Sunday, December 20, 2009

the medium is the message

One of the most basic tenets of politics is controlling the message, spinning the information that is in the public domain and framing the way issues are viewed.  As McLuhan famously observed, the medium is the message and no where is this more true today than with the default public record of "fact", Wikipedia.

So, if you wanted to embed science within pre-dominant political consciousness, a key component would require a communications strategy to:
  • bring the mainstream media on board by special access, the use of alarmist scenarios and iconic graphics that overwhelm any sublte nuances of the real scienc
  • block anyone who disagreed or might disprove your ideas from publishing in normal, recognized media, say refereed journals
  • establish a blog that frames your view of the "real" science and refuse to publish comments that fail to conform to your "consensus", and, lastly
  • establish control over the on-line source of facts, Wikipedia.
The Climategate papers show exactly how the conventional dogma for climate utilized all of these strategies to frame and  package their perspective of the science for political consumption.

Of course, the final step was then to demonize anyone who still disagreed, questioned or otherwise objected to this force-feeding of conformity, as a denialist. It was the perfect Orwellian use of newspeak. 

Skeptic became a pejorative for the lunatic fringe, rather than a descriptor of essential scientific practice.  But since so many within the AGW fraud had already dispensed with such other scientific staples as transparency and empiricism, what was the problem?  Their reaction to the Climategate papers continues these tactics.  But authoritarian regimes only exist up until the point the public is no longer scared by the bully tactics and the fear the regime seeks to engender. 

The political wind has now changed.  Copenhagen revealed the extent to which neither the science nor the environment were ever really central to the politics.  They were a convenient contrivance.  Now their 15 minutes of political limelight is done and the realpolitik of wealth, wealth transference and corruption, sorry influence, will resume normal broadcasting.  Watch for a new round of celebrity faces to endorse the new message and whatever path to enlightenment is to be used to package and sell the politics it embraces.

Update: the Team's guy on the inside has had his status as Wikipedia administrator revoked. 
It will be interesting to discover if Wikipedia can or "can't handle the truth!". Apparently not.