“Gaslighting Millennials to Neutralize Dissent in the Serf-Economy”
This article explores the terms ‘gig-economy’ and ‘sharing economy’ (also known as the access economy), their spread and usage by the corporate media, and their far-reaching effects. I make the argument that in thoughtlessly following business and media norms, the corporate media act to safeguard the status quo, dehumanize Millennials, and deligitimize dissent against neoliberal capitalism. These terms have been used to frame the economic reality faced by Generation Y, or Millennials, in order to give the appearance that the inequity, iniquity, injustice, and inequality faced by the modern American worker are individual sufferings caused by personal failings. In using these terms, the corporate media ignore that this is the natural progression of decades of pro-business legislation and the rapid disenfranchisement of American workers. I argue that the corporate media and its presentations are nothing more than tactics used to distort reality, ignore patent facts, and gaslight an entire generation, to protect the status quo and those who benefit from it,while creating and spreading ignorance.
Keywords: Sharing Economy, Gig-Economy, Millennials, Corporate Media, Malagnogenesis, Agnotology, Ignorance, News, Public Spectrum of Debate
Who ever asks the questions, whoever controls the yardsticks controls the agenda of public dialogue1
Introduction: Previous and Continual Failings of Corporate Media
Another description of mass media is central media, meaning that it emanates from a central point and provides an identical message to numerous recipients. Those who control centralized media are able to control the content and leverage public opinion, as well as inherently force certain intrinsic constraints on the kind of messages and information conveyed.2
While most people could not elaborate why, they find the newspaper less useful to their lives and for making decisions than it was at onetime. It used to be generally understood that newspapers and programs provided the information needed to make sensible choices about government, policy, and what we want our world to look like. Unfortunately, modern news presentations, articles, and programs provide inert information, consisting of pedantic talking points.3 Newspapers, radio, television, and the internet, are the major forms of continuing education about the world we live in, and tend to be the sources of the average citizen’s knowledge about events, policymakers, and policies.4 Whereas democratic systems rely on effective education, accountable institutional process, and a fair social structure.
The news media need to act as the eyes and ears for society at large for democracy to function,5and has been called the Fourth Estate.6 Within participatory democracies, citizens can, at least in some policy areas and to varying degrees,7 influence the governance of their state. As such, public opinion is essentially linked to how democracies function and any interference with this has an impact on the outcomes of elections, policies,treaties, and social norms8. Modern news programs and newspapers are increasingly selling the same story and worldview.9 In 1983, the news media in the United States was owned by over 50companies; by 2012, that number had shrunk to 5. Fewer owners means less competition between news outlets, which in turn increases consolidation, and cuts the number of permanent “desks” or investigative and foreign correspondent positions within the news production process.10 As Bridge aptly put it,
Although many people are aware of the monopolistic tendencies of the US mainstream media, it’s important to understand the level of concentration. It means the vast majority of everything you see and hear on any electronic device or printed publication is ‘democratically’ controlled by six average white guys and their shareholders.11
Additionally,reducing writing staff to boost profit margins has lead to job instability, making journalists “less likely [than ever] to speak up about interference from owners and other powerful interests.”12. Now “journalists who question agreed-upon assumptions by the political elite stigmatize themselves as unprofessional and political”13. With the rise of branded content, native advertising, and “content studios,” advertisements no longer merely outnumber actual journalist-written stories, but are now becoming articles in and of themselves.
the promise of an independent and truth-seeking press has frequently been subservient to propaganda that pushes for war or advocates on behalf of a narrow set of economic interests.14
Most members of the news media believe that they are advocates for free speech and that their actions are in the interest of the community. As part of its normal operation of producing and elaborating information, they frame and prime stories.Priming is the process in which news media “attend to some issues and not others and thereby alter the standards by which people evaluate.”15 Inquiring into how and why they filter and frame presentations is important because these behaviors shape the ways in which people think and talk about important events16. The endless series of fallacies, negative framing, priming, and countless attempts to embed false themes in the public spectrum of debate and the minds of Americans, show the corporate media’s dedication to protecting the status quo from criticism. Primarily they rely upon speeches, press meetings, and official statements, and use the “presentation of opinion rather than facts, the use of newswire and public relations material and recycling of news within and across formats.” Meaning the mainstream news media merely act as aggregators of officially acceptable narratives.17 Which is accomplished by using approved ‘experts’ on news programs, during commentary, or in op-ed columns, who often have undisclosed ‘stakes’ in the outcome of the subject matter.
