Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In times of upheaval, should there be one story, and one story only?

When an event that has bee recognized as a crisis is underway, the official news media always make it clear that they're there not to offer comprehensive coverage and an attempt to present the many different stories that would be helpful for understanding what's going on, but merely to reiterate the one monolithic narrative that is meant to be the official view. They do this, I presume, to make sure that people don't draw their own conclusions at a time of upheaval, when new perceptions might conceivably occur to the those who are watching. Sometimes the media will give voice to an "opposition" narrative, but it's always one that's carefully crafted to be rejected, one without nuance, one that is represented as tired and subjective.

Don't you just love the way people in the news media (in this case the BBC) ask questions of people who are not one of them (or one of the 5%) and then either ignore and mischaracterize what they say (CNN recently did this when asking "people on the street" their opinions of the "debt crisis") or try to put words in their mouths and then when they refuse inform them they're wrong and then go in for wholesale character assassination? This YouTube video, of the BBC interviewing Darcus Howe, a West Indian writer and broadcaster, offers a classic example:

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