Why does the dog wag its tail?
Because the dog is smarter than the tail.
If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.
Who controls your narrative? It’s usually pretty easy to tell. Let’s take this rant from a comment on American Thinker. You can read the whole thing here; what follows is an excerpt that reveals who controls the narrative of this author:
rise of authoritarian statism … accelerating … president and first lady jet around the world like royalty … private business transaction to bake a gay wedding cake … forced to violate their faith … old Nevada rancher … treated … al qaeda training … cows … killed by armed government thugs while his kids were tazed … snipers having them in their sights the whole time.
… a man … banned … because of words he uttered in the privacy of his home … our private health care system being dismantled and gradually absorbed by a government who can’t build a working website, … government monitoring of “hate speech” “shut off” switches … in cell phones … regulate the internet, install “mileage tracking” devices in cars to calculate driving taxes. We have advocates for “smart grid” power monitors on our homes … ridiculous idea that we can control the climate.
“truth squads:” … urging citizens to report their neighbors … government that lies about scandals in which they are caught red handed, and continues to lie, dismissing evidence … Attorney General who refuses to enforce laws … criticism for failing to do so “racism.” …
It is only going to get worse, because we haven’t stood up and said “ENOUGH!” yet.
80% of this could have come from a far left liberal talking about the Bush administration in 2004. All of the details – the specifics he points out – are either partisan talking points or various media circuses. The rancher, the basketball team owner, the political issues with the AG – these are not evidence of any other trend than a media trend. All of these outrages, and often times much worse, were done in the previous administration and administrations prior to that one.
The media creates the narrative. If the particular media stunt seems bad for Republicans/conservatives, then you will be assured that partisan liberals/Democrats will think it’s a big deal and it proves their partisan opponents are bad. If it seems bad for Democrats/liberals, the partisan conservatives/Republicans will say it’s a big deal and proof of a negative trend ever since the other guys got into power.
It’s rather astonishing to see the same cons that were enthusiastic about the Patriot Act and spying on Al Qaeda during the last administration are now outraged by federal abuse of power and the NSA. Libs that were outraged by drone warfare and Gitmo now defend drone warfare and have forgotten about Gitmo.
There’s a lot of criticism of various WN blogs that are characterized as “The Daily Outrage” and “News and Jews.” This consists of a usually, but not always, right leaning media narrative of, well, the daily outrage, news, and various speculations about powerful Jewish figures and what they are up to. This keeps the conversation in a rut, in a few ways.
First, it’s paranoia mongering and leads to outrage fatigue. In the weeks after 9/11, Americans, from big cities to small towns, holed up indoors, avoided public places, all in fear of some massive terrorist attack from
COBRA Commander Usama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. This presented a problem with the establishment; people weren’t going out and spending money. The malls and shops were empty and it was having an effect on the economy, already under a lot of strain due to uncertainty. People were supposed to be afraid, but just enough that they would look to the government for protection, not enough that it would interfere with the daily life of creating value for investors. So, you had the hilarious spectacle of the President telling everyone to Fight Terrorism by Shopping (no, that’s not a joke.)
So, in our times, we have the spectacle of routine law enforcement – that would have been cheered in the last administration – being demonized and the victim turned into a hero, precisely because the media mentioned it. There are similar raids and resistance events every day, but unless one is made into a media circus, you’ll never know about it. Sometimes the internet can force an issue into the public consciousness enough the media has to respond, but that is still rare. Susan Lindaur famously had her boyfriends blog keep her case from falling down the memory hole, but even so her story was virtually ignored by TV and only quickly acknowledged and dismissed by the NYT/WP.
So the rancher was a hero to the right, until he made an anti-racist point using old fashioned language, thus was quickly discarded by the conservatives, and taken up as a great issue by the liberals. You had the basketball team guy all of a sudden become the media circus, and everyone has an opinion on him. Tag the posts, get the readership, get the ad revenue. But it’s always them setting the agenda, everyone else is forced to react to that agenda, or interpret the events in that agenda.
But what they say is important – what is “news” – is what they say it is.
The Westboro Baptist Church used to get major media play for years and years, becoming celebrities and assured of publicity wherever they went. Except for once. One of their stunts received no media play whatsoever and was simply ignored by the national and local media. The went from front page news – to silence – right back to front page news the minute their stunt was over. What happened?
It was revealed that US soldiers had burned a Koran in some sort of provacitive act, thus causing outrage around the Muslim world, already inflamed due to the US attack. The Westboro Baptist Church held a “protest” in front of the Iraqi embassy and burned a Koran. The media gave it zero coverage.
A few years later, something very similar happened. Another fringe cult in Florida held a Koran burning, but this time, the media covered it far and wide. High ranking military officials went on to international TV to denounce the cult and proclaim their respect for the Muslim faith. What was a stunt by some fringe group of 40 something people in a rural town in Florida became a weeks long international news story – precisely because it was covered – not covered up – and high ranking officials decided to publicize it.
Why the two different treatments of what was essentially the same media stunt by similar cult groups? Well, one fit into the narrative, and one didn’t.
If you follow The Daily Outrage, and if you look for trends based on what is in the media, you miss actual macro trends and instead are following a narrative, one that is constructed for you. Some of the events may be “real” but many are “staged.” When you watch TV, whether or not it’s “news” or “fiction” – that is what you are doing. Watching a video. You rarely know much about the context except what you are told.
The only way for opponents to seize the attention of “the masses” or whoever your target audience is, it to create your own narrative and your own accounting of events.
If you rely on the media to create – or cover – your heroes, you are dependent on the media picking your heroes for you. Is that wise, no matter your particular philosophies or opinions?