Using vested insiders as ‘expert’ sources shows that “pursuit of the truth has all too frequently been replaced with an unthinking obeisance towards the smoke screen of expertise disguising corporate power and control.”18 These “official accounts of the past not only impact perception in the present, but they also consistently crowd out vernacular views,often rendering them obscure, or even illegitimate.”19 One reason that they often rely upon experts in news products, is the myth of neutrality among the elite, connected, and wealthy.Another reason is that using expert sources gives the appearance of being balanced without risking the selling environment, or opening up conversations which could jeopardize official narratives. This means to ignore the stake that these individuals and organizations have in the dominant social order. There is a major lack of concern within the media concerning their unquestioning use of official government or business press releases and news wires.
The corporate media consistently risk objectivity in favor of easy access to official sources without verifying establishment claims.20 Both in theory and practice this “poses a serious problem for both a free press and a well-informed electorate.”21 This has produced a news environment that only has to offer fragmented coverage, while consistently undermining dissenting voices from outside of accepted officials, including domestic and international opinion, by changing the framing of issues to suit official narratives.22 The influence of the wealthy in the form or advertisers or owners(and more directly or from editors) combined with the privileging of official narratives creates a dangerous situation which reduces both the range of topics and the breadth of discussion regarding them.
Corporate ownership combines with other deeply entrenched factors to guarantee the not-so-mainstream media’s dutiful service to the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, class and empire: the controlling power of corporate advertisers (the mass media’s main market, not the public); the disproportionate purchasing power of the affluent (the main target of advertisers); the elitist socialization, indoctrination and selection of journalists, and the dependence of media on government for information, access and monopoly power.23
In short, corporate media professionals thoughtlessly following business norms, while ‘just doing their jobs’ essentially act as agents of propaganda in favor of the status quo, and in the interest of powerful and connected elites,24 to the detriment of the spectrum of public debate.25 It is apparent that “corporate news culture increasingly favors dramatic myopia over sober analysis of public policy and the social distribution of wealth,”26 and “rarely critique the overarching structure within which the media actually operates—that of capitalism and the private,for-profit model of journalism in a supposedly free and egalitarian society.”27 Instead, they “tend toward reflecting the status quo, rather than radically challenging it”28 by making compromises with elites,29 and allowing official positions to take the place of neutrality.
Section II: Agnogenesis and Corporate Media Messages
Whatever phrase prevails will likely determine how the public intercepts the event overall, and how they will refer to it in person, [or in new media. And] this influences the dominant narrative of the event and how it will be recorded in history (and possibly in oral testimony and eventually in collective memory). Censorship and distortion can be preserved instead of a narrative based on empirical facts.30
Socially constructed narratives such as Millennials, the gig or sharing economy contribute to the spread of ignorance, and strengthen stereotypes that dehumanize an entire generation. In creating these socially constructed divisions we can increase the emotional,intellectual, and physical distance with other people, which in turn reduces our feelings of personal or societal moral responsibility for them or their circumstances. These “socially unfavorable media depictions of groups like Millennials divert public attention away from flaws in the capitalist system, thereby allowing traditional norms of consumption and modes of production to continue relatively unimpeded.”31
This has been accomplished through a shift in the editorial managing of newspapers from information providers to money-making enterprise, which has left us with a news environment of homogeneous articles that provide a narrow spectrum of options and fail to provide the accurate information required in a democratic system. We indoctrinate people to believe that the source of problems is individual rather than systemic. That those who suffer under advanced neoliberal capitalism are to blame for their woes, and so “media discourses simultaneously articulate and disseminate certain “truths” about the Millennial Generation, which has also been referred to as‘America’s favorite scapegoat.’”32 A useful concept in understanding the way the corporate media create ignorance as a passive construct, is Martyn Carrier’s malagnogenesis, which refers to agnogenesis that normalizes harm for marginalized groups,and is shown as the consequences of choices made by the corporate media in their coverage of Millennials and the economy they have inherited.33
