Velociraptors of the New Age


The final installment on Supersized Media from the-size-issue.blogspot.com

WHILE seemingly efficient, giant-like media organisations, often proclaim new labour-saving methods, “media production on a tight budget” or herald moves to rationalise the work place, “the information-technology revolution” yet inevitably, the media operates under a “necessary illusion”. To use Noam Chomsky’s phrase the media’s societal function is no longer the “standard conception of media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in the search for truth,” but rather a terrible dependency upon powerful vested interests, as it has been for centuries ever since Gutenburg invented the printing press.

Indeed, if it were not for the Christian Church, Gutenburg would not have been in business printing bibles and religious paraphernalia. In a sense it was media theorist Marshall Macluhen (with his Mechanical Bride) who first pointed out the hypocritical relationship between Calvinism and news media, and it is the same appeal to the Gospel according to O’Reilly, that the Independent Group now proclaim their innocence.

Fortunately the lifespan of media, (and media theorists) like dinosaurs is finite. New forms of media such as blogging, the Velociraptors of the New Age, are able to tear apart the preconceived notions of Anglo-Saxon superiority. The hold on truth that supersized media cartels have had in this country for decades is being rapidly surpassed by small web-logs (like this one) that can outpace even the most agile Brachiasaurus, because that in essence is what the Independent Group is, an outmoded, super-sized dinosaur with a small brain unable to adapt to climatic change.

Far from being the super-stealthy beasts as some economists would have it, media cartels are slow to react to changes in the way people consume meaning. To put this in a nutshell — The public are just not that dumb anymore and even the most ardent reader can sense when writers are getting ripped off or taken for granted. Are you having the wool pulled over your eyes? Is the truth being hidden from you? How long will Independent be able to keep up the charade? Judging from the way editorial policy has been managed, indefinitely it would seem, considering there aren’t that many writers left and the whole media business is now run by editors and their infernal machines.

Machines it is sad to say, like your very own home computer, have taken-over many of the processes once considered the preserve of media workers. As humans get replaced by software, less and less people benefit from the media production process. The food chain is thinned out, power is concentrated in the hands of the few-on-top, while those below take strain. Eventually, one technocrat is left in control of the same amount of verbiage, information/content, as twenty or thirty equals would have been a decade ago. The result is an amplification of the inherent weaknesses in the system, as recent decisions by Independent’s editors concerning HIV-testing/Sexual Health and the handling of the tricky Invasion of Iraq will bear out.

Blogging however, is so rapid an advance by the body, that soon the head will have no reason for being: The evolution of super-sized media it would seem, has come to resemble a giant Brachiasaurus, slowly feeding off the imaginary public swamp, and comprised fabulously of a large body of lowly-paid workers, with little chance of advancement; no middle management and a minuscule head containing (a vaguely consciously-aware brain). Blogs on the other hand don’t need content managers, have little use for market-censorship, and don’t have half the propaganda workload that nine-to-five employees of the Independent Propaganda Machine have.

Blogs are in essence the Seventh Estate, the digital safety-valve, the new electronic steam-whistle blowing off facts about the fact that O’Reilly’s media organisation suppressed the facts, or emphasising that his group ripped off writers, or colouring his refusal to make amends or even acknowledge guilt. Yes, that’s right, according to the Gospel according to O’Reilly, “the facts are whatever he says they are” and “he’s not guilty even if his labour practices are found guilty by a court of law.”**see note.

Progressively the new technology-driven savings on “the cost of labour” are being funnelled up the food chain through the giant brachiosaurus-mind to its small head on top. Some techno-driven people above the clouds, the central brain, it seems have forgotten that most ordinary people dwell far below, hence the puny feet beneath the body. Supersized but to no avail, the higher the CEO’s salary, the bigger the discrepancy in wages, the greater the class divide, the larger the language gap, the more enormous the ego trip, the point is finally reached where the beast ceases to evolve, where it is necessary for the head to attack the body and vice versa.

For all intents and purposes, the Independent Media Cartel is an extinct animal, an historical footnote on the path of progress, waiting for you, the blog reader, Velociraptors of the New Age, to ask the right questions, interrogate the right facts and to question these dinosaurs to find out the terrible truth — who or what exactly controls the new economy of truth — and in answering this question, thereby diminishing both the Independent Group, the size-issue and its reason for being.

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One comment

  1. davidrobertlewis

    **NOTE for those of you who get hung-up on facts:
    Shortly after 911, I was dismissed by Colin Howell (Cape Times’ assistant editor), my services were terminated for no apparant reason and Independent expected me to simply walk away. I approached the CCMA as a stop-gap measure. The process went from Conciliation & Mediation to Arbitration and was so harrowing that by the time I got to arguing, the case had been eliminated for a technical reason (in limine) — I would have had to have argued that I had been a de facto employee, which I was and not simply a freelance contributor seeking a redress of grievances and demanding my constitutional rights.

    Nevertheless I then pursued the matter in the Small Claims Court and won a small victory with regard to Independent’s failure to acknowledge a contractual relationship between myself, the company and former Arts Editor Gael Reagan. In a second claim another Assistant Editor, Jen Crocker denied we had a tacit agreement and that’s were the matter has stood until this day. As far as I’m concerned its a sad indightment on the company’s labour practices and proof that what I’m saying bears at least a modicum of truth — if the truth could be told so as to be understood.

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