ABSOLUTELY NOTHING - say it again...

So a recurring question came up again yesterday as a result of a brief summary of the piece here on thoughts on strategy that I posted as a reply on an XR Message Board. Ben replied: 

Roger, I think your general point about not needing centralised strategy is interesting and food for though. Not sure I agree, but it's interesting to think about - no one has all the answers for this. But regarding the point that "any consideration of what the mainstream media may say or show for example is entirely irrelevant", how do you respond to the criticism that how we come across in the media will be crucial for whether people as yet not part of the movement will come towards us or go away from us, and thus crucial for the possibility of success?

I have never yet found a satisfactory answer to this although it is a position I have long held, probably dating from various more or less successful attempts to get my message through the MSM as an election candidate or spokesperson for some action group or other.

In this particular case Ben's question arose from my passing side-swipe at his earlier remark in the same thread:

"To be blunt - the one time I saw XR on a TV channel, it was someone with blue hair and I really think this was a mistake. We are not politicians, but in some ways we need to think like politicians when we message. No disrespect to the person with blue hair - until very recently I had pretty freaky facial hair myself. But I shaved the bushy mustache off before my mug-shot made the local rag. We have to be realistic and know that like it or not, there are many people who can be receptive to our message but will not listen if we are too freaky."

 

Hold on ... I think I feel a rant coming on...

For me it starts with a gut feeling that it is simply wrong, untrue to ones self, to adjust one's appearance or what one says about something that you feel passionate about to meet not what your intended audience wants, but with what the gatekeepers of the communication channel want.

And there's the first thing - there is a big big difference between talking with people, one to one, or in a small group, or speaking to a larger audience and using the one-to-many broadcast media (that includes the printed media).

In the first cases you are engaging directly with your audience and there I find it quite acceptable to adjust both what you say and how you look to meet the audience half-way. You have direct feedback, if they don't like your blue hair you can explain it, or talk about it, or take off the wig. It becomes part of a dialogue. On MSM it is not so.

Quite apart from the fact that you have no real-time feedback from the people you are ultimately wanting to address, and no knowledge of them, where they are, how they are feeling - no human contact at all - quite apart from that you are not even allowed to address them directly. 

There is always a gatekeeper present - an interviewer or journalist - whose job it is to mediate your words, to provide context and interpretation. They also provide a proxy for your real audience so you naturally tend to relate to them instead. Because you feel the interviewer may not be comfortable with your blue hair or what you are saying you moderate and self censor. The person you are actually trying to talk to may be the proverbial Man on the Clapham Omnibus, or the "Plain People of England" to adapt Myles Na gCopaleen's wonderful coinage, who perhaps don't care about your hair but do find that wart on your nose a bit off-putting.

Surely you say, perhaps, the important thing is that the consumer gets to hear what you have to say and is not put off by your appearance or accent or clothes or any such superficial nonsense. Balderdash I say. There is no way you can know who you are talking to or how they are feeling or where they are or what else they have just seen or heard.

Are most people put off by blue hair? I really have no idea - for everyone who doesn't like it there is probably another who thinks it interesting and finds it memorable, a way of making your words stick in their minds. Are the people who are likely to be receptive to your message the sort of people who will shoot the messenger rather than hear the message - I suspect not. Plenty of people may be like that, but they are probably not in your target audience.

Is the person you are really trying to please just the gatekeeper? Do you hope that if you can seem like the sort of person he might invite to a dinner party he might give your message a favourable wind on its entrance to the labyrinth? Who are you trying to fool, or are you deluding yourself?

Remember that these gatekeeper roles are highly sought after and pretty much only given to trusty servants of the status quo - because the status quo, the establishment, the global-capital elite or whatever you want to call them, own and operate these communication channels. It is only their trusted ones who aspire to be part of that elite, if not yet one of them, who end up in those jobs. And woe betide any who get tempted to stray too far down an alternative path. The dusty corners of medialand are littered with embittered souls who discovered what happens when you stray to far from the approved narrative - from the John Pilgers downwards.

Even if you have got past the gatekeeper you have lost control of the context in which your message will appear. How will it be introduced and followed, which 5 second sound bite will they pick, what framing will be given to it, how will it be neutralised or toned down in the edit, what will the senior trusty back in the studio say as an aside when your gatekeeper hands back to him, what is the producer whispering in his earpiece, what will the editor in chief say to the producer at next mornings editorial brief, whose career will glitter and whose fizzle out - so many ways in which your message, your passion, what you desire to communicate, will be distorted, rendered harmless. Mediation - coming between - that's what the media does.

Marshall McLuhan started to say it back in the 60s, Chomsky carried it forwards, a plethora of writers and commentators from Naomi Klein to Craig Murray are saying the same.

You can not trust the mainstream media - either as a consumer of "news" or as someone trying to get a message across to a wide audience. 

Maybe you think your chances are better if you are talking to a "liberal" journalist from the "liberal" media. Don't get fooled again - they are the worst of all. If you don't believe this then check out the work of the redoubtable Media Lens - they routinely expose how the Guardian, for example, plays a pivotal role in the establishment narrative as a safety valve and a gatekeeper of the Overton Window. Thus far and no further

If you trust the BBC to tell the truth then you are very sadly deluded.

If you are privileged enough to be interviewed "live" you do have the ability to speak directly to the camera, avoiding your gatekeeper, trying to send a cruise missile of truth through the labyrinth right to the eyes and ears of the person you are trying to reach. And if you do you can be sure that it will be rapidly followed by an antidote, something to distract and overwhelm what you might have got through.

The whole MSM organisation is deeply embedded in and protective of the status quo - and nothing you can do is going to change that. Right now the XR message is a marginal novelty and can get some airtime and column inches without too much distortion, but that is because it is not yet seen as a serious threat. Once that happens things will change very fast - MSM will patronise, ridicule, distort, undermine, lie, cheat, conduct disinformation campaigns, run false flags up the pole, demonise and do everything possible to convince the Plain People of Engurland that this is a dangerous and threatening enemy within that must be suppressed with maximum force - detention without trial will be just the beginning.

Once we are facing the army not friendly coppers or even riot police, then we will know that our message is getting across. And it will not have got across through the services of MSM.

For now my position is not only is it absolutely wrong to change your appearance or what you are saying because you are talking through the MSM (and frankly I reject anyone who would do that as speaking for me in any way) - not only that but also it is not worth talking to them at all. 

Refuse all interviews. Subvert MSM wherever you encounter it - refuse to clear the background of their shot just because someone is talking on to the telly, barge in, make a noise, trip over their cables, knock over their tripods, spray their cameras, whistle down their microphones, spill coffee on their notebooks - attack and disrupt them as being as much a tool of the government as anything else. Make them hate us. Make them revile us - force them into acting  before they choose to. expose the beast for what it is.

And in your own life switch it off. Unplug. Take the free handout newspaper with your groceries to do the crossword but don't read it. Get rid of the TV (and save yourself £12 a month or however much the licence is these days). Watch movies of your choice on DVD or online. Get a projector instead of a tv - you can use it to give talks as well as consuming movies.

Oh I do like a good rant.

But that is why I say we should have nothing to do with the mainstream media.