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What Happened To The Fourth Estate?

Politics / Mainstream Media Oct 14, 2014 - 12:47 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Decline and Fall of the Media

Press and broadcast media, or “public information” was, called The Fourth Estate or fourth leg of the state, which itself can have an animal image, whether rabbit, elephant, cow or other. In Ancient Rome, the state was symbolized as a female wolf feeding the people with Capitolian milk.

As the fourth leg of the state, the press and media supposedly feeds the people with all that is right to know - and think - guarding intact and supporting all dominant social paradigms using selected information able to serve and defend the elite. The Fourth Estate was always considered suspect by freethinkers, radicals and the left.

One reason for that suspicion is that public information is always controlled by "tight knit groups" of corporate barons and press moguls in the western democracies, and is always directly controlled by the State in the theocracies and police states, as in the communist countries of the ex-USSR, or Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran today. Propaganda and the press have a long twin-track record, explaining why "modern media" in the west exhibits all the key features of the general process that dumbs down and deconstructs society - and kills the media.

The Fourth Estate has dumbed down and deconstructed itself.

Know how for journalists in today's bent media means knowing how to write rigorously dumbed down articles, with the obligatory spelling errors such as using “their” for “there”, proving that not reading any print media, or listening and watching any broadcast media is the No Alternative solution for the public. The results are clear - for around 20 years but especially for the last 10 - 15 years, intensifying all the time, the sales of so-called "traditional print media" has declined in the western countries. The pat explanation is Internet, which  pullulates with carbon copy models of "traditional media", both TV nes clones,  newspaper clones and magazine clones stuffed with idiot journalism, but this is at best only a half of the explanation for the probably certain disappearance of the "great newspapers".

This other largr-half of the explanation concerns dumbing down, lying, trivialization and idiotized fantasy replacing the former copy – and even the propaganda – that buyers of print media ingurgitated. The same happened to broadcast media, through the same time frame, eating into audience and viewer scores and shredding the credibility of the former "reference shows' like One o'Clock or Eight o'Clock News shows broadcast on private and state TV channels. TV is on its way to becoming another Lost Media, like print media. In many western countries, today, less than 33% of under-25's own a TV set or bother to look at it on a regular basis.

Crisis in the Board Room

Revealed by Buzzfeed in April 2014, a private report to management of the 'New York Times' simply said the paper's present model is obsolete. It went on to say the flailing attempts to attract new readers and keep existing readers is a total failure because of the NYT's now long-term and patent lack of interest in the truth. Fantasy and lies, yes. Truth, no. The real world, no,

The New York Times had functioned like other newspapers in the western democracies, as a fourth branch of government, for decades and even a century. Like them, it was a gatekeeper for "only the right news and views" for a Brave New World directed by the so-arrogant elites but this model has collapsed or is collapsing because of several factors, and one should really draw our attention.

The leaked report to senior figures of NYT's corporate and editorial management focused on the paper's starkest failings. Sometimes in black and white in the report, it said the management's plan "to be prepared to march towards world government" had the rationale that  "supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and [the] world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.". The report also said that what NYT's directors call "quality journalism" is perceived by more and more of the public as straight and simple lying!

The Junk Theory of World Government

The internal report to NYT said that unless the paper breaks major news stories and identifies itself as an “undeniable friend of freedom", it will continue to lose revenues and continue to decline.

We can predict that happens. The plight of the NYT has more causes than simple dumbing down and straight lying. Fantasy has to be placed high up the list. Constant confusion of values, and even meanings of words – shown by probably unconscious but constant spelling mistakes (eg. "their" is now spelled "there" on a regular basis). Completely illogical editorial conclusions placed next to a feature article. So-called Op-Eds which basically say nothing at all. Constant rambling about so-called "iconic themes of our times" – such as World Government. This in fact and generally translates to thinly-disguised tourist agency pitches, tour destination country propaganda, real estate pitches, food and wine or restaurant plugs for "cute places to eat in Taipei", and grovelling admiration of the super-rich who are wholly on board for Agenda 21, whatever it is! Don't forget global warming,

Imagining for even one second that NYT management nurtures a Hidden Agenda of sweeping "national auto-determination" from the planet to usher in World Government, with the trash produced by “great newspapers” like itself is already delusional, in fact mind-boggling! Imagining that the ultra-flaky reports and features demonstrate "the sovereignty of an intellectual elite" is fantastic, not only by its arrogance.

The close linkage with the delirium of other clown-print media was shown in the leaked report. It quoted a senior figure at NYT saying: "We are grateful to the Washington Post, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promise of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the light of publicity during those years". Our plan for the world!

They have a "plan for the world?'. Hitler may have used gas ovens and Stalin used the gulag, but we have to surmise the Great Newspapers intend boring millions of persons to death. They have gone much further than simple dumbing down. That was only the first step.

The leaked report to NYT management also said "the world is more sophisticated" today, meaning this is why newspaper sales are going down all the time. This supposed causality of “more sophistication-equals-less sales” provides us with another stark example of why and how the Fourth Estate lost all contact with the real world.

Today, so-called great newspapers regularly cut back their editorial staffs and speed on towards total collapse. The dumbing down process is so heavily present that completely antinomic themes, rationales and groping corporate desires are constantly jumbled together, while the remaining editorial teams and crews desperately try to please the crony elites with upbeat news and views from the 'bizniss world' offering stakeholder benefit and “value discovery through innovation”, while stern editorials clamor for new anti-terror measures for greater surveillance of e-mails, Internet use, social behavior – but not yet the loyalty test of needing to buy the great newspapers and watch the TV anchorpeople!

