Sunday, November 06, 2016

Quote of the Day

If you need a general framework for understanding what happened with the Clinton e-mail Comey events, here's Niklas Luhmann from The Reality of the Mass Media (a book that everyone purporting to offer critiques of mass media role in elections should be reading) --

These two mutually exonerating responses can still be found today, at least in the system of the mass media. On the one hand, improbability has become an institution. It is expected. It operates as an opportunity for attentiveness. On the other hand, suspicions arise of concealed goings-on, of political machinations in the broadest sense. The mass media are 'manipulating' public opinion. They are pursuing an interest that is not being communicated. They are producing 'bias'. It may be that everything they write or broadcast is relevant, but that does not answer the question: what for? Their concern may be to achieve commercial success, or to promote ideological options, to support political tendencies, to maintain the social status quo (this in particular by providing a drug-like distraction towards ever new items of news) or simply to be a commercial success. The mass media seem simultaneously to nurture and to undermine their own credibility. They 'deconstruct' themselves, since they reproduce the constant contradiction of their constative and their performative textual components with their own operations.

[Previous quote of the day from this book]

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