“all of this demagogic simplification leads to a cynical view of politics…”

I’ve just watched the public shaming of Father Pastor Jack McConnell on Nolan this evening. Actually, that’s not meant to be funny. I sometimes wonder where seriousness ends and pompous solemnity begins…

I spotted this quote on Paul Evans’ Facebook page a few days before this story broke, but it seems pretty well met to the occasion that’s in it from Pierre Bourdieu’s 1996 classic, ‘On Television‘…

…the journalistic field produces and imposes on the public a very particular vision of the political field, a vision that is grounded in the very structure of the journalistic field and in journalists’ specific interests produced in and by that field.

… there is a tendency to shunt aside serious commentators and investigative reporters in favour of the talk show host….. real information, analysis, in-depth interviews, expert discussions, and serious documentaries lose out to pure entertainment and, in particular, to mindless talk show chatter between “approved” and interchangeable speakers….. these people are always available…. not merely to participate but to play the game – and they answer all the questions that journalists ask – no matter how silly and outrageous.

To justify this policy of demagogic simplification (which is absolutely and utterly contrary to the democratic goal of informing or educating people by interesting them), journalists point to the public’s expectations. But in fact they are projecting onto the public their own inclinations and their own views…”

…they are more interested in the tactics of politics than in the substance, and more concerned with the political effects of speeches and politicians manoeuvrings within the political field (in terms of coalitions, alliances, or individual conflicts) than with the meaning of these…… all of this leads to a cynical view of politics which is reflected in their political arguments, and in their interview questions.

For them, politics becomes an arena full of hyper-ambitious people with no convictions but a clear sense of the competitive situation and of their opposing interests. [Emphasis added]

[If I get a chance I’ll try to get a YouTube of parts of the interview tomorrow sometime.]

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

donate to keep slugger lit