Sunday, January 18, 2009

Salon Radio: Jay Rosen on the media's control of political debates

Salon's liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald:

Rosen begins by citing a chart from the 1986 book, The Uncensored War, by Daniel Hallin, which defined the three categories of arguments that the media employed during the Vietnam War: (1) those within the "Sphere of Consensus" (ideas deemed so plainly true that they required no debate or examination); (2) those within the "Sphere of Legitimate Controversy" (ideas deemed reasonable enough to be debated and disputed within mainstream discussion); and (3) those within the "Sphere of Deviance" (ideas so plainly wrong, radical and fringe that they deserved no hearing at all):

According to Rosen, the diagram depicting these three spheres is "easily the most useful diagram [] found for understanding the practice of journalism in the United States, and the hidden politics of that practice." Rosen argues -- quite persuasively -- that American journalists, usually unthinkingly (i.e., without even realizing that they do it), control and restrict political discussions by using these categories for virtually every political issue of any significance. No theory regarding how the media controls political debate is complete without reference to
Manufacturing Consent, but Rosen's explanation is quite compatible with it and, standing alone, has great value.

Click here to listen to the interview--be sure to scroll down a bit to find the listening device.

Right. Manufacturing Consent is indeed the Bible as far as understanding how the mainstream news media have pro-corporate and pro-government bias deeply embedded within its organizational structure, and I've hit on MC's ideas myself on more than one occasion here at Real Art, but it's always good to hear from some other people on the subject. It's a good interview. Go check it out.