Who is drawing whom?
We live increasingly in an age of meta-media in which the subject of the media is the media itself. As we shall see, this is not a scrutiny willingly undergone by the MSM, but one which is being gleefully taken on by the alternative or dissident media outlets. I recall, a few years ago, seeing a photograph in a newspaper recording some pointless piece of political theatre, the visit of one stuffed suit politician to the country of another, or some such. But the photograph, mercifully, did not feature any of today’s ugly-mug political elite. Instead, it was a photograph of photographers. There were dozens of them, wielding their cameras like some military arsenal.
Now, one of the major sleights-of-hand practiced by contemporary newspapers is that we all need to see another photo of some political potentate. This is primarily to avoid having to fill that space with anything as potentially informative as text, and is wholly unnecessary. Angela Merkel is, as we know, no oil painting, and yet we see her map plastered all over the shop. Macron looks like the kid on the front of Mad magazine, but his image is ubiquitous. Theresa May always appears in photographs resembling one of those unfortunate Victorian mental patients receiving a huge jolt of electricity in a vain attempt to cure their malady. On reflection, that might not be a bad project for someone. But that is not my point.
The photograph of the photographers, which I believe was on a prominent front page, was the media commenting on the media. Then, it seemed a curio, an amusing take on the modern obsession with media. Now, it is a symbol for a new obsession; meta-media, media about media.
I use Breitbart as my main news source, and they have a separate page for stories about journalism. This is not, however, in the spirit of self-celebration – that is a job for the MSM, with their endless masturbatory awards ceremonies - but intended as a critique. And it is part of a reporting process which is having interesting effects. The press, who for so long had a monopoly on truth – or ‘truth’, to be properly post-modern about it – is now being held to account. Of course, and as a journalist friend of mine points out, the mainstream media are still the most capable of reportage, largely due to their financial apparatus. Even this, however, is changing. The British print press has been in gradual decline for some time now, and newspapers regularly shed staff as sales drop and advertising revenue wanes. Correspondent with this is the rise of the independent, ‘citizen’ journalist. ‘Peter Sweden’ is one such, and is currently in Italy reporting privately on the scandal of what we might call assisted immigration, in which NGOs and charities – notably Oxfam – are colluding to swamp Italy with Maghrebian men. The authorities, as you might expect, are none too pleased with Peter’s efforts, and here we are approaching the heart of the matter.
The self-introspective turn of the media is a response not to what is being reported, but to what is not being reported, what is being avoided and elided. A worldview is formed not by, or not simply by, what the populace is told, but by what they are not told. An example from social media.
My partner was showing me, on Facebook, some photos of her at the beach with our dogs, when she scrolled past something that caught my eye; 25 reasons to move to Sweden. The woman who had posted this is north American, and probably comes equipped with the average Yank’s sketchy knowledge of France, the one in which Oxford is near Paris and so on. I skipped through the list, and discovered a Sweden I wasn’t aware still existed. Three of the 25 reasons to move to this Socialist utopia were as follows;
· Swedes start their day with a tea-drinking ritual called fika, and eat delightful pastries with their infusions. (Actually, I would want to check the translation of fika before I got involved in the general merry-making, this being Scandinavia…)
· Swedes have a wonderful Midsummer festival. (I have taken part in this. It’s like The Wicker Man on acid).
· Swedes have an excellent recycling program. (This really was one of the reasons.)
The rest was more of the same, an accurate description of Sweden in, say, 1968. What was missing?
The fact that Sweden, with vanishingly small rates of rape 25 years ago, is now the Lesotho of Europe. The fact that 80% of the police force want to leave their jobs. The fact that there are 61 admitted no-go zones in the country. The fact that a Swedish minister has stated that Sweden ‘has no culture’, and has vowed to get rid of Midsömer. The fact that Muslim immigrants are being fast-tracked into key public secret jobs, including policing. The fact that hand-grenade and gun attacks are now a daily feature of Swedish life. The fact that many young women, in good, shariah-compliant fashion, do not go out alone.
So, let’s all move to Sweden.
The woman who posted this catalogue of fantasy and Liberal nonsense has had her worldview crafted by the Liberal-Left-Progressive media, possibly the most malevolent force on the Western side of the planet. She believes what she is reading because she doesn’t have the knowledge or willingness to look outside the MSM for her information. She is, in fact, clinging tightly onto nurse for fear of finding something worse.
And so the current trend for meta-media is to be applauded. The great Roman poet Juvenal’s famous line Quid custodiet ipsos custodes – Who watches the watchers? or, Who guards the guardians? – could not be more relevant. When what people believe to be reality is confected by those who have an active interest in hiding reality, a watchdog is needed, and the more vicious and angered the better.
Breitbart’s charismatic editor, Raheem Kassam, is about to publish a book on European no-go zones. Merely for the sin of announcing the imminent arrival of his – ludicrously expensive – tome, his Twitter account was immediately suspended. In these treacherous times, the watchers will not take happily to being watched.