Are more and more people living in some sort of digital reality? I ask only as ‘real world ‘reality in all its forms seems to be something that many in the media – and looking around, many people – seem to have lost contact with. You can see this in patterns of behaviour, dress, fashion and more worryingly the workplace which according to one of the many advisors available to the Prime Minister needs more oddballs and weirdos in order to change the culture or practices or whatever. There is so much change wanted in many areas I’ve lost count and to be honest more than a little interest in the views of people that produce in the long run mostly hot air, and now we are told even that is a great danger for us.

Brexit for example has apparently exposed deep divisions in our society (or should that be communities because these days who knows.)  I do know that for many years there have been deep divisions between people who work in the public or private sector. There is a disconnect between political parties and politicians at all levels and the general public. There are huge divisions between people of the United Kingdom about its future. There are huge divisions between North and South. Strongly held differing opinions about immigration and integration, drugs, crime, the causes of crime and diverse opinions on how to even begin to solve these problems of the real world. But, in the make-believe world of the media, two things are clear: it’s always someone’s fault and it can be solved if only ‘we’ put in more resources. ‘Resources’ is the catch all code word for spending more money which will enable all and every ‘challenge’ to be solved, often led by ‘academics’  with instant access it seems to the print media and the broadcast media,. 

The media are skilled at and often promoting expert opinions or deliberately creating divisions of opinion that can be seen and heard on such TV shows as the BBC’s Question Time, or on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on. Closer examination of the ‘experts’ or journalists’ backgrounds often reveals a ‘think tank’ funded by who knows, or some vested interest in gaining or continuing a ‘funding stream’ from some EU or government department or in some cases a powerful international company. ‘Journalists’ too in many cases have little knowledge of the subject they are reporting and it would seem little idea on how to report on fact or do basic research. 

What was once the province of that loud-mouthed bloke down the pub or the office ‘rumour mill’  has now taken on a digital life and purpose of its own. Obviously ‘we’ the general public have not yet learned properly how to use it or deal with its effects, which according to the establishment is not a good thing.

Why or just what effect this has, according to them, on an often-gullible and not very intelligent population of whatever age group, is not explained but it seems centred on the belief that media  and the political elites have more intellectual horsepower than anyone else. The ‘god’ complex, it seems, is just not confined to the medical and financial ‘professions’

The established media, accustomed as it was to unquestioned trust in their opinion and belief in their view of what is or is not news was, and still is, reeling from the new media. It is therefore of course driven to take the view that they are better placed to understand ‘challenges’ or ‘issues’, having in the main a dim view of the ‘citizen journalist.’  

We’ve all seen and experienced the explosion of that label ‘fake news’ used by media and politicians to counter arguments made in and by independent digital media sources or to question the ‘implied powers’ that these digital ‘influencers’ are supposed to have. It seems that the media is under the impression that it’s fine for them to copy each other and sway the opinions of the ‘sheep’ but it’s not alright for someone to blog or write in opposition to them or seek to influence the same ‘sheep’ . 

It’s no wonder that trust and confidence in the media is falling and is in some respects at an all-time low.  People, it seems no longer think the main broadcast news outlets are either the font of all knowledge or particularly unbiased or even trustworthy. In the United States trust in the media and Hollywood is falling to an all-time low and, as we know, what happens in the United States often follows here. 

The attacks on Brexit and President Trump, here as well as in the United States, mirror each other and people have started asking ‘why’. There is real-time news available on the internet, often as it happens, reported many times without the benefit or opinions of experts or journalists and often reporting on subjects that our media continues to ignore, ‘Yellow Vest’ demonstrations, Farmers demonstrating in the Netherlands, opposition to unprecedented immigration in Germany, crime rates in Sweden and so on.

The print media will point in reply to the success of online editions, read apparently by a global audience, more than impressed by ‘click bait’ articles, often it seems written by somebody fresh from a media studies course completed with the assistance of an on-line diploma mill, full of inaccuracies due to poor research or just plain poor line management, but nevertheless resulting in sometimes tens of thousands of online comments. Not a ‘twitter storm’ exactly, perhaps more of a digital ‘Martini’ where comments about anything can be written anonymously by anyone, from any place at any time, before disappearing once again into the ether surrounded by thousands of red dots or green upticks, depending on the item being the subject of agreement or disdain in groupthink land, which is where apparently ‘we’ do, or do not, depending on your viewpoint, all reside. 

 

[To be continued tomorrow here in INDEPENDENCE Daily]

 

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