I’ve just read this line: ‘…a strategy is needed that defends the media from both public and private power, and enables the media to serve the wider public through critical surveillance of all those in authority’.
It comes from an essay on the so-called watchdog function of the media (this can be interpreted in many ways, all of which share the image of the dog; the only difference is who the dog is “protecting” – state, “public”, private shareholders, and so on). In each case someone is growled at.
I got stopped by this line because it’s rubbish. First of all, if the media is not, in it’s entirety, precisely an expression of public and private power, then I don’t know what it is. I mean, remove private and public power from the media, and what are you left with? Nada. Of course each form of media is infected with public and private power in different flavours and ratios and to different degrees, but still, that’s what it’s made of.
The media is one of those beasts that so completely saturates everything around it with its own importance and is, itself, so completely saturated that it’s absence has become unthinkable. A clever man once wrote that the spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes visible. The media, likewise, is power made visible, both in content and form. (And yes, power is money, and the media is spectacle).
And then, ‘critical surveillance of all those in authority’? A pathetic joke.
The point is that it is always a very dangerous thing to talk of a man-made institution that needs to be ‘protected’, as if it has a life of it’s own and was born in a forest. There is no watchdog. Or if there is, it’s definitely not snarling. More like a big smelly wolfhound that invades your nostrils from around the corner, always lumbering around, but never going away.
Media demia dementia
Time to cook some spaghetti.