Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gatekeeping for pleasure and profit

Whilst on the subject of Norm Chomsky and the art of gatekeeping for pleasure and profit

Just before Christmas, the Daily Show’s John Stewart did an interview with that Grand Poobah of Neoconservatism William ‘Call me Bill’ Kristol.

It promised to be interesting

Unfortunately, I missed the actual screening on TV so I had a trawl around Youtube to see if I could find it.

Eventually, I did, but only after clicking onto the mouldering remains of a half dozen earlier attempts to upload the interview...

I’m seeing far too many of these message from Youtube these days which is a pretty bad sign of things to come on the video-sharing front. I enjoy video clips of swearing hamsters and David Hasselhoff as much as the next surfer but there is more to life than stuff like that - not much, but a little.

Anyway, the Stewart-Kristol interview is currently up here...

And it’s a nigh perfect example of corporate media gatekeeping

'Why can’t I view the planet from Jupiter!?'

On one level, Stewart appears to be socking it to Kristol and his neocon War on Terror horsecrap. The most effective segment goes something like…

BC: Bush was right that with aggressive tactics on our part we wouldn’t be attacked … for the last five years which is something he deserves credit for … I think

JS: I disagree

BC: Really?

JS: Yeah. In 1993 they attacked the world trade centre and they didn’t bomb again until 2001. That’s what? Eight years? So Clinton deserves more credit than Bush it would seem

BK: Well, unfortunately they attacked in Africa in 1998

JS: If we’re going to add in attacks in Africa we gotta go Spain, we gotta go England and then we’ve got to say that they have attacked us, quite frequently

BK: Well, you know we’re in a global war. They want to kill us and they want to kill a whole lot of other people

JS: That’s why I thought we should have gone after Al Qaeda

But when you think about it for a second, Stewart isn’t socking it to Kristol at all. Not only does he not finish Kristol off after he contradicts himself but, on top of that, Stewart finishes the exchange by essentially confirming and reinforcing Kristol’s deceits. …

That’s why I thought we should have gone after Al Qaeda

Stewart doesn’t disagree with Kristol’s worldview. He’s just quibbling over the tactics.

Stewart pulls stuff like that far too often for it to be accidental

And that’s why William Kristol is perfectly happy to appear on the Daily Show and receive what appears to be a drubbing, time and time again.

'Nice work John'
'Nice work Bill'

Does that stop me watching the Daily Show? Nope. I think John Stewart is funny. But that doesn’t stop me thinking that Stewart is as much of a c^nt as Kristol. Arguably he’s worse. Stewart comes across as a man capable of knowing better. Kristol doesn’t.


t-mix said...

Well, everybody operates within the system he knows. And for many in the US media this system is determined by Democratic and Republican positions, maybe sometimes something outside of this system. Even John Stewart does not operate outside of this system, he just critizes it, where he can, where it is obviously bullshit.

Stef said...

You don't have to be aware of the fact that you are a gatekeeper to be one. Some of the very best are not

The interesting question is how much of the information management is carried out deliberately and how much takes place because media bias has become unconsciously self-perpetuating