Pick up any major newspaper, or turn on any network television news broadcast. The political orientation won’t matter. It could be Fox or MSNBC, the Washington Post or the Washington Times. You’ll find virtually every story checks certain boxes. Call them the ten rules of hate. After generations of doing the opposite, when unity and conformity were more profitable, the primary product the news media now sells is division.
This was fucking mind blowing. It’s so weird when someone is able to fully articulate that feeling of unease you’ve had about the news media for a long time. It’s like a word that was always on the tip of your tongue.
A very simplistic addition of mine (something I’ve always pondered). I remember something Joe Rogan was talking about. He said that if there are multiple types of sports being played in the same vicinity, and a fight breaks out somewhere on the court, everyone’s attention is drawn to that fight and they ignore their own sport. He was doing it in the context of discussing the popularity of combat sports, but I’ve always thought about that. About the evolutionary benefit of always wanting/needing to be aware of fights and conflict. For your own safety.
It would seem like this underlying desire is cleverly utilized by the news media. It’s conflict by design. That’s why it’s irrelevant what the topic is (“War on Christmas”), conflict will always sell but if you can wrap it up in multiple points of conflict, where people have underlying faultlines with built in conflict (“Santa Clause is white”) you can make it exponentially crazier and more emotionally ‘stickier’ if that makes sense
Thank you for explaining something I already knew, but had no way to articulate it. I have been following you since ‘Vampire Squid’ days and should have expected nothing less from you. You have helped me read my own mind! Glad to be able to continue following your work!!
Last night (1/30/19) I watched Rachel Maddow on MSNBC do a classic terror bit. The news was about the unparalelled cold in the mid west and Rachel turned it into a monstrous attack on China and Russia by telling us that they had the ability to turn off our gas and electricity at will (by hacking, of course)and what if they did it during this cold spell? She never mentioned the fact that the U.S. also has that ability to do that sort of damage to other nations, so anyone listening to her would think that those nasty Russians (Rachel hates Russians) are planning to do something just like that, so be afraid, very afraid. I felt sick to my stomach at the fear and hatred she was selling; and I wondered if anyone could or would say something about that. So Matt, could you? would you? I personally think this is getting out of hand, and we soon will have nuclear war.
What, if anything essential, do you think is the role of network personalities (especially on daytime TV), who constantly bemoan the failure of "people" to "come together" to "engage in the conversation" about "the issues"? I spend a lot of time with my elderly mother, who watches Steve Harvey, followed by The View, a particularly obnoxious instance in which predictably manufactured personalities (being recruited more and more from the ranks of political dynasties, no less) pursue opposing party lines, usually on the most trivial, sensational and non-structural "issues" one moment, only to long for coming together the next. They also add a gender element, by promoting all of the personalities as "strong women" who "tell it like it is", but want women to "come together", especially to "participate", pretty much by voting, to the exclusion of any other political activity. I'm not sure if this stuff is designed primarily to flatter women in particular to think they're doing something when they are not doing much at all, either as thinkers or political agents, making it all the easier to flip to consumerism after the flattery is over (which often happens at the second half of the program, when Hollywood celebrities tend to push their latest work (generally on the same network The View airs on...), or when consumer products are flogged. Or is there something more overtly political going on here? Thanks, Matt, for your work.
Do we really want a revolt? If there is a revolt of the masses you end up with the lowest common denominators out there making everybody look stupid and sad and regretting the whole thing in the end. It's always like the Civil War that way. It's the short sellers, the disaster parasites, the speculators, make out okay. Hey I'm ready to just die. The Viking way. Just die in glorious battle for loot. King Alfred the Great was great. Then there are those earnest ones with there wire rimmed glasses. They can't see well enough to fire a rifle. They write propaganda. Then it is as well, academic. "It's a great idea, but nobody is going to do that." paraphrase of a note I got from Mr. Chomsky in response to my work founding a nation of airports. So the best thing is go behind the wall. They literally put a wall around the college in the college town I grew up in. Just get behind that wall and watch it all. Thanks Matt.
Man, you used to irritate the living shit out of me when you wrote for the Rolling Stone. Not just because of the subject matter, but because I saw that you were an very intelligent and articulate writer. Thanks for writing these Top 10 articles. This is the revelation I had several years ago when I finally figured out the basics of what was happening. I've shared this with my daughter who's in College, and others as well, so that they can read about what I've been trying to explain over the years.