Who, Whom? Power and the Press.

As I was writing tonight, I had the TV on. I haven’t had a TV for four years, but the place where I am writing has one. I always watch the “news”. That or Star Trek. 

I think Sky News is the worst. 

That or ITV. 

Slick, sickening propaganda. 

But anyway. 

On Sky News tonight, a “political journalist” called Isabel Oakeshott ( http://www.isabeloakeshott.com) was “on” and chatting about Trump’s press conference were he refused to answer a CNN reporter’s question.  

Remember, courtesy of Moldbug, Deogolwulf’s aphorism:

“All decent, reasonable men are horrified by the idea that the government might control the press.

None of them seem concerned at all that the press might control the government.”


 Isabel Oakeshott — after talking about Trump “attacking” the CNN journalist, and I’m working from memory here, so it’s probably not word for word — said:

“It is not good for politicians to attack the press.” She then paused. Then, laughing, she says: “because they always win in the end, because they are there long after the politician has gone.” 

She may have said that they (the press) are there forever, but I cannot recall.  

Is she wrong? 

Who, whom? The press? The politicians? The people? 

Here is Moldbug:

 Is Journalism Official? 

 A “journalist” is an official writer. A member of the union of writers. If he writes for the Times, he may even be a member of the central committee of the union of writers. In our democratic society, the official press is entrusted with the important social responsibility of informing the public. Therefore, not just any poor schmuck can tell us what George W. Bush said today. No, it takes a “journalist.”

Of course, this is consistent with the Polygon hypothesis – that power in modern democracies belongs to those who manage public opinion. This hypothesis is actually not mine – I believe it was first stated by Walter Lippmann in 1922, in his book of that name. And Lippmann himself did quite a bit to put his system into practice. The Polygon is not so crude as to have a name or a mailing address – it is a movement, not a conspiracy. But if it did have a name and address, its name would be the Inquiry and its address would be 68th and Park.

(I wonder if Isabel has heard of Walter Lippmann? Even if she hasn’t, it matters little. She understands how power in a democracy works. Indeed, as an “award winning” journalist, she is one of the most powerful of people in England, though she is still somewhat of a minor player.) 


The key to the Polygon hypothesis is that three words are synonyms: responsibility, influence, and power. The New York Times, for example, is responsible because if it does the wrong thing rather than the right thing, it can cause a great deal of suffering. It is influential because its actions affect the lives of many people. And it is powerful because there is no conceivable meaningful sense of the English word power which is not synonymous with responsibility and influence. Power is the ability to make a difference, to change the world. Remind me again what people say on their J-school applications?

For example: who is the most powerful man in the United States?….

Suppose, to narrow the question slightly, I could choose between George W. Bush, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, and Arthur Ochs “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. Which of these four individuals has more capacity to “create change”?

(Isabel Oakshott knows the answer.)


For example, when we equate power with influence and responsibility, we can see easily that George W. Bush is almost powerless. Our “decider” is often presented with decisions, which have been carefully prespun to ensure the correct outcome. He is treated as a sort of chimp-eared magic 8-ball. He cannot even write his own speeches. If he came to his staff with a policy idea, one which he came up with himself, their first thought would probably be to send him for an MRI.


Trump is no Bush, he has his own ideas, and he is as rich as Caesar — and that’s why he must be destroyed.  


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