It's a very small thing, but I'm thankful that my legal education (essentially, my job) includes assignments which lead me to read interesting like the following, from Jay Rosen's response to Cass Sunstein's Boston Review essay, "The Daily We."|
Peruvians learned an interesting fact about their government during the wild scandals involving the corrupt intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, who had almost everyone with influence on his payroll. For the big national broadcasters that he intimidated, bribed, and then videotaped, Montesinos had some advice: keep politics off the air as much as possible, or else. Not just the opposition and its demands (that went without saying), but politics itself was suppressed, in favor of game shows, soap operas, and sports.
Montesinos didn't want a public sphere breaking out while he was concentrating his power—not surprising. What's surprising is his keen grasp of the situation. If the state prevented the public sphere from competing in the broader attention marketplace, it could allow a relatively "open" contest of ideas among educated elites, those who do read the newspapers.