As the squandered summer of the coronavirus dribbled out to a sadly unsatisfying end, three of the most familiar mouthpieces of the ruling class—Anderson Cooper, Bill Maher, and Trevor Noah—produced their own unimaginative commentary on the so-called phenomenon of Q-Anon. None of them had anything enlightening to say about this political subculture, one which I am loath to write about for fear of unjustly magnifying further, but the synchrony of their feeble offensives was one of the more unvarnished examples of the manner in which the mass media produces propaganda, the intended effect of which is to convince the public to develop a specific, artificial opinion. I am still kicking myself for declining to draw contemporaneous attention to this instance of informative coordination, but there will be all too many opportunities of a related sort in the imminent future, especially if Joe Biden ever enters the White House.
Much like the Obama Administration before it, the Biden Administration will seek to amalgamate the American media and the American state. In the previous decade, this process commenced with former politicians and governmental officials finding employment at corporate media outlets, but the interinstitutional messaging will become even more uniform in the coming years. After much bemoaning of the menace of “foreign misinformation”, which may or may not be responsible for the “radicalization” occurring online, the American political establishment sees an opportunity to guarantee that the “official” perspective or narrative shall be the only one permitted in the public sphere. “Hyperbole,” you may say, but you ought to know that Biden has already selected Richard Stengel to direct the U.S. Agency for Global Media. The same Stengel has written on his wish to repeal the First Amendment outright, and in the spring of 2018, he classified “Russia, Wikileaks, and Julian Assange” as “the new axis of the abhorrent”.
Read more about Stengel’s authoritarian tendencies here.
While such sentiment is disquietingly common among the increasingly insecure political elite, the neoliberal bourgeoisie have inherited their paranoia and learned to parrot their threadbare talking points. Having followed a relentless diet of digital fearmongering for more than five years running, the lethargic middle class is convinced that the Trump Administration is a nightmarish singularity, one which can be overcome only through proscription—and the first politician to acquire enough power to enforce that proscription simply must be granted the authority to do so. Presumably, this politician, whoever it may be, will have pledged his or her loyalty to the Democratic Party, and in the interest of maximizing that unknown individual’s prospective success, the public must pledge its loyalty to the Party, as well. Every media outlet will necessarily be required to do the same, and if one refuses to cooperate, then it ought to be dismantled by decree—or, even better, acquired by the state and repurposed to serve the interests of the Party.