The death of the political elite

WUWT found an interesting video in which Obama and Merkel talk about the role of the internet in changing politics:

To be totally frank: Obama and Merkel must find it incredibly difficult to understand politics where many people have given up trying to be heard by the biased media.

20 years ago, if you felt strongly about a subject, you’d write to the paper. And if you felt strongly about a subject that the journalists either didn’t like (sceptic) or couldn’t understand (science) then you’d struggle to get a letter published. As a result, the  only way you’d get heard is by writing 100 letters to the press – and hoping one would get published. And as a result, whilst the press didn’t like some views, they heard they existed and even sometimes published them.

So, the press were hearing what the public thought – or at least those passionate to write to the press.

Then along comes the internet, and instead of spending an hour writing a letter, I can spend an hour writing a dozen comments to various blogs. You and me we’re hearing what the public thinks about global warming. But those idiots in the media – they’re not getting in anywhere near the number of letters, they aren’t being hassled by sceptics and when they publish their biased views as “science” … they’re not getting anywhere near the number of complaints they would have got 20 years ago.

But it gets worse. Because once many people found it was pointless writing to the press and found an outlet on the internet, then the press saw ever fewer letters expressing views they disliked. That allowed them to believe that there were even fewer people in the public with those views, and so they printed fewer letters, produced fewer supportive articles … and the public with alternative views became even more convinced that the media would not publish their views and so even fewer tried to contact journalists. It was a vicious cycle.

And visa versa, those views the journalists liked, found it easy to get their views heard, they therefore were encouraged to contact the journalists, and the journalists became even more convinced that the views they liked were in fact the same as all the public – and that the people posting online … were just a sordid delusional minority. This created a massive disparity. Views favoured by journalists – particularly from large organisations whose press releases could be copy-n-pasted found it incredibly easy to get published by the journalists in a virtuous cycle. Views the journalists didn’t like or found difficult to understand (science) and which came from individuals or small groups, got stuck into a vicious cycle or being more and more ignored, as fewer and fewer bothered to write to the press as more and more they went onto the internet.

So the press grew increasingly convinced that their view was “the public view” and that all those views they disliked were just a small out of touch irrelevant minority.

That was until it came to elections, when suddenly that sordid delusional “minority” began winning. “How did it happen”, is perhaps the catchphrase of the elites. “No one saw the banking crisis” (lie). “No one saw Brexit coming”, “No one saw the crash of confidence in climate”, “No one saw trump”, “No one saw the SNP”, etc. etc. etc. True if you read the biased press and listened the biased broadcasters in their echo-box of establishment views – you never saw it coming. But if you went online, you certainly saw them all coming.

The people who didn’t see, were the press and establishment politicians who had given up listening to the ordinary people who were now forced out onto the internet.

At yes, at first, those forced out were just the minority – but as more and more people got onto the internet, and as the press in their vicious cycle of decline became more and more biased in their views, the internet became the majority view. The internet supported Brexit, Trump, etc.

So, paradoxically, because of the internet the press went from being in the centre of public debate and hearing the diversity of views (even if they didn’t publish some) to being some of the most out of touch people on the planet (why read the internet when you can hear your own favourite views mirrored back to you by your own and other papers).

And as many politicians still rely on what they read in the broadcast media – they in turn are even more out of touch with the public views on a whole range of issues which are not popular with journalists.

Because journalists were biased – we moved online – so they stopped hearing from us – so they then imagined that what they saw on the internet represented a small group of delusional people, rather than the vast bulk of public opinion.

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5 Responses to The death of the political elite

  1. TinyCO2 says:

    This goes double for the BBC.

    A lot of news isn’t news, it’s opinion about news. Reporters hunt down people to illustrate their point but rarely to contradict. Unfortunately they convince MPs too, so politics deviates from the people its suposed to represent. The BBC leads the way deciding what is politically correct and nags everyone into line.

  2. wolsten says:

    Inciteful, compelling post Mike.

  3. A very interesting look at the press and the path they took. I had not considered that their policies of ignoring letters they did not like could lead them to believe they were right and everyone agrees with their views. Makes sense.

    • Scottish-Sceptic says:

      In 2000, if you wanted to campaign on an issue – you wrote to the papers.
      I forget the date, but it was post Climategate, I was involved in a local campaign, where we did involve the papers, but the main campaigning tool was a website.

      And it was much more sensible. Instead of randomly sending letters in the vague hope of being published, we put on the website exactly what we wanted people to know, when we wanted.

      So, from spending far more time trying to explain things to the journalists to get them on side to run a story – we now bypass them completely and go straight to the internet .

  4. bjc70 says:

    Like the old saying – the silent majority.

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