The Fourth Estate speeds on and down the slippery slope and further away from their (or there) remaining readers and watching or listening audiences, and shreds the ability of media managers to have any knowledge of what the people want. Effects further down the hierarchy in editorial rooms and nighttime TV newsrooms are even starker. The feedback process of dumbing down scores a direct lethal hit, once again!

What was Government?

One example is the keyword "government". Whether it is the NYT or identical glove puppet  of elite-bleat in other countries peddling the new strange genre of Unknown Journalism, for example the Guardian in the UK, Le Monde and Le Figaro in France, and State-owned or crony-private TV news "providers" across the western world, "government" is treated so ambiguously it is impossible to know what the media wants us to think or believe.

Government is ultra powerful. Government cares. Government is weak and failing. Government is wasteful. Government must be swept away, anywhere outside the western world, by the Flash Mob. This of course does not apply to “us” so perhaps the change should come by Divine intervention or by Martian invaders?

The magical word "democracy" gets the same unknowing treatment, shredding all meaning of the word by what I call the "concatention principle", piling completely antinomic ideas and paradigms on top of each other – and producing what any self respecting dog would curtly refuse as its dinner. Do we love it or do we hate it?  Are we sick of the two party system? Obviously, the "great newspapers" love and hate democracy showing a perfect split mind – because they also want World Government! 

Another pat theory of why the Dinosaur Dailies are dying is that particularly younger persons "now get their news from the Internet rather than television or the dailies". In fact that has moved on, also.

In several EU28 countries today, as many as 33% of persons below 25 years age do not even possess a TV set. If they ever watch TV, and that is declining, its by way of Internet. The next stage is also coming, with younger persons in many western democracies saying they use Internet less and less – and tend to only visit the social networks when they do use it. In other words, what was called "news, views and opinions" is being disowned and forgotten by the public – not just the dailies. After the dumbing down we get the Unknowing.

To be sure the dinosaurs of print media were pioneers of trashing and shredding the meaning of the word "news", the same way they tirelessly sapped the meaning of the words "government" and "democracy". The spillover collateral damage from this, to TV and then Internet is no real surprise.

Readerships and viewerships collapse - now frequently reported for newspapers and TV programs of all kinds and not only news shows – and this naturally results in more layoffs of journalists and media producers, which then results in lower and lower quality of the residual and remaining output. The downward spiral is set in stone and we have no trouble concluding this is now a concrete process that is highly mature, right across the media spectrum.

The Troubled Future of Brainwashing

Given the bizarre and degraded daily output of the Fourth Estate it is hard to suppose the real aim of Press Barons and Moguls is ti firstly dumb down “the mases” and then get them to swallow World Government by a “supranational intellectual elite” is by its low temperature, no soap powder dirty water brainwashing – that the Fourth Estate seems to think it can go on doing. Brainwashing works in a context of strong national identities and frameworks of identity and being, for example in police states and theocracies. When national identities dissolve and government becomes an unknown thing, the framework is deconstructed, bit by bit.

In the western ex-democracies, readership and TV viewership polls show that only those over 65 years age still "rely on" the dying dailies and drab mainstream TV news shows for their information and therefore their dirty-water brainwashing. Twenty-five years ago the figures were starkly different and can be summarized by the single word "confidence". The Fourth Estate only has itself to blame for why the public turned off - publicity like politics only works when the lies, spin and distortion are believed. As the media gets flakier and incoherent, the challenges for brainwashing becomes even larger.

Upping the ante and resorting to hysteria is the telltale sign of brainwashing losing impact or "traction on the masses". Most of the dying dailies, in a large number of western countries, and the TV documentary editorial fraternity of spin doctors, run longstanding and recurrent Op-Eds, Opinion pieces and Special Report themes on how "we" are preparing for societal collapse, no less. This can be slanted to Ebola, ISIS, Vlad-the-Vampire Putin or junkscience themes like global warming but the one-size-fits-all fnatsy and hype destroys the public's interest, really fast,

The media is now post-brainwashing even if it is clear that producers of this last-ditch output still think it is brainwashing and hope or believe it does dumb down “the masses” even further. The new “social collapse” spin added to a rising amount of Fourth Estate output is rivaled by simply hundreds of Internet sites that work the same cabbage patch, of lurid warnings that "societal collapse is coming".

It was not long ago that US Secretary of State John Kerry and "ikonic strategist" Zbigniew Brzezinski said that the internet is making it hard to govern. Kerry has been relatively loquacious on how he feels threatened by Internet, saying that "... this little thing called the internet and the ability of people everywhere to communicate instantaneously and have more information coming at them in one day than most people can process in months or a year" is one reason that it is harder to rule. Go and tell that to ISIS, not average readers, watchers and listeners of Fourth Estate trash.

Kerry's talk about "information overload" or more information coming at people in a day than they could handle in months or a year ignored the GQ-garbage quotient of 98% in what "comes at the people". As a result they shut down and turn off. This is bad for Kerry and bad for brainwashing until and unless we have George Orwell's famous future snoop TV sets (like PCs with a built-in webcam), where "the people" are filmed to ensure they are watching and ingurgitate the pap-and-propaganda.  Until then, there's no hope for the Fourth Estate.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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