“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”
— Marshal Mcluhan
A mantra of the corporate media is that Trump creates distractions and that as a result of these distractions the public, with its short attention span, moves like a cat from one noise or shiny object to another. As a result, say the corportists, the public loses the thread and forgets about Trump’s offensences – drowning in a tidal wave of outrages. They become numb, and indifferent and Trump triumphs
The corporate media will spend days in the 24 hour cable echochamber telling the public that they are being distracted and that you should not be distracted. This is followed by hours of corporate talking heads talking about how you’re being distracted. Following this there are “think pieces” in corporate print platforms about how Trump is a master manipulator, who is distracting everyone and that in an age of short attention spans,Trump is able to dance away from one potential disaster after another.
The first obvious defect in this idea is that the corporate media is pretending that it is not both the driver, and the passenger on the bus, and that it is also not the bus itself. It pretends that coverage of events is an organic, objective thing, like gravity and that they just happen to be walking the streets of America, with their cameras and cellphones, and that they just happen to stumble upon the president, the FBI, Senate, a war, or a scandal.
The subcategory of this systemic bullshit is that they have the resources available to cover more than one story. Since they broadcast 24 hours they can split the screen, and toss an item from one bloviator to another for hours, and go on doing it until blood squirts from their eyes.
But the far more important point, buried within this, is that the mantra reflects a cultural corporate mindset. The claim that the viewer is being distracted ignores the new post-technology reality of multiple platforms, and how those independent media platforms are providing continuously updated rolling coverage of events.
There are now tens of thousands of blogs and many of them provide cogent, in-depth analysis and in some cases break stories that the corporate media either ignores or does not even know about.
Many of these blogs are just the same old shit in a new package. Many of them are full of lies. And make no mistake – millions of people do have an attention span that is about as long as a fleas reproduction cycle. Blink and you’ll miss it.
The public checks multiple sources via their laptop, phone, and in some cases on their television. As a result, they are not distracted. They are tuned in, turned on and informed. They have multiple sources of data and they cross reference, aggregate it and turn it into information.
The corporate media has a vested interest in maintaining an agitated, hyped up audience of infotainment junkies, who have a desperate need to take another hit of cable junk right into their eyes.
Don’t be distracted, they say; keep your eyes on the story. Right here – after this message from our sponsor.
A side effect of the economic gulag with its gig work – its itinerant they shoot horses don’t they thunderdome slave labor economy – is the creation of a floating world where schedules have been exploded. Morning, afternoon and evening with their anchoring television schedules are dead. It used to be a staple of comedy and movies that you went to bed with Johnny Carson. Now when a comedian does an imitation of Carson the audience has no idea who they’re talking about and that truth has become so banal that Joe Rogan can be heard on one of his podcasts saying just that – no one knows who Carson was.
And those podcasts – essentially a stoner’s conversation on an endless feedback loop – arrive deus ex technia any time you want them to; just press play.
This is true of The Majority Report with Sam Seder, and The Young Turks and Secular Talk, and even at the low end of the gene pool with Alex Jones or Dave Rubin, or any of the corporate platforms like Bill Maher or the top of the commercial advertising food chain with Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity or Colbert, the Jimmys or the “evening news.”
The idea of the short attention span is on life support. Focus like a Trojan Horse has snaked its way into the dominant paradigm spouted by the corporate media in an effort to control the narrative.
Consider the following: In the warm afterglow of her victory, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told a story about her boots on the ground door by door campaign. She said that she ran into three kids – nineteen years old – who stopped her on the streets of the Bronx and told her they had voted. They were working their phones, texting, messaging; information coming in and going out and she said – an off year, local intra-party election and three 19 year olds were involved, informed, and on it.
The machine is in a state of collapse akin to a systemic nervous breakdown and as a result it is also humming with activity. Chaos and opportunity are different sides of the same coin.
Do not believe the corporate hype.
The information flood is all around you.
Reach out and pluck the zeros and ones from the ether.
Tune in, turn on and stand the watch.