An extract of HATE INC. in the Washington Spectator

The Media’s 10 Rules of Hate

Pick up any major newspaper, or turn on any network television news broadcast. The political orientation won’t matter. It could be Fox or MSNBC, The Washington Post or The Washington Times. You’ll find virtually every story checks certain boxes.

Call them the 10 rules of hate. After generations of doing the opposite, when unity and conformity were more profitable, the primary product the news media now sells is division.

The problem we (in the media) all have is the commercial structure of the business. To make money, we’ve had to train audiences to consume news in a certain way. We need you anxious, pre-pissed, addicted to conflict. Moreover we need you to bring a series of assumptions every time you open a paper or turn on your phone, TV, or car radio. Without them, most of what we produce will seem illogical and offensive.

In Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky highlighted how the press “manufactured” public unity by making sure the population was only exposed to a narrow median strip of political ideas, stretching from Republican to Democrat (with the Democrat usually more like an Eisenhower Republican).

The difference now: we encourage full-fledged division on that strip. We’ve discovered we can sell hate, and the more vituperative the rhetoric, the better. This also serves larger political purposes.So long as the public is busy hating each other and not aiming its ire at the more complex financial and political processes going on off-camera, there’s very little danger of anything like a popular uprising.

That’s not why we do what we do. But it is why we’re allowed to operate this way. It boggles the mind that people think they’re practicing real political advocacy by watching any major corporate TV channel, be it Fox or MSNBC or CNN. Does anyone seriously believe that powerful people would allow truly dangerous ideas to be broadcast on TV? The news today is a reality show where you’re part of the cast: America vs. America, on every channel.

The trick here is getting audiences to think they’re punching up, when they’re actually punching sideways, at other media consumers just like themselves, who happen to be in a different silo. Hate is a great blinding mechanism. Once you’ve been in the business long enough, you become immersed in its nuances. If you can get people to accept a sequence of simple, powerful ideas, they’re yours forever.

See all ten rules here.