When different media are all saying variations on the same thing, it hacks our social sense and persuades us that there is a consensus.  How does the media do it?  Is there a mastermind behind the scenes or, like Topsy, does it just grow?

  • The Journolist scandal revealed that higher media echelons were coordinating with each other about their message.  Effectively, all these journalists were part of the same organization even though they worked for separate entities.  We should not be surprised if Frank and Douglas and Bill are all on message if they are all PR flacks for the same company.  I have heard from sources that the scandal hasn’t stopped the secret coordination.  I’m told they use a few Slacks now.
  • You can also see them coordinating publicly on Twitter.  The main function of the Blue Checkmark is to let opinionmakers know who are peers and who are outsiders.

  • Even ‘In an undifferentiated, non-collusive market, all competently run suppliers will appear to move in step as all are responding to the same information.’*
  • “Being able to provide the same information in a neutral-appearing fashion to a non-coordinated network of actors allows one to coordinate their actions without the appearance of coordination.”
  • “anonymous networks increase access to truth because they permit actors to reveal information that might be personally dangerous without risk, but increase credulity to any information because a given actor can repeat the same information in multiple places and create the appearance of spontaneous re-iteration.”  This makes the internet easier to manipulate, but it also means that the media are manipulable through sources or small conspiracies.  Since custom allows articles based on anonymous sources, you can read multiple articles that appear to be different but are really all from the same guy.  Even the reporters themselves may not know.
  • “partial network buy-in can be used to create a bandwagon effect where a few of the uncoordinated network of actors pick up on the information because they are being coordinated, unbeknownst to other actors in the network, increasing the coordination capacity of the provider of information, unless this coordination is discovered, in which case it may hinder it.”
  • On specific issues, non-media people do provide the outside coordination.  The most obvious example are political campaigns.  “Messaging” largely means controlling the media.  Some of the Hillary Campaign email leaks show how it works.  Someone who has established themselves as a source suggests ideas for stories, suggests messages to use, threatens and cajoles using future access as their carrot and stick, and does this with multiple reporters at the same time.  None of this makes it into ultimate news product.  The byline does not read “suggested and edited by the Hillary Campaign.”  Any news product is like a carefully posed photo on Instagram.  They don’t have to be photoshopped to be fake.  The lie is in what is excluded.
  • The consensus works by carefully controlling who gets access to news production.  Media people are from very similar class backgrounds, socialize with each other and with a narrow set of sources and elites, and are usually trained by a narrow set of programs such as Columbia School of Journalism.  It is much, much easier to coordinate a message this way.  The background does 90% of the coordination for you.  If all three people in Sally’s clique think Sally is great, so what?  But if only Sally’s clique has a megaphone, Sally’s clique is the “consensus.”
  • The news media is organized into a status hierarchy.  There are multiple floors on the GSB.  This makes it easier to coordinate.  Lower down folks just yell about whatever the higher up folks are yelling about.
  • It seems to me that the old city republics were based on an actual consensus.  You see the same in the Book of Mormon “democracies.”  Anyone who has been part of a community and has a discussion about an issue has experienced what it is like for a consensus to emerge.  We ought to consider the media as a fake, degenerated version of the consensus; just like oligarchy/mandarinism is fake, degenerate aristocracy; and tyranny is fake, degenerate monarchy.
  • Media figures ostensibly get promoted based on their ability to break big stories.  I believe the ostensible story is mostly the real story.  There is no objective criteria about what constitutes “a big story.”  It’s not a meaningless term though.  A big story is a story that lots of other media members get interested in and do their own stories on.  Breaking big stories is hard, though, so often a journalist gets big story cred by being an early adopter and amplifier to a big story.  So journalists are ultimately being promoted based on their ability to sense what other journalists will be interested in.  Which means the more in tune they are with the journalistic consensus.  So the system is set up to promote the people who are the most easily coordinated.
  • Notice that the definition of “big story” is literally the definition of fashion.  Fashion literally works the same way with a fashion innovator and early adopters who amplify the fashion.  Journalism is literally information fashion.
  • For the above reasons, all news is fake news.


Continue reading at the original source →