The corporate media is integral in the American system of malagnogenesis,which is discourse that misinforms rather than informs readers or listeners. Neglecting accuracy for buzz words the corporate media’s gaslighting of Millennials is but one example of “how malagnogenesis continues to operate in the world today,”34 which has short-circuited the public’s ability to make meaningful connections between policies, policymakers, outcomes, and political leaders.35 The corporate media needs to acknowledge and address its role in the production of ignorance in neoliberal nature.36 The language, framing, accuracy, context, and words in these presentations matters because “even after people receive clear and credible corrections, misinformation continues to influence their reasoning: in cognitive psychology, this is known as the continued influence effect of misinformation.”37
If reporters, critics, and citizens choose to use language reflectively rather than thoughtfully, we may all succumb to the easiest language, the language we see the most,the language that has the most money behind it, that appears across corporate media, and that now appears across our social media. The result is that we use the most powerful and prevalent words or frames in the ‘meme pool,’ rather than those that best express reality,Without thinking about the words we use and the frames we construct,we unwittingly promote spin, giving greater currency, legitimacy, and normalcy to visions of the world that may be entirely hyperreal.38
Humans,despite our innermost desire to deny it, are not actually very good at being logical. We form our initial belief/mindset/worldview/mental model outside of rational or logical norms, in a place that mostly remains in the unconscious. Most thoughts, reactions, reasoning, and decisions are created or take place outside of conscious awareness, and take place subconsciously, with varying levels of awareness.39 Once we form a belief, we will continue to prefer the persistence of that belief even when confronted with thoroughly discrediting evidence.40
Since even simply exposing people to false information will increase belief in falsehoods,41 it is vital that the corporate media present factual information,provide fair framing, and act consciously in their presentations and choice of words. Since the aggregation of stories, press releases,and official statements has become so normalized, along with media consolidation, we are hearing the verbatim presentations across the nation and in some cases in the world. This is problematic especially because when we hear something from more than one source, it reinforces the seeming truth of a belief, even when it is based on that false information.42 When these sources of information repeat previously held beliefs, or false facts which can fit into that persons’ worldview, it causes the listener to believe that the source is more reputable.43 Thus even a completely false story, narrative, or framing can alter the public spectrum of debate, particularly when it is in line with the viewer’s worldview, and it can become an entrenched, yet false belief. This holds even more true:
If an individual holds a strong belief that is fundamental to their identity, even the most credible source may not be able to shift it.A person’s ideology often influences how information is sought out and evaluated, and if the information runs counter to prior beliefs,it is likely to be ignored or more critically appraised.44
As such, when corporate media presentations reinforce false ideologies and worldviews, overly simplify complex situations, or use framing that reinforces a false or incomplete world view,they contribute to the spread of lies, misinformation,misunderstanding, and an information-illiterate public. While news presentations drone on about being confused by the public’s lack of information, and inability to make informed choices, the corporate media is also simultaneously creating this situation with their failure to provide accurate information, and not choosing presentations that reflect reality, instead they focus on views and ratings exclusively to seek profit. They violate the very principles of democracy and their position in a democratic society.
Section III: Gig-Economy, Or Serf-Economy?
For the last several years, in both mainstream and much of the alternative media, there has been a concerted effort to avoid using the existing accurate terminology to describe shifts in business trends. These shifts include a decade’s-long string of barely legal union-busting, anti-union legislation, reduced job stability,stagnant wages since the 1970’s, increased healthcare costs, added living expenses (e.g. cell phones, internet,the necessity of healthcare insurance), fewer well-paying jobs, and an even great era concentration of income and wealth at the tip of society. This has lead to the creation of an alternative set of descriptive terms,which are devoid of accuracy, lack the information necessary to make decisions, or even be allowed to have feelings about the terms themselves, and what their meanings reflect,in the reality of Millennials’ experiences with the economy.
