Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Media's Myth of "Radicalization On Line"

The "Two Stories"
It's clearly time to start thinking about the "other one."
That is, the inevitable "media version" 
and the only slightly more difficult to comprehend, "actual version"

The "media" version of terrorism reporting:

The reportage of a terrorist act is dependably represented as "something basically incomprehensible." The network "news narrative" confronts this immediately with a series of quite "palatable, alternative conclusions" intended to produce a delightful, although cynically artificial, "comprehensible" sensation in the media consumer.

This effort is usually approached from two central themes, although there are more "waiting in the wings" should the narrative start growing "incomprehensible" again.

The first "theme" is almost always "mental illness." The terrorist perpetrator's entire life history is scrutinized for evidence of some hidden, lingering craziness which can be used to "explain" what he just did. The viewer, calmed by this wonderful revelation, is immediately more relaxed and satisfied. Whatever the "terrorist" act might have been, the man who performed it was simply not in his right mind.

This opens the possibility for this viewer to "extend" the network's logic just a tad, arriving at an even more calming, reassuring and even more comfortably "comprehensible" conclusion that people around the world really like the United States, and only insane people -- such as this particular terrorist -- would fail to do so.

The second "theme" is "on line radicalization" --  that is the suggestion this individual was, in fact, absolutely, unquestionably, indisputably "normal" prior to the evening that he first linked his desk top computer to a "radical, Islamic web site." Of course, to be fair, we have to, also alternatively, include a completely tax deductible, First Amendment, "radical, dirty shirt, Alabama preacher's web site."

This "theme" offers the industrial media many advantages similar to those noted in the "first theme."

It instantly introduces a very appealing possibility for "placing the blame." For the biblical lunatics attempting to digest this "news story" in a manner which comports with the Old Testament [not to mention, of course, also comporting with the original Vatican "fatwa" introduced in the famous Crusades "Holy Lands real estate" speech of Pope Urban II, ca. 1095 AD -  read it here FORDHAM], the details of the still smoldering violent event being reported need not be "tested for relativity" beyond the fact that it was either not a Christian who committed it, or, at least, not a good Christian.

For media consumers anxious to "go even farther" than simply placing the blame or just lamenting everything existing about the modern Middle East, this "second theme" offers a wonderfully superficial, effortless "response" to the horrible act which has just occurred.

An effortless response? Of course. 

Blame the Internet.

More specifically, these media consumers can not only blame the Internet, but they can proceed to demand that the US government "do something" about these "radicalizing Islamic web sites," but, of course, only while doing absolutely nothing about the "radicalizing, dirty shirt preachers' web sites."

In this way the US media can "do its job."

Wait. What "job" would that be?

That "job" would be two fold:

1. To explain absolutely everything without ever introducing so much as a whisper of the possibility that the United States started this cycle of terror or that the news media had grown to rely on it almost explicitly for the "sacred network viewership ratings." and,

2. To offer a response -- i.e. such as censoring the Internet -- which is guaranteed to be absolutely ineffective at suppressing terrorist acts, but also which would, over time, serve to diminish the interest of those viewers currently hypnotized by the "ratings generating" network terrorism narratives. The industrial "news" business, understandably, "likes things just the way they are.

The "actual" version of terrorism reporting:

It doesn't require a "stretch of the imagination" to speculate some far more realistic causes of terrorist acts. In the past of many of these terrorists is a direct experience. Perhaps this was something like someone's eight year old cousin who was killed while she was running from a bombing attack which had just killed her mother. Maybe it was a long time neighbor who was shot and killed in the middle of a street fight.

Perhaps these events were communicated as a "second hand" account over an Internet site. Maybe this terrorist's brother had worked in an automotive garage for years -- until it was blown to smithereens by the 34th bomb among fifty other bombs which were dropped on the 128th day of an "air war" which saw fifty bombs dropped daily.

Domestic terrorists were not "radicalized" by a few visits to an Internet site. The process was of a much longer duration.

