Do we have a media capable of ‘capturing the conscience of a king’?

The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.
 Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2

I’ve been waiting for something to emerge from MediaLens on the Oborne resignation. They tend take a rather puritanical view of what’s ailing the corporate media, nevertheless, this passage in particular is well worth sharing I think…

The deeper problem, ignored by Jenkins, is that this corporate structure not only trims individual stories, it excludes entire frameworks of understanding.

If writing something disagreeable about HSBC or animal rights is problematic, imagine editors consistently presenting corporate domination as a threat to human survival in an age of climate change.

Indeed, because such a position is unimaginable in corporate media 70 per cent dependent on corporate advertising, Oborne and Jenkins are unable to perceive that it is effectively being spiked. They cannot notice the absence of ideational frameworks they are unable to conceive!

But these are spiked, not on the editor’s desk, not even at conception, but by the uniform assumptions of journalists employed by a system that of course selects for corporate conformity: ‘You say what you like, because they like what you say.’ [emphasis added]

For me this is an argument about form, not just the particulars of who owns what or whom. In which case, do we have a media form which is any longer capable of ‘capturing the conscience of a king’? Myself and RG Gregory will discuss next Wednesday.

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  • T.E.Lawrence

    The King is Dead – Long Live the Corporation ! Just have a look around all the governments of the world and how they have tried to control the corporate tiger ! (Sorry Re-Phase “Been consumed by the corporate tiger”). Not knocking your post Mick as I am fully sympathetic to the last few jornos that the tiger has been unable to eat YET and long may they run to continue to shoot arrows at the corporations and one can only wish them well with their endeavours.

  • mickfealty

    For the purpose of asking the question above I’m asking you not to waste your sympathy. Perhaps I was not specific enough.

    I’m wondering whether the form ie ‘the play’ (paper, documentary, petition, blog what have you) is sufficient unto the task of capturing the conscience of the political, corporate and technocratic kings of our day?

    The last few ‘good eggs’, as Media Lens argues it, are themselves working within an ideation frame that unsights them from spotting real problems in and with the system.

    This is why I explicitly argue that it’s more a matter of form, or limited perspective. Like trying write about a performance of Verdi from begind a pillar at the Royal Opera House.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    The “the play” (Form) needs more actors (Politicians) to support its script to help it capture the audiance that it desires !

  • mickfealty

    But how do we know what the script might be before we have figured out a coherent structure for said (imagined) form if all content is dictated by form.

    To give two obvious examples of form dictating content, the sound bite is a product of the television age, whilst the aphorism is making a comeback via Twitter. Both arise from constraints of form.

    In other words, you have to express yourself in aphorisms on Twitter, because the form disallows the essay or other forms of extended argument.

    That’s one reason why many dirty rotten holdouts dislike it, and yet there is no disavowing its power to attract and engage a mass audience.

  • mickfealty

    I’d just add that this reference of Shakespeare’s has some deep resonances in history. Classicist Dr Michael Scott has some important insights here on why theatre in ancient Greece was critical to the development of democracy.

    http://youtu.be/xf9cDKqwhQw?t=14m1s

    In his summary (of part one of three), Scott concludes:

    Theatre was never just mere entertainment, never a passive spectator, it was a performer in the story of the Athens of the ancient world. From Tragedy making our most important beliefs uncomfortable to comedy, questioning and policing our citizenship and keeping people in check theatre was an institution which plugged into religion, civil political and military aspects of ancient Athenian society. It was an extraordinary and extraordinarily uncomfortable, risky and yet essential part of of Athenian life.

    What Greek drama (as opposed to Imperial Roman drama that came after the occupation) was able to do was not simply criticise kings or plutocratic rulers, but to dramatise the dilemmas faced by that class and popularise it through the Demos.

    Perhaps it’s something like this we are looking for as an alternative to legacy institutions we currently fret about?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    We would have to develop a new forum (with no constraints) which will be strongly resisted by what I will call “The Powers that Be”.
    However you have already went into a Twitter Forum and enticed participants of this forum into a slugger forum.
    This is one way of doing it !