The term “gig-economy” first shows online in the Rapid Growth column “Showing the Ropes” by. Dan Calabrese in 2009, and is glossed over fairly simply as “encouraging unemployed individuals to remain fluid and launch their own successful enterprises.” Later, the Financial Times defined gig economy and its rise as “when the unemployed made a living by gigging, or working several part-time jobs, wherever they could.”45 More recent attempts have been made to rewrite the history of the term and the economic realities it represented, for example Steve Denning wrote in Forbes:
It created a generation of people who began doing something that cut to the heart of the way society has been organized for several hundred years. These people—mainly young—began preferring access to ownership. Instead of planning their lives on the premise of acquiring and owning more private property, this new generation began finding meaning and satisfaction in having access to things and interacting with other people in the process.46
Or as Chris Hedges put it,
Corporate capitalism is establishing a neofeudal serfdom in numerous occupations, a condition in which there are no labor laws, no minimum wage, no benefits, no job security and no regulations. Desperate and impoverished workers, forced to endure16-hour days, are viciously pitted against each other…. The corporate elites, which have seized control of ruling institutions including the government and destroyed labor unions, are re-establishing the inhumane labor conditions that characterized the19th and early 20th centuries.47
The access or gig economy is most accurately “a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs,”48 but it is more honest and descriptive to call it the Serf-Economy.Not only are the words “gig economy” or “sharing economy,” in accurate in describing what’s going on, they bestow a false sense of a benign nature to business entities that are anything but.This matters, not merely for reasons of accuracy, but for the way the public interprets what’s happening and, subsequently, how we approach regulation, policy,elections, and discuss current events.49
The media portrayals of Millennials and other groups has increasingly dehumanized swaths of the population. This dehumanization coupled with the precariousness of most workers has led to a situation Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff have notably dubbed “millennial capitalism.” Unlike the baby boomers or generation x, Millennial“workers are forced to operate in ‘survivalist mode,’constantly overshadowed by the dominant societal efficacies of the corporate motive of ‘profit at all costs.’” (Auer, 2014.)Gig-jobs and contractor positions are the cap-stones to the economical options under modern neoliberal capitalism, plagued by“psychological doubt and uncertainty, a subject fraught with acute anxiety, and nagging hypervigilance.” (Mole, 2010.) Under scoring the near totalizing risk motoring neoliberal capitalist exploitation’s expansion by creating a “legacy of irregular piece-work, of menial ‘workfare,’ of relatively insecure,transient, and gainless occupation.” (Jean and John Comaroff2001:5.)50
The use of the terms “gig-economy” and “sharing economy”represent a corporate media and business-led directive to gaslight Millennials. The primary reason that these two terms are not useful and demonstrate a choice to obfuscate reality in that they are neither accurate in their descriptions, nor honest;particularly in that there was no need to create new terms to represent the evolution of work, jobs, and the economy that Millennials interact with on a daily basis. The changes which these terms allude to are not, as the media, businesses, or officials would have you believe, the result of some shift in culture or society; but rather, represent a top-down legislative and normative continuation of long standing neoliberal capitalist business and economic trends. More specifically it represents a further erosion of worker’s’ rights, remuneration, benefits,pensions and their ability to collectively bargain, and these trends have been present during the entire evolution of capitalism.
Simply because below living wage work is using a new platform to connect the desperate masses, as they scramble over one another to stave off the monster of debt, with companies that seek to place the risk and cost of operations onto those who would previously been employees, does not represent a novel trend in business. The gigs and unprotected work offered by these companies leave the workers in more precarious positions than traditional employment schemes.It is merely a more advanced and sneaky manner to further consolidate wealth away from those who create it, further reinforcing inequality between workers and the wealthy owners.
Granted,the mechanism of transaction, the digital platform is somewhat novel,but only in the same way that having your smartphone pay with your credit cards instead of actually carrying them is; it isn’t a revolution,simply a new way of transacting the same business one would have before; as such it is merely the continuation of the same trends and norms that were already in play. It is disingenuous to suggest that the labor market or economy has undergone some novel shift, when it is clearly a deeper entrenchment of anti-worker, pro-business themes which have continued unabated throughout capitalism’s existence.Making more money from the sweat, efforts, creativity, and ingenuity of others than those who actually create the product or service is the very basis of capitalism. Despite the ridiculous (and recent) norm that workers should be thankful, grovel and beg to work overtime for free, to take on extra tasks, all to secure their position as self-exploiter before the ever-benevolent corporations, it simply is a part of the story of the evolution of the current economic system and its institutions.
It is often very illuminating, therefore, to ask yourself how you got at the facts on which you base your opinion. Who actually saw, heard, felt, counted, named the thing,about which you have an opinion? Was it the man who told you, or the man who told him, or someone still further removed? And how much was he permitted to see? … You can ask yourself these questions, but you can rarely answer them. They will remind you, however, of the distance which often separates your public opinion from the event with which it deals. And the reminder is itself a protection.51
A simple way to analyzing and detecting the insincerity of corporate media presentations, their guests, op-ed writers, and the statements of officials are the frequent and seemingly unending reliance and repetition of irrelevant factoids stripped of context and action able meaning. We are led to believe from these that our difficulties in economic, social, and cultural life is an illusion, our sufferings and trials are our own individual fault, not representative of an entire generation being pimped out in a Serf-Economy.
