Democracy is a discursive process, where citizens discuss public issues and social challenges. Whether they gather in their local church, school, or online, it is the discussion of ideas and events that enables them to arrive at group wisdom–something we see in the jury system.
Through letters to the editor, and comments on news stories and editorials, this exchange of ideas and perspectives facilitates the examination of beliefs and values, leading to clearer understanding. Sometimes, by reexamining what we think we know to be true, we discover that we were mistaken.
In today’s media of recycled press releases posing as news, there is a lot of propaganda, but little journalism. This creates a lot of heat, but little light.
Habitual opinions in this social environment–created by public relations (PR) marketing firms–are thus commodities, acquired in the same manner as other consumer goods. These competing commodified narratives are consequently similar to rival cheer-leading squads, espousing slogans for their team.
In The Creation of Discursive Monoculture, I discussed how the power elite (Wall Street) controls public consciousness through their ownership of the PR firms serving government, media, and the non-profit industrial complex. As a result, all narratives, including those on social media, serve Wall Street.
To break free from the narratives of privatized mass communication, that now dominates public opinion, we have to break free from financial and psychological dependence on handouts from Wall Street–whether in the form of foundation grants from the power elite, or in the form of paid advertising and PR.
Otherwise, Wall Street will continue to set the civil society agenda, and consolidate social engineering through social media, leading to an environment where nothing of importance is ever discussed in public. What I have described as ‘a world of make believe’.