Journalism and reporting need their own version of the Hippocratic Oath. (I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth…?)
Journalists would declare their biases and their intentions to attempt (nobody’s perfect!) to be neutral and objective, and their openness to peer review/rebuttal to that end; publications would declare their intention to provide a balance of opinion (or not to)and clearly label opinion pieces as such (under the heading, not at the end). They would declare their owners’ bias and potential conflicts of interest openly under their title.
Something like the health warnings on cigarette packets: half the problem is that people end up giving this media bias a pass purely out of habituation, thinking that they are immune to it or that they are capable of continuously discounting it but eventually it it incorporated into their worldview just the same.
I think your general point about ‘faith- healers’ is a good analogy- our ability to identify political and socio-economic cause and effect has been outstripped due to technological advances-from transport and communication to finance to military, all passing through and accelerated by IT . We are left irrationally clutching at straws… and in the case of the USA, straw -haired avatars: Trump, the a 5th column scarecrow in a 21st century Wizard of Oz?
People’s fear of unseen processes leading to unpredicted outcomes ( and so much done and said behind our backs and to our detriment- didn’t Adam Smith once say something to that effect about corporations?) is exacerbated by ‘globalisation’ which is experienced by many as a relative loss of value/usefulness for their hard-won local expertise. Knowledge gained over a lifetime and adaptations made throughout life to fit your local conditions: how to get the measure of a person and their relative sincerity, how not to be fooled, how to get along… when this no longer applies, people lose their bearings and experience something like a regression to a stage of less personal capacity, less autonomy. They lose faith in their own ability to make useful predictions, to arrange events in their favour and end up doing the equivalent of political rain-dancing.
Is the anti-corruption campaign effective in Romania precisely because it’s a small country hence people know who they’re dealing with, what is within the realms of possibility and also perhaps feel more certain of what they are entitled to demand?
Thanks for that Postman link :-) definitely been having urges to read Brave New World again…