We are the media, now what?

One of the potential downsides of a network society is that deception, especially by those with power over the communications platforms, will become all-too-common. John Pilger takes a look at this, focusing much of the blame on professional journalists in War by media and the triumph of propaganda.

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

Note: It is not just Pilger making this assessment, as Robert Parry explains in NYT shows how propaganda works.

I concluded in seeking perpetual beta that we are shifting to the network era, requiring new models to do what what our institutions and markets are incapable of. I recently rewrote and reposted that conclusion, as it is the starting point for my next ebook, finding perpetual beta, which will be out this month. We are all together in our global village.

Avoiding societal deception in the network era requires an aggressively intelligent citizenry and workers actively engaged in all aspects of democratic enterprises. Continuing to collaborate in hierarchies, with gatekeepers and other control mechanisms, will not transform us into a well-functioning networked society. In the network era, collaboration is outdated. We need to learn how to work cooperatively to deal with the complex problems facing us that cannot be addressed through our existing tribal, institutional, or market structures. 

sheepIn the network era, we are the media, if we want to be. If we, the citizenry, give up our capability to inform each other, we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is the foundation of personal knowledge mastery: critical thinking. It is coupled with disciplined practice and strengthened by sharing with our fellow global citizens. Pilger may have found fault with the fourth estate, but we are the only ones capable of creating a fifth estate for the next stage of society.

“What we need is a Fifth Estate: a journalism that monitors, deconstructs and counters propaganda and teaches the young to be agents of people, not power. We need what the Russians called perestroika – an insurrection of subjugated knowledge. I would call it real journalism.”

We can create a fifth estate that is not an institution, nor a slave to the markets, but a true network. We need to become real networked citizens. It means thinking for ourselves. We are not alone. Three billion of us are connected by the technology that could deceive us. Let’s not let it. We can either work to build a civil society or live in the emerging  panopticon. Media in a networked society are much too big to be left to the journalists.

2 Responses to “We are the media, now what?”

    • Harold Jarche

      Quite possibly, Ryan. That’s why critical thinking skills are so important. Our education systems have pretty well ignored the development of critical thinking, focused instead on content dissemination, AKA curriculum. However, I still have faith in the upcoming generation 🙂


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