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Manufacturing uncritical thinking

by system failure

I was thinking about writing something related to a certain behavioural pattern that we often meet in the mainstream media journalist army. I was inspired by the impressively loud example of The New York Times' Bari Weiss, and how it was presented by Jimmy Dore in his show.



During this particular discussion with Joe Rogan, Weiss rushed to paint US presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, as an "Assad toady", without even knowing what the characterization means. As Dore aptly pointed out: "That's what's called a 'received opinion'. So, it's not her own opinion. She has heard other people in her neoliberal bubble say that stuff, so she just repeats it. She doesn't even know what the insult means."

Ben Norton wrote on Twitter: "Neocon NY Times columnist Bari Weiss smeared Tulsi Gabbard (who bravely opposed regime change and US support for Salafi-jihadist contras) as an "Assad toady," then couldn't spell/define toady or offer any evidence to prove her smear. Embarrassingly funny."


Then, Caitlin Johnstone wrote a very interesting article which motivated me to finally write something about the issue. She wrote:

Lately I’ve been using the establishment freakout over Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential candidacy to address this difficulty, since on paper most of the things she’s saying appear fairly normal and common sense to anyone who hasn’t been trained to regard them as abnormal and freakish. We were gifted with a really useful insight into the way establishment narrative managers manufacture normality when The New York Times’ Bari Weiss dismissed Gabbard as “monstrous” on The Joe Rogan Experience and then found herself completely unable to articulate why she’d said that. Her floundering attempts to defend her position when questioned were essentially that of a propagandist saying what could be summed up as, “I can’t remember why, but everyone who matters has already agreed that she’s horrible and abnormal so that’s my take, too.”

And this is why the propaganda machine’s ability to manufacture normality is so powerful: by controlling what we all see as normal, they are able to spin any attempt to deviate from that false image of normality as abnormal. Humans are conditioned to see safety in normality; if patterns are constant and sustained we feel like we can relax, if patterns are disrupted we feel under threat. For this reason even something so clearly evil and deranged as the US forever war can be spun as normal and therefore safe, and any attempt to end it can be spun as abnormal and therefore unsafe.

In the end, Caitlin called us to join her effort to interpret the whole situation: "As I said, this dynamic is very difficult to talk about due to its very nature, but talking about it is a skill I intend to get better at. I encourage you to join me in that endeavor."

So, in my effort to contribute, I would like to focus on this behavioral pattern that I refer to in the first paragraph. Caitlin beautifully describes how the dominant system manufactures normality. But there is always a series of "whys" that can drive you towards more fundamental discoveries. So, why people, particularly in the mainstream media, behave like Weiss?

As a first general conclusion, we could say that the system manufactures not only 'normality', but also 'uncritical thinking'.

Apart from her political positions on various matters, Weiss' behavior is a loud example of uncritical thinking. It is more than obvious that, concerning Tulsi Gabbard, she is just following the corporate media norm, without the slightest sign of mood to challenge it.

In his article, How the French media turned Emmanuel Macron into a presidential candidate, Ludivine Bénard describes emphatically the general characteristics of people like Weiss that the MSM prefer to hire:

                    Journalistic titles hire journalists whose social background – socially, culturally, educationally and morally – fits perfectly with what the current capitalist order asks for. People working in media are mostly middle-class types with the same interests, favouring consumerism, hedonism, libertarian individualism and unconditional Europeanism from Brussels. And they're all subject to this form of political illiteracy – they reduce reporting on politics to reporting on political personalities. The journalists and pollsters in the press turn political life into a theatrical stage, where personalities just endlessly talk and debate. All that talk drowns out any serious criticism of the system. [...] the mainstream media and the journalists working in them ... want to save the system they're working in. So it's a natural step for them to promote all candidates who don't really threaten the capitalist order. 

So, these are the people who are pissed off with Putin and Russia just because the MSM hierarchy dictates them to do so, without questioning. They can easily picture Assad and Maduro as 'dictators', while at the same time they will ignore Saudi brutal regime. They will rush to support US-backed 'color revolutions' and regime change operations, but they will never bother to investigate the US-Saudi war crimes in Yemen, Israel's crimes against Palestinians, or endless US backed coups in Latin America.

And naturally, above all, they will never investigate the labyrinth of underground connections of the media they work for, with the US deep state.

These are the people that this corrupted system accepts today as 'journalists'. And, indeed, these 'journalists' will fight to protect the neoliberal order, not just because they fear that they will lose their jobs if they don't obey to this order. But also because they are trained to believe that any alternative to this order will lead to anarchy and chaos. So, actually they are trained to put themselves in a peculiar situation of uncritical thinking of the dominant system because they don't want to disturb and challenge its power.

Therefore, as a final conclusion, we could say that the construction of uncritical thinking is absolutely necessary for the system in order to subsequently produce the desirable normality.

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