interests of over-lapping elites working in and served by both.
It is for good reasons that Noam Chomsky could not work in the MSM but Andrew Marr can.
For all its many problems, only social media media platforms offer us any future for a public sphere informed by honest, evidence-based, people’s sources.
Sites like this one are just nodes within a vast matrix of cultural exchange where millions of citizens can communicate relatively unconstrained by the editorial power of elites.
The political and media establishment will warn us of fake news and conspiracy theorists and we do need to educate each other and our young in ways of identifying them but we do not need the advice of those professional communicators, owned by the state or the corporations, whose work is generated only to serve their interests. That they, in their bubbles, sometimes believe themselves to be operating on a higher level than the citizen journalists of the web, only tells us how habitual and semi-conscious that kind of behaviour becomes in institutionalised human beings.
We do not need them. Let them fade from our history.