For example, ‘the unemployment rate’ cited in the news, is in fact not the sole measure of unemployment and is one of many metrics, but is the most generous to the status quo, painting the most benevolent picture of our economy as is possible. I would like to point out that the most cited unemployment rate does not even take into account workers who aren’t employed but not receiving or eligible to receive unemployment benefits, nor the homeless, nor those who are only working part-time (usually in a field unrelated to their degrees or training, further wasting billions), nor those receiving less than a living wage, nor those who must work more than 40 hours a week just to make ends meet. A second example is the frequent reporting on the performance of the stock market, which has less impact on the daily lives of 90% of the population than if the weather will be hot or cold that day.
The use of this statistic originates from a time when less than 100 corporations were large enough to be publicly traded, and back then it would have offered more insight into overarching market trends.Over half of Millennials have no money saved and a $400 fee would force them to sell something or borrow money, so it is fairly safe to say that the performance of the stock market is essentially irrelevant to their daily lives, effectively useless information,except of course to the top 10-20% of income earners aka the wealthy and investor classes. A third example is the number of ‘jobs’ added to the economy in a given period, because this metric does not differentiate between part-time, full-time, temporary, or contractor status, and does not differentiate between work that pays a living wage or more, unpaid internships, and those that pay less than that.Additionally, it does not take into account the number of jobs lost,or temporary positions that ended.
If the corporate media or the pro-business economists they wheel out truly believed in the veracity of their proclamations of how good the economy is doing,their metrics would actually be relevant, and have clear and intuitive meanings; rather than obfuscating reality and avoiding the truth faced daily by hundreds of millions of Americans. This could be done in several simple and honest ways. First, when talking about jobs added to the economy, remove anything that isn’t permanent, or pays less than a living wage (for the portion of a work-week that it consumes). Second, completely stop discussing the stock market when attempting to prove how good the economy is for most people. Third, when analyzing unemployment include those who aren’t making a living wage, who are homeless, who are stuck in jobs ‘just to pay the bills,’ who have student debt but aren’t in their field and making less than the median expected market value in their field, temporary jobs, and people who are working part-time jobs that can’t find additional work to bring their income above a livable wage.
In order to actually discuss or analyze the real economic prospects of the greater mass of American workers it is necessary to use metrics that are effective, clear, and reflect the actual situation they face. In their actions the corporate media simply repeat the positions of elites, aggregating useless and in-actionable terminology with a straight face, as though it somehow explains anything that the bulk of American workers face.
What matters is the character of the stereotypes, and the gullibility with which we employ them. And in the end depends upon those inclusive patterns which constitute our philosophy of life. If in that philosophy we assume that the world is codified according to a code which we possess, we are likely to make our reports of what is going on describe a world run by our code. But if our philosophy tells us that each man is only a small part of the world, that his intelligence catches at best only phases and aspects in a coarse net of ideas, then, when we use our stereotypes, we tend to know that they are only stereotypes, to hold them lightly, to modify them gladly. We tend, also, to realize more and more clearly when our ideas started, where they started, how they came to us, why we accepted them.52
It is easy to believe that the media and the elites that they quote,give print space, and airtime to are well aware that these metrics are empty, because it requires serious effort to avoid looking at the mass of data and not see the level of inequality, inequity, and the creation over the past 60 years of a modern serf-class and current Serf-Economy. Look at the drop in life expectancy for the Millennial generation, for example. Consider how pervasive and systemic the issues must be in order to drop the life expectancy of an entire generation, what kinds of things would cause such a drastic change? Oh, right: a 60-year campaign to disenfranchise American workers,undermine their bargaining power, reduce their income and benefits for the sake of profits which go to the top 10%; extract ever more productivity and value from the lower-paid workers, destabilizing the worker-employer relationship from the efforts of unions, anarchists,socialists, and communists that forced the New Deal to come to fruition, reducing the rights of those workers; then convincing them that pro-business legislation is in their benefit, and beguile them into believing that they too can be wealthy if only they try hard enough – so better not make it harder to have unlimited wealth, or else you hurt your own prospects; and allow corporations to make profits in basic human necessities like food, water, housing,healthcare, education, and debt.
In effect give workers less money, less time and room to think or take collective action, lay the cost of doing business on the cities,counties, states, and federal governments when individual workers can’t or won’t. What we are seeing now is not some mysterious sociocultural shift away from security in work and life, having a private home, healthcare, or time off, it is the lack of options which would afford the Millennial generation those basic necessities and desires. Thus, the drop in life expectancy speaks more loudly and accurately to the conditions in the economy and facing Millennials than the useless metrics quoted and consistently repeated as though they are evidence of something.
