Political field and mediatic field

It hits you in the eye the large correspondence (structural homology) established, in Spain, between political and mediatic field, leading to the reproduction of a number of divisions (principles of vision and division) in these two fields. The clearest of all is the left-right axis, which leads even journalists themselves to tracing the tags used to describe it: left-right is reflected in the mediatic field as a “mediatic left-right”. But beyond this observation, we should answer three questions: 1) Who are these left-right? 2) What are the effects on the mediatic field of this homology between the two fields? 3) And the effects on the political field?

As for the first question, the spokesmen of the left-right axis are the groups that have a voice, who are opposed to those that have not. That is, those who are able to speak and, therefore, have some access to the means of production of the voice or words, currently going by media conglomerates (press, television, radio and, increasingly, internet) that produce opinions. In short, it is basically political parties such as the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, Spanish Socialist Party) and the PP (Partido Popular, Popular Conservative Party) having a fully verifiable history of relationships with various media groups that give them an almost monopolistic domination of the published views.

This ends up having certain effects. First, effects on the mediatic field. The fact that they are always the same the ones with voice generates a consensus on the topics covered, legitimates problems and imposes censorship on the problems these groups believe are not proper or legitimate, in which are often agree and, therefore, do not enter into dialogue. The dynamics of response and counter-response ends up being, more than a dialogue, a dialogue of the deaf, a smokescreen to cover the basic consensus, which are never discussed by hegemonic groups (as we shall see in the following example). A way of denying the true dialogue, imposing a symbolic violence, a coercion of word for word, imposing some half-truths, some slogans, repeated a thousand times in different ways, whether to assert them or to deny them, to defend them or criticize them, which end up forming what is said and, therefore, what is thought. They end up being publicized opinion. Let’s see an example of today: we speak insistently about what some call the “sustainability of the pension system”, arguing that the ratio between the number of contributors (employees) and pensioners is becoming smaller, so that there are increasingly fewer workers to support a growing number of pensioners. Each of the two sides is positioned: the PP considers it necessary to reform it, while the PSOE defense it against what he considers “the counter-reform of the PP”. The debate is open and the opposing arguments are endless. Apparently the issue is subject to an open dialogue. But there is more censoring than real dialogue, because the apparent debate is based on some consensus. Nobody says nothing about who “holds” the system. They talk about their “sustainability” only to say that one side considers that the system is viable and the other side considers it is not, but in developing the question, the question is not questioned. Is the question about the “sustainability of the pension system” really the question that we should ask? Maybe if we went further, reformulating the question in terms of the kind of “who holds the pension system”, we could answer the question intended to respond. If you answer this new question, you may end up seeing that when the pension is paid with income from work (as in Spain) (i.e., is paid by the workers), in a context where there are increasingly less work, like nowadays, and in which wages have been declining, it is clear that predictably the pensions will decrease. But perhaps the solution to this problem would be to increase the contribution of capital to the pension system, making it more taxed, i.e., applying redistributive policies to it? This debate is “not proper”, but maybe should not it be?

But this is not all. This lack of plurality of opinions also has effects on the political field. Insofar as there is a group or groups able to impose a monopoly of the political problems and their solutions, and insofar as the circulation of such ideological proposals takes the form of an infinite circle (proposal-response-counter-response) without being nobody able or wanting to break this circuit, this not only granted visibility to certain ideas and visions of the world over other ideas, but above all this give notoriety and power to some groups over others. In short, this gives some visibility to certain groups at the expense of relegating the others, which hardly cannot exist socially, because they are considered “marginal groups”.

The only way of breaking this political and mediatic hegemony would be promote mechanisms (laws in the first place) that, through greater plurality of ideological choices expressed in all media both public and especially private, could diluted and broke the hegemony of those voices that currently are untouchable and unquestioned as opposed to those that currently are relegated, which would have a greater chance to be heard (and, therefore, exist socially and politically) and a greater chance to question those voices that until now have had all the resources and all the opportunities to present themselves as the only possible because “they have the upper hand”.