The mainstream media, even alternative mainstream mediums like Fox News and so-called rightwing websites, is a channel for control. Moreover, the media exists for propagating the prevailing ideology of the zeitgeist. But for those whom fall outside of polite society, the public orthodoxy and its acceptable alternatives, the media generally engages in four distinct tactics to deal with potentially dangerous movements.
The first tactic of the media in countering potentially dangerous forces is to create a media sensation or image of the movement, or supposed “leaders” thereof, that are decidedly negative. Thus we can say that the first tactic of the media is negative press. Not all publicity is good publicity. The media, in this strategy, essentially creates the narrative and image of the movement in question and plasters it across its publication waves with malicious intent.
Perhaps the most glaring example in recent years of this tactic was the media phenomenon of Richard Spencer. Spencer is a rather doltish and primidone character who is intellectually embarrassing to listen to or read. His “interpretations” of Nietzsche, Hegel, and other German philosophers, even his understanding of Heraclitus, makes you wonder what his grades were in the philosophy classes he supposedly took. Because of Spencer’s childish and immature personality and intellect, the media hand chose him to be the poster boy of the Alt-Right movement which was tarred by Spencer’s image and the media’s negative publicity of him and the most vile and imbecilic elements of the movement.
The media, for instance, never promoted Professor Paul Gottfried, a leading intellectual, historian, and philosopher, who is part of the anti-mainstream right movement. A respected humanities scholar and historian of fascism, Gottfried was once an occasional contributor to National Review and other mainstream controlled opposition publications. Gottfried was not chosen by the media due to his intellectual credibility and sophistication. It was much easier to guard against the Alt-Right by hand selecting Richard Spencer and his ilk as the faces of the Alt-Right movement.
The second strategy of the media in confronting rebellious movements that disturb the general narrative and end-goal of liberal ideology is the tactic of censorship. Censorship works in two ways.
One way is the totalitarian form of censorship where all antagonistic or opposing ideas are forcefully policed out of existence. Book burning is probably the most famous and recognizable form of this type of censorship. Although editing can also be a means of this type of tactic. The most common way that this strategy works today is to have certain ideas to be “off limit” to publish or promote.
Most contemporary “free speech” zones and publications embrace this form of censorship. While claiming to be open to many or all ideas, there are many ideas that would never pass the editor’s desk. Some editors may claim that the material is poorly devised, written, and argued. That may very well be the case. But that doesn’t take away the fact that certain ideas and issues are off the table for discussion, even at places like Breitbart, Quillette, or the Daily Caller (and other free speech and diverse opinion publications). Michael Oakeshott famously wrote when tyranny sets in, it will veil itself by saying that at least we still have free speech, “[W]e are too ready to believe that so long as our freedom to speak is not impaired we have lost nothing of importance—which is not so.”
The second way to censor people is to simply not acknowledge their existence—in other words, to ignore them. By ignoring folk who are deemed persona non grata, you effectively cut off their ability to promote their ideas. Furthermore, by ignoring such persons the media denies their ability to have free advertising. Some such people who have been deemed persona non grata may have mediums of communication and promotion of their work—but in being silenced by the tactic of ignoring, you cut off the possibility for someone to grow their brand or promote their personal newsletter or website, etc. This is increasingly becoming the preferred method of censorship in polite society.
The third tactic to destroy people and movements considered dangerous to the establishment is to attack their person, character, or reputation. Libel, smearing, or defamation is common. The Covington High School incident was the most recent example of this tactic—where media outlets, even “conservative” publications and pundits, took to their airwaves or print publications to condemn and smear the Covington High School students before the facts were fully known. National Review ran a now deleted essay saying that those Christian young men “might have well spat on the Cross.” Ben Shapiro even joined in on the attack parade before learning the facts and then attacking the media’s tactics while never apologizing himself.
Ad hominem, strawman, and the reductio ad Hitleram fallacies are among the most favored means of destroying someone’s person and reputation. Attack the person rather than their ideas, creating a false image of the person and their ideas to easily tear down, or simply yell “Hitler” and “Nazi” are the ways of effectively stifling debate and dealing with the issues raised. Defamation is often one of the last strategies the media uses because the media plays on the reality of human nature as social (even as the prevailing ideology denies this in favor of the absurd idea of the atomistic individual).
The final tactic employed by the media is the most pernicious but also, in some sense, the most brilliant: co-opting the oppositional movement. This was the tactic used in the Western world to deal with the 68ers after they had come of age. By bringing the radicals into the elite club, they made them the guardians of the institutions that they had loathed and sung death chants to in their teens and twenties. Spend too much time with the enemy, you become a mirror image of what you formerly loathed. The radicals are now all secured in their gated homes or penthouse apartments writing for the New York Times, Washington Post, or Teen Vogue.
By co-opting the opposing side, one integrates the opposition into the establishment cathedral. When all else fails—or when the media thinks it’s in its interest to promote (co-opt by promoting) to opposing movement—co-opting the opposition is the final tactic of recourse. Co-opting moves the establishment away from being the target of revolution, and, in turn, pacifies the revolutionary while turning them into the wrecker of those whom they still want to destroy. Thus, those who wish to “change the system” become the shock troops for the ever-expanding collectivist state and bureaucracy which strangles our lives, our civil society, and our country. The co-opted come to destroy everything else, except the totalitarian system which feeds their own totalitarian desires like a parasite on its host body. Max Boot should like in the mirror.