In the past big institutions talked to big-institutional news media who then decided what news THEY thought was suitable to tell us plebs. They justified their control, because THEY said they were impartial, using a totally arbitrary split between “left-right”. This view of politics was that you had a choice – because we could choose the “left” views of the Guardian Dinosaur News Media or the “right” views of the Telegraph Dinosaur News Media.
In other words, it was no real choice at all.
I’ve often described this by a new ending to animal farm (A book in which the pigs take over the farm and begin behaving like men – in reference to communism in the USSR):
“… and the pigs gathered all the animals together and said: ‘from now on you will all be free to choose which pigs are to run animal farm’”
This has been the cosy relationship of labour and tories, republicans and democrats. They were both two ends of the same Dinosaur political establishment, they both had all their leaders from pretty much the same social background, they agreed on all the important things particular that:
“THE DINOSAUR POLITICAL PARTIES SHOULD TAKE IT IN TURNS TO BE IN CHARGE – AND NO ONE ELSE WOULD BE HEARD”.
The BBC being their (UK) mouthpiece, were more than happy to broadcast their views on how important they were, as in return the BBC could then spend all the rest of the time on subjects that BBC journalists wanted the public to hear about.
So, it was the Dinosaurs of politics, the Dinosaur education establishments, the Dinosaur news media, all co-operating and “mock-fighting” to pretend that all the Dinosaur establishments were in fact acting in the very best interests of the rats that infested the world outside Dinosaurland.
And till this millennia, we the public, the rats feeding off their scraps, had no real choice but to chose “which pigs ran the farm”, and “which pig-newspaper to read about the pig-interesting things of the pig-dinosaur establishments that ran the farm”.
And then along came the internet
And relatively suddenly, we don’t have to get our news from the DNM, we don’t even have to get it from a journalist – indeed, it is not even “news” in any sense understood by the DNM – because it isn’t about Dinosaur events, Dinosaur institutions, Dinosaur interests – it was just you and me talking to each other.
How was that any threat to the Dinosaurs?
But now, I don’t have to listen to the DNM telling me whether to vote for a “left-curling tail” pig or a “right-curling tail pig”. I can actually hear what all the animals in animal farm are saying without once having to get the permission of the dinosaurs-pigs to “allow” me to hear anyone’s views.
So, e.g. on immigration – a subject that it was long totally taboo to talk about, has become a major issue – not because the DNM had anything to do with it, but because the CNM (citizen news media) talked to other citizens through the internet, and suddenly we all began to realise that when you get out of Dinosaurland, you find that most people can talk about immigration quite rationally. Yes there are racists – but so too are the Dinosaurs racist when they assume that immigration must be a race issue. Indeed, the BBC are clearly obsessed with race – and then they have to gall to claim others are racists. (It doesn’t mean you are against race, only that race governs your views)
The Death Knell for the DNM
James Delingpole move from blogging in the Telegraph, is something new. He is not part of what I term “CNM” (Citizen News Media), because this is not ordinary citizens producing or gathering news for ordinary citizens. It is instead … all I can think of is “rats” (the small agile mammals that ran between the Dinosaur’s feet that posed absolutely no threat to these huge animals). It’s a hybrid between CNM and DNM – much smaller than the DNM, but clearly more commercial than CNM:
James Delingpole, formerly of the Daily Telegraph, and Raheem Kassam, from TrendingCentral.com, will lead Breitbart London, which will have a staff of 10 with 100 contributors already lined up to grow the site. (Breitbart link)
This is something new. In the past, the biggest threat to the DNM, was the CNM – that if you wanted to read up on a specialist topic like the environment or climate science, you’d go to a website like WattsUpWithThat. This was free-to-air (or perhaps ad paid), in direct competition on subjects where information was easily available and the issue was worldwide. So, one website running at very lost costs, could more or less cater for the whole world. There was no way the DNM could compete in these niche interest areas of global interest.
But the CNM, whilst being very low-cost, could only feed off others. It fed off research or news outlets and acted as a “filter-feeder”, combing the internet and gathering up news material in one place and publishing it in another in a form most appropriate to its readership. Slowly that changed, until the CNM like WUWT, now produce original material and there are even signs that now the DNM are becoming parasites living off the CNM. (e.g. Youtube on tv!)
But in many spheres of life, it has been impossible to obtain primary news content without the cost of having journalists “on the ground”. Take a simple example – a speech by the PM. The DNM had the journalists to send along to (pretend) they had a story and then they could duly write about it – or more accurately just regurgitate what the spin-doctors told them would sell their papers. A nice cosy relationship, which individuals in the CNM could never break into.
But the micro-news media like Breitbart could.
This is where the move by Delingpole is so important. Because now we are beginning to see “Micro-News Media” channels developing, without any of the old cumbersome apparatus of the old DNM. Although the Telegraph will not believe it, I think Delingpole had jumped ship before the old DNM sank. I think Breitbart is just the beginning of the storm and we will rapidly see news dissemination moving to these Micro-News Media channels. This will not only accelerate the death of the Guardian, but likewise others will be hit and it is likely that e.g. at least one of the Times & Telegraph will go. As electronic devices take over from paper, at least one perhaps several of the “low-brows” will also go to the wall.