Yet, thanks to the domestic media's "antiseptic" version describing the causes of this horrible process, the target of the "blame" which instigated each one of these domestic murder and mayhem events must be directed at something conveniently close and conveniently deplorable -- the Internet. After months of continuing attacks by the USAF, we wonder why this shallow denial and delusion hasn't accomplished the military objective so carefully crafted by the same media.

The "Mad Hatter" atmosphere seems to be sickeningly self-sustaining. Pretending to be "blameless victims" while pretending to conduct violent war fare -- inflamed for the media by vengeful, righteous anger -- to neutralize everyone who might have a good reason to hate us has essentially no possibility of success.

The Media and the Bomber, Slicer, Shooter or Ax Man
"If it bleeds, it leads!"
For the viewer at home there will be five seconds
 of deep, insightful analysis following the video.

So, why exactly is the US domestic media absolutely refusing to say anything about why some terrorist suddenly careens into an insane terrorism episode?

The answer is unsettling. That kind of reporting can no longer interest the media audience which might have, at one time, actually felt engaged with such a topic. It shouldn't be too difficult to find someone who will offer up the idea that "No, it's always been pretty much like that."

It hasn't.

To place a little foundation under such a proposition we should look at a few examples of the US being "attacked." When the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk in May, 1915, 128 Americans were among the 1200 lost. When Pearl Harbor was flattened in December, 1941, 2,400 Americans were killed and around 1,200 were wounded. There are plenty of examples.

However, the point is that when this news was brought to the American citizens at home, the country responded. Importantly, these attacks and most others in the period were military attacks, not acts of terrorism. Nonetheless, prior to the shaky "truce" which finally ended the Cold War with the Soviets Americans were quite intolerant of foreign powers raiding, threatening or killing their citizen peers.

In modern times the American military, at least theoretically, is so powerful that modern adversaries have, understandably, switched to asymmetric tactics -- tactics which focus on terrorist attacks instead of military action. The advanced military may create a "realm of terror" on those unable to resist, but the asymmetric tactics of the otherwise militarily inferior -- coupled with the raw avarice of the American media -- can go far to create its own "realm of terror" in the domestic American psyche.

Further, what we see now is a continuation of the cycle, one which began long before the terrorism began. See, people quietly living -- wherever they may be -- their lives do not spontaneously reach a mental state in which they are prepared to sacrifice themselves to "make a media point." There is a long, disturbing series of events which had to occur first.

If the terrorism is occurring here in the US, we can be quite certain that in the past someone from the US started the cycle. Even the US is "hard to hate" in the absence of some pretty direct incitement. For example freedom loving, free enterprise Westerners have been "harvesting" everything not "bolted down" in the Middle East region for centuries with predictable results -- including the current terrorism.

The British Lancet reports that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens -- more than enough of them Sunni -- were killed in the Bush W. "oil war." [Johns_Hopkins_Bloomberg_School] Rest assured, this is more than enough to "get things started."

Everything MUST be Suffocated Into Inane Simplicity
Neither the media's reporting nor the media audience's understanding are exceptions.
The "nothing is real" idea? "Now THERE is something REALLY comfortable!"

MeanMesa watches the now road weary explanation which not only inevitably follows each, utterly amateurish "lone wolf" terrorist effort but is also then repeated ad nauseum for the next dozen "news cycles." Not surprisingly, at least for the producers in the brain locked domestic media, extracting the maximum fear value will necessarily consume a healthy number of echoing, media repeats.

Think of it as a delightful serendipity -- an unexpected opportunity to take a few days off from the drudgery of actual reporting. Just kidding. There's clearly very little drudgery going on in network media reporting.

We really need to acknowledge that these terrorist acts do not materialize from absolutely nothing or even some momentary, frustrated whimsy. There is a story behind each one. The perpetrator of such an act was doing something, thinking something and feeling something which ultimately led up to the violent, anti-social act. Although in most cases the life of the terrorist ends, there was also some sort of life before the days or hours of actually acting like a terrorist -- important moments which led to the state from which finally committing to the act seemed to make sense. 

