The Media

The media as a tool of governmentality. It’s included in the four pillars of American government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Media. I’m not sure if it’s official. In fact, I don’t think it is taught that way, but it should be. Even in the 18th century, the Founding Fathers must have understood the power of the printed word. They included its freedom in the Bill of Rights. The printed word — newspaper — was their media then, before radios and TV and internet. Then, as now, it affected the attitudes of the population, it directed the conversation, it exposed information or allowed it to remain hidden.

I’ve been hearing for the last four years how it enabled Donald Trump to become president, and I just heard about how it enabled the Irish government to cut wages during austerity implementation. It can cultivate empathy, by exposing different groups to each other, or it can cultivate hostility, by painting groups as an “other,” who we don’t understand and don’t trust. In authoritarian regimes, media is controlled by the government and used for propaganda, and in capitalist ones, these days, media is owned by a small group of powerful individuals. Even under democracy, it is not free.

What role did media play, I wonder, in the Irish Civil War, the assimilation of Irish immigrants into American culture? Is it a strength given to the people, or a vulnerability? Without it, would we know anything?



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Tara Loughran

Tara Loughran

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