The shifting sands of public opinion – Noel Grima

We may think it’s impossible but some 40% of Republican voters in the United States still believe that Donald Trump was robbed of a second term in the most recent American presidential election. We’re talking about one of the most advanced countries in today’s world in terms of a media climate.

In these terrible days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we are seeing the terrible impact of a strictly controlled public opinion that just refuses to believe anything that is not allowed by the authorities. So young and untrained soldiers get sent to invade a sovereign State but they still believe they are doing nothing wrong and have full justification for what they’re doing. And their mothers will still believe the official lie even as they receive their sons in a body bag.

The situation is more or less the same all over the world. Engrossed in our world, job and the little world of our circle of friends and acquaintances, our pastimes and interests, we absorb what we are fed in terms of information about the world around us with little thought to evaluate the truth from the falsehoods we are fed.

The basic percentages are all more or less the same. How many of the elderly viewers or listeners of One News are alive to the manipulation they’re subjected to? Though smaller for objective reasons, there is also a core of PN supporters for whom Net News is their One News turned on its head.

Aided and abetted by a media house on each side and protected by a media that boasts of its independence and impartiality but then many times is complicit in this power game, these mammoth institutions we call political parties (obviously the two big ones) have all taken us for a ride since we can remember.

Time and again the game is played and while time and again the losers of yesterday become the winners of today, yet we seem unable to break free of this rollercoaster situation.

We have a winner take all template and thus we miss out on such potential and very valuable alternatives such as smaller parties, coalitions and negotiation, seeking only to win and dominate and to consign the losers to outer darkness until they manage to turn things around and become top dog in turn.

But this manipulation of public opinion is not democracy wherever it is found. It is the undermining of democracy, which is based on checks and balances, which is the antithesis of absolute power even if this be masked by internally hollowed out institutions standing in as democratic institutions.

We say and repeat that democracy must be built upon working and trustworthy institutions and yet we allow and permit the flaunting of proper governance. 

We allow ourselves to be fooled by an election once every five years and then allow the exercise to be rendered as harmless as can be and undermine it with all sorts of tricks, shortcuts and other ways.

Those who allow themselves to be used in this charade are at least as guilty as the perpetrators themselves. They all play a part in this macabre game.


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