What do journalists do when they run out of material? Conspiracy theories aside, it's not like you can create news. Well, they run public opinion polls which are the most tedious and probably the dumbest thing that the free press inflicts on its captives.
BBC Newsnight, before introducing Noam Chomsky, showed him and its viewers footage from the streets of London, where the British Equivalent of Sarah Palin’s Average Joe-Six-Pack was read to from some of the more creepy pieces of Chomsky’s writing and asked for a reaction, whilst the presenter urged them on with an encouraging smile.
That the presenter had the sheer nerve to take uninformed public opinion to Noam Chomsky as refutation of his work is proof of just how far the termites have spread, and how well and long they’ve dined.
Take, for another example, the BBC Sunday Morning Live Presenter who spoke about a clip from Former UN-USG and current Indian MP Shashi Tharoor’s brilliant speech at the Oxford Union urging Britain to pay reparations to its former colonies.
“He isn’t right though. Tommy has been to Liverpool, a port city which has thrived on Britain’s colonial growth to find out what people there think."
Oh, Tommy has been to Liverpool? How wonderful! It was genuinely painful to watch Shashi Tharoor incredulously shake his head as people in Birkenhead Produce Market who had no knowledge on the subject produced rebuttals to his elegant, biting, well-researched arguments.
This is the mistake the mainstream media is making about modern democracy. The opinions of the public, while important, are negligible during actual decision making on complex subjects.
There's a reason reputation and authority matter in a discussion, and it's the same reason you don’t want the WestBro baptist church anywhere near discussion on Gay Rights or the Klan given an audience about the racial divide. The lack of expert knowledge is not the average citizen’s fault, but the glorification of ignorance will end up killing him.
This is what I think is the mot juste or summa: In a debate, you come up with better arguments, not with a statement of simple majority.
And it is when a newspaper cannot come up with any important material that the Front Page story becomes “82% believe women of a menstrual age should not be allowed to enter [some random place of worship],” with not a hint of incredulity.
This is not news. This is garbage, and that fact should be expressly stated every time a microphone is brought into a supermarket. Try to throw away the idea of intelligent debate, but do it in your name because I will not have it done in mine.
If someone holding a microphone comes up to you on the street, decline. After, of course, telling him, or her, where to stick it instead.