Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Mean ol’ master of society? |

Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Mean ol’ master of society?

Don Rogers
Vail, CO Colorado

Leave it to anthropologists to peg The Media – with a big word or two, of course, because they are scholars, after all.

In “Annual Editions: Archaeology (2010),” of all places, I stumbled across this: “Today the mass media is the major source of epistemology in the modern world, and it underscores cultural values and also creates cultural myths by which all humans are made to live. The media is as much a response to our demands as we are to its manipulations. … But the media mind is characterized by fuzzy thinking and skepticism.”

Love it! Even misusing the word “epistemology” where I’m reasonably sure they meant to simply say “knowledge” (rather than “study of knowledge,” which doesn’t really make sense in that sentence).

My share of the mass media is narrow, of course, as part of the news media. And narrower still, as a practitioner of journalism.

I’m often frustrated by our blend of skepticism and fuzzy thinking. Time crunches and lack of truly inside access to important decisions have an inevitable effect on the coverage and punditry that follows. I’m more often amazed at how close my brethren can get to the truth, given their sometimes severe handicaps.

That’s a good thing, in that a lot more people follow the fruits of our earnest labors than the sometimes nose-holding fare of the anthropologists and other scholars.

I view anthropology, social science, political science and history more as deep journalism than I view journalism as the first rough draft of history.

Journalism borrows from the scientific method – unlike that dude in his boxers blogging away at what he’s sure must be right. It’s the same discipline used by the scholars, only with a stopwatch and with more pieces missing from the picture in the rush of the moment.

The cultural myths of that overbearing master of society, shrill lapdog, sleeping mammoth are framed by our media cousins in the movies, public relations arts, and such.

At the core where I labor, we may struggle (mightily!) with skepticism and fuzzy thinking, but we’re hardly manipulating the culture to do our bidding. No one would have heard of Lindsey Lohan if you followed my bidding. And you wouldn’t have to look up “epistemology.”

I’d say the media is far more slave than master. All that media-as-bogeyman stuff is just fodder for the movies, conspiracy theory fans, and the odd anthropologist or two.

Too bad!

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