Is democracy sick of its own media? I seek to address the question before us, with a clear and forceful answer: yes, and no, but with no maybes. Yes, when it comes to certain emerging media conventions, revealed most vividly in the U.S. by Fox News (and its lesser imitators of the right and the left). But no, when it comes to an opposing and promising trend, the ongoing struggle to inform and constitute publics capable of deliberate discussion and informed actions, using a variety of media forms, new and old, but especially new. This trend is observable both in the central arena and, especially, on its margins, as a global development. I think that there are troubling trends in the dominant media, but I also think that it is important to pay attention to counter trends, and to take note of a new kind media war in political culture.
The conclusion of my presentation will highlight the counter trend, the “no” side of my answer to our question, doing so by linking two of my major projects, the study of the politics of small things and of reinventing political culture. I will suggest, further, the need to carefully consider Daniel Dayan’s ideas of monstration. In my conclusion, I will make a sort of book proposal for Dayan and me to work on, so that the weaknesses of my approach can be addressed. I will move toward the conclusion first by examining what I take to be the way a cable television network contributes to the sickness of democracy, specifically in the United States – the yes side of my answer to our question. I will then make my second move, to the no side, considering how social media and other new forms of electronic media open the opportunity for a counter trend, supporting the politics of small things. I analyze both tendencies as they are tied to significant social movements that define and redefine political culture, for better and for worse: the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. I want to be clear that I don’t see the problems and potentials I identify here as being primarily the consequence of media form, cable . . .
Read more: Fake vs. Fox News: OWS and Beyond