The diabolical cunning of the mainstream
Competent scholars are often invited to appear on TV talk shows to provide their knowledgeable perspectives on majorissues such as recent pandemics, the Ukraine war, and the Gaza invasion. However, it is disheartening to witness that when the pundit express opinions contrary to the mainstream narrative, the talk show anchors frequently resort to public attacks and ridicule them.
One might wonder why these anchors invite dissenting voices in the first place, and why the scholars accept to participate in such a hostile environment. It is unlikely that the intention is to demonstrate the freedom of information and the inclusion of diverse viewpoints. Instead, it has become evident that, in the post-pandemic era, communication has evolved in a way that strategically invites a few dissenting voices to amplify the dominant narrative showcased by the talk show hosts. Ideally, the anchors prefer inviting individuals who exhibit eccentricities or can be personally attacked.
By exposing the divergent opinions of the invited dissenters, the anchors reaffirm their own positions. The tactic is simple: they offer more airtime and allow greater fervor to their “allies,” who are given permission to mock and ridicule dissenting viewpoints. It is difficult to believe that those who participate in talk shows from a critical standpoint are acting in bad faith. It is unlikely that they realize they are instruments of controlled information. However, unintentionally, they contribute to the manipulation of truth.
Claiming that this strategy has been systematically devised and imposed by unknown powers to control the masses demanding civil liberties and accurate information is a challenging argument. Perhaps, as a hypothesis, a largelycontrolled communication network has gradually emerged, verging on totalitarianism. While a biased “conspiracy” perspective is not a suitable premise for independent analysis, a serious researcher should consider and examine every hypothesis, including the possibility of conspiratorial forces at play.
When discussing communication, particularly in the context of justifying senseless wars, it is crucial to acknowledge the concerning decline of information media. Therefore, it is essential to investigate how the pervasive and impactful limitations imposed by the pandemic have influenced citizens and transformed information techniques.
A comprehensive study requires a dynamic analysis, seeking to understand how the measures and communication strategies implemented to combat the pandemic have significantly altered the political and information systems. The power to disseminate information, from “governments to citizens,” due to the assumed state of necessity, whetheraccidental or deliberately provoked, has become more invasive and sophisticated. Simultaneously, minimal effort has been made to enhance “information from citizens to governments.” Furthermore, there has been a concerning lack of initiative to expand information sources; in fact, they have become increasingly selective. This strengthening of “top-down” information has effectively marginalized “bottom-up” information, which is the foundation of democracy, representing information flowing from citizens to governments.
Moreover, the terms “top-down” and “bottom-up” seem outdated, reflecting a hypothetical and desired world of 20th-century information. As there are no longer clear divisions in social classes represented by parties, organizations, or recognized authorities, it is more appropriate to refer to “inside-out” information, originating from entrenched institutions,and “outside-in” information, representing those who collectively seek to influence decisions. Scholars such as John Hagel and John Seely Brown have explored and discussed this concept among others.
In an increasingly complex world, where knowledge is highly specialized and fragmented, the search for truth becomes an elusive endeavor. Without a foundation of truth, even the pursuit of ethics becomes a challenging task. Information flows predominantly from the inside out, emanating from the secluded ivory tower where its propagators reside, impervious to the messages attempting to penetrate its walls. It is crucial not to overlook the fact that, without access to information, even those within the corridors of power gradually succumb to ignorance and foolishness.
Regrettably, the once solid and legitimate institutions that facilitated effective citizen participation have suffered further erosion. Through the development and application of sophisticated communication techniques, information has been intentionally fragmented and distorted, granting prominence solely to those selectively chosen by those in positions of power.
During the pandemic emergency, I found it necessary to advocate for this approach. Unlike more reckless individuals, I foresaw the danger of irreversible consequences once these techniques were implemented and entrenched within theexisting structures. Alas, others who shared this understanding shamelessly exploited the situation. Dissenting opinions, seemingly tolerated in an atmosphere of freedom and open information, have been and continue to be allowed circulationsolely to reinforce prevailing narratives, often trivializing or even mocking those voices that deviate from the established norm.
Returning to a state of transparent and unrestricted information flow would have been challenging enough. However, the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine have made the prospect of achieving transparency and unbiased politics increasingly unattainable. Prejudices persist or, at best, are vaguely acknowledged, further hindering the restoration of a truly transparent and unbiased information landscape. The question arises: will we be able to extricate ourselves from the whirlpool that threatens to engulf us?