Sunday, July 01, 2007

Jim Woodring: The Curled Tail of Conscience

From The Woodring Monitor

Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience.

- Walter Lippmann (1889–1974), U.S. journalist. A Preface to Politics, ch. 6 (1914).

Amazon Links:
A Preface to Politics by Walter Lippmann
Seeing Things by Jim Woodring

From Wikipedia: Walter Lippmann:

It was Lippmann who first identified the tendency of journalists to generalize about other people based on fixed ideas. He argued that people—including journalists—are more apt to believe "the pictures in their heads" than come to judgment by critical thinking. Humans condense ideas in to symbols, he wrote, and journalism, a force quickly becoming the mass media, is an ineffective method of educating the public. Even if journalists did better jobs of informing the public about important issues, Lippmann believed "the mass of the reading public is not interested in learning and assimilating the results of accurate investigation." Citizens, he wrote, were too self-centered to care about public policy except as pertaining to pressing local issues.

[...] Lippmann came to be seen as Noam Chomsky's moral and intellectual antithesis. Chomsky used one of Lippmann's catch phrases for the title of his book about the media: Manufacturing Consent.

From Noam Chomsky Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley:

C: In fact, the structure of the news production system is, you can't produce evidence. There's even a name for it -- I learned it from the producer of Nightline, Jeff Greenfield. It's called "concision." He was asked in an interview somewhere why they didn't have me on Nightline, and his answer was -- two answers. First of all, he says, "Well, he talks Turkish, and nobody understands it." But the other answer was, "He lacks concision." Which is correct, I agree with him. The kinds of things that I would say on Nightline, you can't say in one sentence because they depart from standard religion. If you want to repeat the religion, you can get away with it between two commercials. If you want to say something that questions the religion, you're expected to give evidence, and that you can't do between two commercials. So therefore you lack concision, so therefore you can't talk.

I think that's a terrific technique of propaganda. To impose concision is a way of virtually guaranteeing that the party line gets repeated over and over again, and that nothing else is heard.

Q: This is why so much of your work in the area of politics has been focused on what you call "manufacturing consent," meaning the framing of issues, the way topics are put off the table for discussion. So in the end, what your work suggests is that in coming to understand that, then there's hope for understanding the problems we confront.

C: Oh, yes. Actually, I should say, the term "manufacturing consent" is not mine, I took it from Walter Lippmann, the leading public intellectual and leading media figure of the twentieth century, who thought it was a great idea. He said we should manufacture consent, that's the way democracies should work. There should be a small group of powerful people, and the rest of the population should be spectators, and you should force them to consent by controlling, regimenting their minds. That's the leading idea of democratic theorists, and the public relations industry and so on, so I'm not making it up. In fact, I'm just borrowing their conception, and telling other people what they think.

1 comment:

Eman said...

Hmmm...pig tail butt plug?