Social media is all about monopolistic companies gathering tons of personal data and selling it to advertisers. Facebook and Google control a large percentage of advertising. The goal of these companies and other social media companies is to hook users to gain as much data as possible. We have no way of knowing what data they are gathering or what they are doing with it, and we have no way of getting rid of the data they have collected on us. Supposedly for six of ten American their main sources of news is social media. If doesn’t take much thought to realize that social media companies need to act as gatekeepers .Right now they are being used by violent right wing extremist groups for recruitment. The neo-Nazis, KKK, and others are recruiting many young men into their ranks using social media. These groups contend the white race is superior and deserves to dominate in the US. Some members carry out terrorist acts and some are preparing for a race war. Most segments of the society may be moving left as the polls suggest but I would be very concerned about what is going on with regard to the far right.
It’s not an “echo chamber” the corpress objects to
It’s their own lack of reverb within it
A very timely and well-thought-out article!
Breaking through the Corporate/MSM is daunting enough without Facebook and Google being in bed with the Police & Security State, too. This is the goal of the Permanent Government: always to be in charge of the official message, and by using any means necessary, to retain the final say. The $$$ is a means and a reward for the chosen but the authoritarian mind wants one thing mostly; the final say. Over everything and the everyone that might erode the power behind having the final say. Murdering innocents, no problem for those with the final say. Destroying most of The Constitution, no problem for those with the final say. Well, you get it, except of course, having a thing to do with the final say. It’s about that simple with the folks in charge who have to have the final say. Always!
The rest of us can holler back, " Say what? " But, that’s about it. The Final Says always seem to get the last word in; edgewise, sideways, underhanded or with a gun, baton and a badge.
Very interesting piece. I am encouraged by Pew’s data. I have heard other accountings of the preferences of the population, but I am glad to see that Pew’s stats are not based on self-reporting of political labels. These are used inconsistently, even more now than they were before, and there seems to be very different usage between the generations.
Still, it should be very clear that left-liberal-progressive stances–insofar as we regard these as a response against deep state, corporatist, militarist, authoritarian positions–are far more prone to come in conjunction with online sources than with the heritage media. The reasons are worth looking at.
Essentially, although there is a lot of fairly rabid right-wing commentary online, there is also a good deal of genuine left-wing commentary as well. And although a lot of information online is highly distorted or just invented, it is neither so consistently distorted or invented as it is in television and print news media run by commercial interests.
The reasons for this are pretty clearly describable in terms of Chomsky and Edward Herman’s 5 media filters as laid out in Manufacturing Consent in 1989.
Owners. Obviously, corporate interests tend to not violate the intentions and opinions of their owners. Large outlets like WaPo or the NYT are top-down because bosses and shareholders can fire people. Net authors are often unowned.
Advertisers. Traditional publications and TV got most of its money from advertisers, not from subscriptions. The basic business model, then, was to sell the attention of readers and viewers to advertisers who would sell to them–particularly to the well to do.
Online sources may have some reliance on advertisers who use them as clickbait. However, generally, their overhead is far lower; the author is far more apt to be selling his or her personal take on things, so that he or she has a vested interest in maintaining an edge of integrity that goes far beyond that of a large outlet that may sell a pretense of “responsibility”–including, oddly, the purported wisdom to know what to not report.
- Sources. Most news-type stories are generated by government, military, and business. If an outlet offends such a source, it is unlikely to get the next story to draw the viewers’ attention to sell to the advertisers. These relationships have become particularly critical over the past twenty to twenty-five years as the Net has risen in popularity and the habit of browsing the web has mostly replaced that of reading newspapers and magazines or watching television. Increasingly, sources have provided free media or written copy to newspapers and stations. The DNC, the CIA, and Monsanto have been identified on many occasions as writing direct copy for news outlets, who do not in these cases identify their sources. It is almost certain that the Republican party and large corporate interests with significant PR problems have not fallen much behind in such practices, if at all.
Most online reporting and commentary has very little such reliance.
Pleasing vocal members of the audience. This tends to be a restriction against saying anything extreme. But because of the diversity of the Net audience and the relative importance of the “long tail” of small niche operations in Net marketing, this may be a significant restriction on any single author or outlet, but it is a far lesser restriction on commentary and sharing of information in general. There is, for example, no Net-wide prohibition against seeing American soldiers in body bags.
Ideology. Well, here people still have our blinders, but the plasticity of the media allows for considerable more range of expression. I can watch and hear a lecture by Noam Chomsky, for example, wherein he is given adequate time to express his thoughts without some camera jockey levering the inevitable rush to a commercial to shut him up.
Those of you who recall the Vietnam era probably recall the shock that accompanied photos of American soldiers engaged in war atrocities in Vietnam. You surely recall the shock that accompanied the arrival of The Pentagon Papers. The shock of these things is in some way a measure of the extent of the ignorance that preceded these. But here we have had a series of revelations, all largely Internet-based, despite the initial appearance of the Snowden revelations at The Guardian.
None of this should be taken to suggest that the Net makes things automatically truer. These big ISPs, social media outlets, search giants, and so forth act very much like other large corporations, working towards monopoly and control as they rise in power and market share. The technology allows them to be considerably more ubiquitous than does broadcast technology in general, and they are particularly adept spies and rats, persistently selling the weak and innocent to the strong and rich. Censorship through search filter and silent censorship at the ISP level have become routine in most parts of the United States–with no announcement thereof, of course. Corporations seek to end Net neutrality in order to charge content producers so that people cannot just get online and provide information to each other, but must again rely on what large and wealthy institutions decide that they might hear. And of course electronic ballots, electric data, and electric money are ultimately not safe–though cryptocurrencies appear to come closer than dollars in terms of security against theft, though there may be other factors in a given investment.
We had best hold tight to the new media.
Don’t you think the new media is causing people to stick to their own echo chambers and not hear a wide range of views? Doesn’t it seem that people are looking to see their own views reinforced in the new media and arenavoiding views that make them uncomfortable or challenge their beliefs? This is why the left might be moving left ant the right moving right as people are being exposed to a narrower and narrower range of views. While the new media is getting a lot views out there the overall result seems to be that individuals are experiencing a smaller range of views.
When one rejects the control of fear and loathing liberal thinking is what is left. No pun intended.
Excellent clarification! Good points! Glad to read this. It certainly explains a lot about how the media has gotten away with the scam of excoriating progressive views.
The problem is…most public media views represent right leaning ideology–as the author says. Reading that crap day in and day out will most likely slant even the most left leaning mind–to a mush of centrism. Forget it!
Can we tell the difference between fact based reporting and propaganda? The ability to discern the difference is perhaps why we can identify the truth and voluntarily hang out with those echo chamber programs. They simply magnify the truths being told and warn us of the Hanitty/Limbaugh crap.
It is becoming more and more difficult to trust our gut or our intuition.
What is troubling is that when a right-winger is given the truth they will still rather believe the right-wing lie. G