Friday, November 29, 2013

The Press as elitist Herd Beasts

It's been knows for a long, long time that the Press is a herd, and that they all view the world the same way, and that only Approved Ideas ever appear as ink on the page.  Nick Steves shows just how long this has been known - since 1978, with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s commencement address at Harvard University:
There is yet another surprise for someone coming from the totalitarian East with its rigorously unified press: One discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole (the spirit of the time), generally accepted patterns of judgment, and maybe common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Unrestrained freedom exists for the press, but not for readership, because newspapers mostly transmit in a forceful and emphatic way those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and that general trend.

Without any censorship in the West, fashionable trends of thought and ideas are fastidiously separated from those that are not fashionable, and the latter, without ever being forbidden have little chance of finding their way into periodicals or books or being heard in colleges. Your scholars are free in the legal sense, but they are hemmed in by the idols of the prevailing fad. There is no open violence, as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to accommodate mass standards frequently prevents the most independent-minded persons from contributing to public life and gives rise to dangerous herd instincts that block dangerous herd development.
He has full text and video, but the next time anyone claims that the MSM isn't biased, ask them if they went to Harvard.  And if they didn't, how that would explain how they'd missed Solzhenitsyn explaining precisely how it is.

Via Isegoria, who always finds cool stuff.


OMMAG said...

An honest intellectual ... Solzhenitsyn had very clear vision about corruption and abuse of power.

Still ... he hated Western Culture and preferred to retreat to his native Russia before death.

Ken said...

Tom Wolfe said much the same, in The Right Stuff (the press as "Victorian Gent").