CLUB HOT BUTTONS
The contest used to be on only for a couple of months, every couple of years, with the press claiming the role of referee. Now, it’s 24/7/52 on both the “conservative” talk shows and the “liberal” web sites. And the media have given up on playing the impartial referee; there is no money in it. They’ve become promoters, self-promoters, even, and worse than that, they have become self-policing self-promoters no better than the self-policing self-promoting corporations that own them. Dis-info-tainment.
Zappa channeling Eliot said, “Information is not knowledge/Knowledge is not wisdom/Wisdom is not truth” well, then where is the information lost to titillation? The latter has always sold better than information, let alone knowledge and wisdom. Titillation sells itself as well as selling the selling of itself. By this mise en abyme it buys ever more market share, votes and influence for those who control it.
Information may be still out—like the truth—but it’s becoming harder to find, there are too many mirrors in the room. The news has become nothing but ephemeral hot button events, mere titillation. These days, media ecdysiasts are not paid to divest themselves of partialities but to strip each other bare. Whatever excites the base (audience, voters, donors, etc.) today is true today; tomorrow’s another cycle, another truth. The 21st century meaning of “press” is thrust, not verify. Bump and grind.