Andrew Bolt has written another suprising “well thought-out” blog post on the Herald Sun website. In it Bolt employs the industry standard technique of feigning a state of commonality. However there is one paragraph of his post to which I take particular issue.

The paragraph of Bolt’s blog in question is this one:

The eye-swivelling snobbery in that statement is astounding. What Pusey is really saying is that the little people, Them, are so lacking in intellectual resources and critical-mindedness that they can be swayed towards hatred and hysteria by the utterances of a radio host or a newspaper editorial. People’s minds are mere putty, apparently, easily remoulded by powerful men, and thus the government must do more to regulate what the media can project into our fragile little brains.

This paragraph overlooks mountains of evidence to show that people can of course be easily swayed to think and feel any number of things, often despite intelligence and education. If people were not easily manipulated how and why would the field of advertising exist? How would seemingly rational people fall under the spell of cults? How do well educated and well off members of society go on to join and lead terrorist organisations (e.g. Osama Bin Ladin)? How could set in stone religious texts such as the Bible or the Koran be perverted to support any number of agendas and aims (many of which are highly detrimental to society)? How could two conflicting realties over something like Climate Change enjoy the support of an almost equal numbers of people?

The fact is that on the whole the population is very easily manipulated. There are whole industries built around said manipulation. There are so many historic and current examples of this that I could spend the rest of the year listing them.

P.S: Bolt really loves to bandy about the term “elitist” as if Big Brother and his cronies are sitting in a high backed chair somewhere controlling free speech through their appointed judges. However, could not someone whose columns and blog posts are read by hundreds of thousands of people also be considered “elite”? And through the force of his opinion, is Bolt not also attempting to control and influence public opinion and discourse?

 

Source:

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Bolt Blog at the Herald Sun

Due to News Ltd’s tendency to delete articles they are ashamed of I have quoted the entire post, as well as providing a link.

For anyone who believes in unfettered freedom of the press – that is, in the freedom of anyone to publish what they believe to be true and interesting – these are deeply worrying times.

In Britain and Australia, the hacking scandal has led to the setting up of inquiries, staffed by judges and various other bigwigs, who will poke their noses into the behaviour and morality of the media….

That so few people seem to appreciate how profoundly problematic it is to have a politically appointed judge determine what the ethics of the media should be speaks to how devalued the concept of press freedom has become…

… in Australian academic online magazine The Conversation, Michael Pusey of the University of NSW says too many media outlets have become “a law unto themselves”. Apparently the commentary of various “shock jocks” and tabloid papers is encouraging “hate speech, scapegoating and blind politics among some of the most powerless sections of the population”.

The eye-swivelling snobbery in that statement is astounding. What Pusey is really saying is that the little people, Them, are so lacking in intellectual resources and critical-mindedness that they can be swayed towards hatred and hysteria by the utterances of a radio host or a newspaper editorial. People’s minds are mere putty, apparently, easily remoulded by powerful men, and thus the government must do more to regulate what the media can project into our fragile little brains.

That such views flourish within academe is a worry. Once, universities believed in the free exchange of ideas and the robustness of human minds; today their instinct is to muzzle loud and rowdy publications lest they turn the moronic masses into hateful drones.

Link