The American corporate media has utterly failed to actually use relevant terminology to describe a trend that has continued through history as the most common theme,their short-sighted presentation give no useful information, but unlimited context-free factoids. This leaves each Millennial to believe that their suffering is their own fault, individual and does not reflect a systemic or institutional overarching trend that began long before their birth. The gaslighting of Millennials in the Serf-Economy, through repetition, avoidance, and outright negligence on the part of the corporate media is not a lone point of data, but represents the culmination of what Edward Hermann and Noam Chomsky wrote of in their work “Manufacturing Consent.”
While the wealthy and corporations seek to find ever more ways to financialize and monetize ever smaller portions of our lives and possessions, the corporate media continue to thoughtlessly parrot the assertions that the economy is good, and that people aren’t living hand-to-mouth, unable to afford their daily necessities, or dying younger of preventable deaths. An entire generation has less time, a shorter lifespan, less pay for longer hours while doing more work,and will have to work later into their lives to benefit those who already are wealthy. The corporate media has acted as de facto defender of the status quo, giving exclusive access to points of view which represent an extremely narrow spectrum of “acceptable” opinions, from which the public spectrum of debate is informed. In so doing they create the illusion that these opinions are polarized and opposite, when in truth they are only the difference between completely pro-corporation and only slightly less pro-corporation.This smoke-and-mirrors trick of wheeling out two slightly different,yet still pro-corporate, commentators leads people to believe that no other options exist, or no alternatives could more fully solve the systemic imbalances, injustices, inequities, and iniquities of the Serf-Economy. Such is the power and ubiquity of psychosocial distortion in American educational, informational, and media systems,that this severe sociocultural distortion exists in the American mind and worldview.
From his birth the American absorbs consciously and unconsciously, a continuous flow of information about his country, its people… So fortified the Average American will accept information which affirms the consumer society and reject material which views it critically. When an American has been properly ‘prepared’, he or she is relatively invulnerable to dissonant messages, however accurate they may be.53
By presenting an extremely narrow range of pro-status quo elite positions, the corporate media act on the behalf of elites as propagandists and illusionists, duping the American public into believing in a faux hyper reality nightmare. Lacking context,history, honest discussion and analysis news casters, reporters,journalists, and their sources or guests contribute to the decline of the American intellect. It is beyond pointless to attempt discussing the economy, inequality, systemic injustice, the prison-industrial complex, racism, health care, patriarchy, or xenophobia without first understanding and critically discussing the purpose, utility, and effectiveness of our current institutions. It is much the same as being on a boat with a leak, trying desperately to figure out how to save the boat, without discussing that the boat is made of paper mache. Focusing on minutiae without pausing to consider the larger picture and its problems, allows the status quo to remain unquestioned, its operating principles unexamined, and its beneficiaries to continue extracting from American workers and exploiting its rules.
The corporate media contribute to the production of ignorance in the neoliberal capitalist system.54 The coverage of Millennials and the economy they experience has been dominated by messages of dehumanization, framed to separate Millennials from other members of society, and reduce the chances of solidarity with their plight. Dehumanization is used in this way to exploit others to create profit for the wealthy, which is the basis of neoliberal capitalism’s socioeconomic inequalities and injustices. It comes as no surprise that the corporate media act as both propagandists for and vanguards of the status quo, when they are owned by the same individuals who reap the benefits of this system.55
Most people do not witness news—history in the making—as it happens, we see, hear, or read about it in accounts provided by journalists. And those accounts reflect not only the world but also the social forces and professional conventions that shape journalism as a field.56
The choices made by the mainstream media in their presentations and analysis are not merely philosophical or sociological questions, they have real-world impact on public perception, dehumanization, and treatment. As exemplified in the UK by The Intergenerational Foundation’s research on public perception, which found that“people in their 20s came near-bottom for being friendly, competent, viewed with admiration and having high moral standards.”57 Public opinion changes the economic options, government responses and policies, and general daily treatment of Millennials in the real-world. These policies and the general business trends they alter have impact on the lives of every worker, every person struggling to make enough to get by, to have a fair work life, and as such, the mainstream media utterly fail in its role as provider of information and truth, supporting and reinforcing the status quo while dehumanizing an entire generation.
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