The concept I found to be the most intriguing in this week’s readings was not provided by Thussu, McChesney or Tunstall but, however, by George Orwell in his assertion that neoliberal democracy is a setting in which “unpopular ideas can be silenced and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for an official ban.” Prior to uncovering this proposal in McChesney’s article, The Media System Goes Global, I did not recognize the danger associated with modern oligopoly and the subsequent decline of egalitarian democracy.
McChesney asserts that political pessimism is needed to maintain electoral democracy and economic order. Contemporary society has seen the emergence of a system that offers services based on profitability and not founded on consumers’ wants. Media literacy and political awareness are crucial in preventing wealthy dominant conglomerations from wielding absolute political and economic power gained from global consumer reliance.
Although I traditionally viewed the emergence of globalised society and the continuance of institutional democracy as measures of progress, I found Orwell’s unpublished introduction to Animal Farm to be an eerie premonition for ungoverned free market media. While Thussu’s discussion on “glocalization” reveals culturally specific media as potentially beneficial to the consumer and profitable for the producers, I am weary of the lack of media literacy and political voice granted to civil society as transnational corporations (TNC) become increasingly powerful, greedy and faceless.
Like Orwell and McChesney, I fear that neoliberal democracy, if not monitored, will become an opiate to the people in which the ability to vote secures nothing but TNCs' ability to act, unencumbered, in their own commercial interests.