NationStates and Progressive Frames
While Mairead was visiting, I asked her how much she knew about what was going on with the tsunami relief efforts. For those of you who aren’t regular readers, Mairead is my exceptionally gifted fourteen-year-old daughter who is off in college. While I know that younger folk are now getting more of their news from the Internet and from the Daily Show, I was surprised at her answer. It wasn’t that she is getting her news from Google’s News site, or from blogs. She is getting it from discussion boards at NationStates “NationStates is a free nation simulation game. Build a nation and run it according to your own warped political ideals.” They have a bulletin board where they discuss the issues, that it where Mairead is getting her news.
As we discussed this, she commented on David Weinberger’s comment at the bloggers breakfast at the Democratic National Convention. David had asked Walter Mears how we could adjust for his biases if he wouldn’t reveal what they are.
Mairead commented that she liked NationStates, because everyone’s biases were very obvious and that unlike so much of the blogosphere, you get people from every imaginable political stripe there.
It occurred to me that this is perhaps closer to Habermas’ public sphere than the mainstream media, blogs, or other parts of the Internet have created. We talked about how when you are on NationStates, you need to use your critical thinking, as opposed to blindly accepting that a media source is fair, balance, news you can trust or all the news that’s fit to print.
Perhaps there is something worse about the myth of media objectivity: It is patronizing. It is paternalistic. Daddy knows best, especially if the father figure is a Walter Cronkite.
Perhaps that is why the Daily Show appeals to so many youth. Jon Stewart is a symbolic leader of those struggling to escape from paternalistic oppression.
Of course, as I think about this, as well as father images in the media, it causes me to stop and think of Lakoff. I started thinking about if we need to reframe the discussion about the media itself, or for that matter the discussion about Lakoff. For progressives, is Lakoff the mythic hero or the father figure?
And then, what about using progressive frames at NationStates?