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If there's a transition between Capitalism and a new economic paradigm, shouldn't we see a conflict between the champion institutions of the different modes? B+S think we are seeing it start in the form of a power struggle between the media and the state. The democratic nation state is one of the institutions of Capitalism; wheras increasingly, the modern media looks and works like a network. Although it's owned by companies, many journalists, TV producers etc. are freelancers who move from one contract job to another. These people rely on their network of contacts to provide them with the next job. The journalists have networks of contacts to feed them information, or who to approach for quotes. Hence the modern media is a network of networks.

Conflict between the media networks and the NationState takes the form of a continuous attack, made by the media, on the idea of the state. In particular, the propaganda that the electorate is bored with politics, feels disenfranchised by the political process, doesn't trust politicians, and that people are increasingly opting out by not voting. As the media continues to spread this idea, which delegitimises the government, voter apathy increases, which feeds back into the downward spiral. The media also promotes the idea that media performance itself is the key to electoral success; and analyses the prospects of politicians in terms of their capacity to give good media, to entertain (a media virtue) the electorate.

The result is a genuine disengagement with politics, not because politicians are really corrupt, but because politicians are really disempowerd by the media. The media also acts as a conduit through which other network institutions such as special interest groups, charities and oligarchs etc. can gain power. As long as they are able to enter into symbiotic relations with the media network by providing a "good story".


This page collects links relevant to this conflict between the media and politics.

If the media have power, which of the TypesOfPower is it? Clearly it's partly due to attention. But what does that mean? (Also : TheAttentionEconomy)

Journalists can do diplomacy that states can't :

If WebLogs and WeMedia are undermining BigMedia is this just an example of a more virulent netocracy taking over? Is the media a SystemEvolvingTowardsMoreSmallerSpecialistComponents?

Glen Reynolds says As I wrote in August: "Elections come and go, politicians come and go, and pretty much all of them turn out to be disappointments one way or another. But the 'Fourth Estate' is a big part of the unelected permanent government that in many ways does more to run the country than the politicians. And it's unraveling before our very eyes, which I think is the biggest story of the election so far." It still is.

Yeah, this is a changing of the guard. BigMedia (which like all factions is a mixture of hierarchic and network ways of organizing, is being disrupted by smaller, "worse", more swarm-like media. But it's all NetoCracy.

PollyToynbee, ''Who misleads the people about the nature of politics? Who are politicians'

chief judges?'':,9321,1378427,00.html

AlGore in 2005 : (Compare (Compare DisputationArena)

Elites have "given up" on America? :

Read the articles linked in StateOfTheMedia/2005 which triggered me to comment here :

Very interesting and disturbing.

Recently I've been wondering whether we're headed for a time where there simply isn't going to be a large stable consensus about anything very much.

And the question is, whether the "he said, she said" or "balance everyone's views" which destroys consensus is an artifact of the concentration of media in the hands of large biased companies; or whether it's simply a pre-echo of what it's gonna be like when all MSM has fragmented into micromedia.

In a world where the BlogoSphere, is the media, will it be easier or harder for a consensus belief about evolution or the reality of climate change to self-organize? Or will it be impossible?

And if such consensus is impossible, this really looks like the end of any sort of viable democratic nation state which can claim to act because of a mandate from the majority of the electorate.

That doesn't mean states necessarily go away, but without feeling beholden to the people, they're gonna be (even more) a vehicle for special interest groups.

See also :