The legendary counselor to power Walter Lippman once explained the role of the popular press in what he considered to be their essential function, the manufacturing of consent. He said that public opinions, “must be organized for the press… not by the press…” The mainstream press is not here to assist in the expansion of ideas or methods of interpretation, it is not here to offer challenges to popular or conventional wisdom. It is, as C. Wright Mills once said, here to assure that common sense be “more common than sense.” All of this came to mind again this week as we heard of more concern that in light of the pending Comcast merger with NBC that its standard-bearing flagship news program Meet the Press was still lagging woefully behind in the diversity of its on-air guest experts.
* The methodology employed here was simply visiting the online archives of Democracy Now! and counting Black guests. Of the 261 shows only 30 had Black American guests or 11.5%