The decision to undertake a course of action which will cause harm or death to others and almost inevitably mark the end of one's life is the product of acting on some profound conclusions. Of course the precise motivations behind various terrorist acts are almost certainly widely varied, but yet, certain commonalities are almost always present. 

Since committing a terrorist act is unavoidably a "media oriented" affair, these widely varied possible motivations become a central part of the story. Too often any probing hypothetical questioning which might suggest the nature of this commonality in motives is missing. Instead, the domestic media is inclined to adopt the "ratings driven" banal rather than taking the risk of even so much as cautious speculation. 

Naturally, whenever the domestic corporate media finds an avenue of investigation to be "too risky," MeanMesa is always eager to "take the plunge." There is a narrative behind the development of these terrible motivations.

In fact, with respect to these motives it can be asserted here that there are usually at least two readily definable "points of departure" for such a venture. Because all that MeanMesa "has to go on" comes from media reporting, these "points of departure" must be detected from within the "flavor" of that reporting. Hopefully, we can make some more substantial headway from what is routinely reported. These "points of departure" lead directly to the "two stories" mentioned earlier.

Let's "Get Specific" Without Too Many "Specifics"
There will be no "comprehensive list" of terrorists. 
We want to look for commonalities we can detect in the media's treatment.

Just as there are two interesting "narratives" of the events leading to these terrorist "decisions," there are also almost always two versions of what the motivations might have been. One of these versions serves the corporate interests of the media, but understanding the alternative version might possibly be useful in reducing the number of such attacks. Speculating on the details of both will be a tempting undertaking if it can lead to a better understanding of the factors driving the phenomenon. 

Whether we like it or not, as citizens we have "a dog in this fight." However, MeanMesa suspects that the "dog fight" we see on our televisions is actually one choreographed by the industrial media and scripted to guarantee the maximum fear generating impact -- and ratings. The corporate media, certainly FOX, but also the remainder of the now heavily soiled alphabet networks, have intentionally reduced the American audience to a state of utterly unjustifiable terror and dread to promote "viewership."

He seemed like such a nice boy. 
By this means the painfully low, "low information" citizens have been convinced that there is an "Arab terrorist" lurking in every shadow even though the actual number of citizen injuries and deaths remains minuscule compared to the daily body count resulting from police shootings, air pollution, bad water and car wrecks. Historically, the rampaging, domestic, "biblical lunatics" still firmly occupy "first place" in causing civilian deaths by violent acts of terrorism.

Wait! Is the camera running? [image]
The actual terrorists -- mostly located in places beyond the US borders -- do their part to complete this mystical horror. When the conflict was in its beginning even before 9/11, the terrorists took great pains to advertise the idea that they were completely prepared to blow themselves into pieces for the cause. Both the terrorist leaders and the domestic US media knew that this "degree of dedication" would be viewed as horrifying anathema to US domestic media consumers. It was.

With the rise of ISIL the latest crop of terrorists have eagerly begun video taped decapitations and the immolation of captured prisoners locked in cages to further embellish their suicidal program of bombing civilians. Importantly, all these activities have been so tightly integrated into the Western media's narrative that all possibilities of more careful consideration have been "thrown to the wind."

We understand that the domestic media is so blindly manipulated by these ratings seekers as to be utterly useless. However, manipulated is one thing -- complicit is another. In this case the "ball" is bouncing back and forth between the terrorists and the media as if it were in a giant, grisly, pin ball machine.

The point of this post is precisely this. 

Even when some "terrorist" inflicts his inevitable "terror" on another handful of people in our country, his silent partner is the US domestic media. The terrorist and the media are inextricably bound to each other as partners in the same criminal affair, and each is totally dependent on the other, counting on the constant, willing and eager participation and assistance from a perpetual accomplice.

The minority of Americans interpreting these acts through the lens of the Old Testament add the entertaining and saucy  "flames of righteous desperation" to the mix. When this "desperation" is absorbed by the US political system, finally arriving at the place we presently occupy is inevitable.

No comments:

Post a Comment