Volume 27, 2011

Modernization in Times of Globalization II

Louis Kontos
Pages 167-176

Media Distortion
A Phenomenological Inquiry Into the Relation between News and Public Opinion

How is a massive quantity of information and steady stream of images received in the cognitive form of a given reality? In Bergson’s terms, its reception coincides with a “cosmic” perspective, and in that sense it appears outside of and prior to experience and its zones of immediate relevance. At the same time, inasmuch as there is what Schutz calls a “stock” of experiences the elements of which are not immediately relevant to one another, information might be understood to move the unorganized givens in the direction of unified structures of experience, detached from both those givens and experience as such. In that case, there is a coincidence of imposed relevances and what is yielded by communication. An event seems, suddenly, to make sense, offsetting the gap between experience and cultural representation. The erasure of this gap, in other words, leaves experience unguided and its subjects overwhelmed by a certainty for which they can neither account nor frame in such a way that accountability could be seen as a problem. Distortion is then not simply a matter of manipulation or error, but, what is more problematic, a matter of losing the sense of being able to re-imagine what is now imagined as certain. It will be examined below.