To explain this, I need a brief digression into laser physics. On the right are some curves. The left curve represents the lasing potential at any wavelength. The higher this curve, the more transitions giving off energy at this wavelength will be stimulated.
Beneath this are a number of laser “modes”. In this case, they are equally spaced, as they represent wavelengths which neatly fit into the length of the laser cavity.When the two act together, they produce the curve as top right. This shows that most lasers operate not at a single frequency but at a number of discrete frequencies – or to be more exact – peak at a number of frequencies. But notice how they are not “discrete” but instead the laser modes are broadened as they stimulate a range of frequencies.
Each mode has a profile: the broader this profile the more energy it can “suck” into the mode. So, the energy in any mode is determined by:
- The central wavelength
- The overall available energy at that wavelength (the overall curve)
- The breadth of each mode
- The overlap between each mode (if they overlap, they “suck” out energy from the next).
Now this is similar to markets. In any market, there is an overall profile of consumer demand (usually low to high price) and a range of products (modes). Each mode “sucks” in purchasers from a range of interest. However, if the range of available products do not adequately satisfy everyone in the market, they leave “gaps” and those gaps can then be filled by new products. Creating new products is hugely expensive. So most producers like to have a broad-appeal product that “sucks” in most consumers. But such a product is never best for everyone, and so it is relatively simple to create a “niche” product with specific appeal which then “sucks” out a hole in the market. (I suspect I need a whole article – but I hope that’s enough)
The application of laser physics to politics markets
Unlike lasers, in a market, we have another criteria which is that the product (or political party if that is the market), has sufficient “sales” to make it viable. In other words laser “modes” are re-enforcing when large enough to be commercially viable and self-annihilating when too small. The key is whether the income from membership etc. exceeds running costs.
So, we can view this as the single, and false, political spectrum from left to right. Indeed, the reason we view it so simply, is that in the Dinosaur age, the cost of creating and running a political party was so astronomical, that only a few parties could possibly exist and there was very little to choose between them except the most gross political attribute of wealth.
Using this, we find that this model gives us a curve with a peak in the “centre” of politics diminishing to the “extremes”. In Dinosaur politics, the dynamics (in the UK and US) were such that there were only two parties. In Germany e.g. there is one dominant centre party and two smaller parties to left and right. So, as the German electorate swing left or right – the centre vote changes little, but the parties to left or right change.
The effect of the move to the internet
The internet has dramatically brought down the cost of producing and supplying products. No longer does a shop need a high street shop in every town – it doesn’t even need a webpage if it sells through ebay. The cost of putting product on line is now so low, we can hardly tell the difference between the consumer sales and company sales. We can all compete almost directly with the biggest (Dinosaur) companies in the world. The effect is to reduce the cost of creating a new “product”, which is similar to being able to squeeze more laser modes under the gain profile. The result is there is more diversity, more products, more modes.
The same is true of politics
What does it take to create a political party? A website!! – or even just a facebook page! OK, the DNM are still quite dominant, so there is still a huge advantage to the Dinosaur parties through their Dinosaur Newsmedia – but that will not last forever. The cost of creating and running a political party has been dramatically reduced. Indeed, under the PR system in Scotland, the threshold to make the party financially viable is even lower.
The impact of the internet is to lower the cost of creating a political party, which suggests that very soon new parties will begin to emerge — and true to form — in the UK we have UKIP and I suppose the Greens are another facet.
Indeed, once you get beyond three parties, you really need a much more complex view of politics because it is no longer “left-right”, but it could e.g. be “common sense” versus “eco-fascism”. (The curve is now multi-dimensional)
The impact of UK public broadcasters
It is well known that the BBC get all its news from the Guardian. This is what is killing the Guardian – because why buy the Guardian, when you have the whole of the BBC devoted to your views? Not only that, but the Guardian covers all the issues people can read online!
But likewise, the BBC have a huge cost advantage over all the other DNM. So, the BBC, so long as it has enforced funding, will dominate the DNM sector, as the DNM sector shrinks, the BBC will be relatively a bigger and bigger proportion of the DNM sector, until like the proverbial “cuckoo”, it will forces out its “sibling” rivals one by one. Potentially, it could become the only “DNM” bird left.
Paradoxically, the change in the UK could be all the quicker because the Dinosaur political parties – under threat from the new rat-pack politics, will try more desperately than ever to shore up the old Dinosaur order and (relatively) push more and more money to the BBC to try to ensure that the DNM on which they so rely, doesn’t die out. But paradoxically, the Dinosaur Political party’s desperation to keep alive the DNM through the public funded BBC will do more than anything else to kill off the Dinosaurs in the UK.
- Delingpole has made the right move at the right time to the right media.
- Breitbart is just the first of a whole new “rat pack” of smaller media outlets which will rapidly replace the old “Dinosaur News media”
- Likewise, we are about to see a whole new “rat pack” of political parties – enabled through the internet, and able to utilise the internet and the “rat-pack” of micro-media outlets to get elected
- The change will be fastest in those countries with relatively few (Dinosaur) political parties and Dinosaur public broadcasters.