Alt-News and Cognitive Dissonance; The Press Under Fire

By Paul Maxwell Report Archives
Cover image for  article: Alt-News and Cognitive Dissonance; The Press Under Fire

With deep and real appreciation for Rush Limbaugh and his coterie of money-making (not that there's anything wrong with that) "conservative" commentators on radio, on TV and in blogs, all I've got to say is, "Wow!  You guys did it!  You changed the conversation as well as the result. You've proven that it doesn't matter so much what you say as long as you keep saying it again and again and again.  You guys created a new world view. Facts no longer matter; only opinion." 

Now, I've got to ask, "OK, you've got what you wanted, what are you going to do with it?"  Will you be like the dog that caught the truck? Or does someone who might actually be in charge have a real plan?

I get it. Trump "won." Putin "won." Erdogan "won." Orban "won." Every other autocrat "won." Pence "won." McConnell "won."  Ryan "won." The Republican Party "won."  But, watching the transition and reading the tweets, the only real winner is Trump.

Now we're all in a true alt-reality. A fact-free fantasy with (at least so far) no way out. Think of it as a sort of theater of the absurd where the media has become the opposition party with its reporters held in "pens" for the cardinal sin of not agreeing with the Trumpettes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Without free speech and a free press there cannot be a democracy or a republic … especially when the President has a thinner skin than tissue paper.

As for that cognitive dissonance in the headline … it is real. Just take a look at some recent polls. If something -- real or true or not -- doesn't fit your or my world view, we'll both -- or each -- reject it.  We both seem to have a need to avoid a dissonant encounter.  (For background, pick up a cheat sheet for Leon Festinger's 1956 book When Prophecy Fails.)

For those of you who disagree with me, let's do something interesting.  I'll watch Fox news for days if you'll read The New York Times for the same period. If our heads don't explode, we might be able to have a conversation.

We really need to be able to communicate without just mouthing insults -- and not necessarily in Russian.

Random Notes

Numerous trade press reports have President-Elect Trump's Federal Confusion Commission transition team recommending the rejection of the Title II Net-Neutrality-on-steroids decision (that survived court challenges) likely to prevail as soon as the incoming President designates two new commissioners (or doesn't, leaving a 2-to-1 Republican majority).  That could mean open warfare on the 'Net.  And it could mean AT&T will have plenty or time to work on all of the DirecTV Now problems.

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