Chapter 20
The media

The hot topic of the moment concerning the media is how to favor an analysis and a reasoning of quality compared to the immediate sensational, that is to say how to accompany the rocking towards the reason provoked by the creation of the organizations described in the second part of this book. Indeed, if the Age of Enlightenment envisaged education and freedom of the press as the means to allow citizens to access the full exercise of their social role, the complexity of the world and the increase in communications technologies make that, at the media level, it is today necessary to focus not only on freedom of expression, but also on the quality of discourse. Opposing opinions is no longer enough. Let us also remember that since the keystone of our social organization is to regularly subject all individuals to the development of reasoning leading to a decision, it seems highly desirable that the media environment in which they bathe in daily prepare them.

An important cultural shift to make is to consider that the investigative media have become a social element to be financed by the community, in the same way as health or education.

The other important element is to redefine the duties of the press in the current social system. Put simply, you cannot ask classic politicians to be the only bulwark against populists. Cognitive dissonance tells us that in a direct confrontation between a classic politician and a populist, the listeners will tend to oppose the two proposed presentations in a symmetrical way, therefore to consider that the truth could well be in the middle, which means that by repetition, the populist discourse becomes respectable, and that populism can then triumph in the electoral ballots. The debate in the second round of the 2017 French presidential election certainly led to the defeat of the populist, but it is because the candidate was less brilliant intellectually than his opponent, so it would be dangerous to believe that it will happen again, and therefore that it constitutes an effective barrier.
It is up to the media to be the main bulwark against populism, by adopting the following ethical rule, which must be secured by law to avoid any distortion of competition: everything reported in a delayed manner must to be checked beforehand, therefore in the event of gross inaccuracy, must engage the responsibility of the media. Having the fact said by a third party is not enough to relieve the media of this responsibility. For the direct, if the journalist knows the inaccuracy of the fact, he has the duty to stop the exchange and immediately correct. If he does not have the elements at its disposal at the moment, it is up to the media to verify a posteriori everything that has been broadcasted, therefore in the event of gross inaccuracy discovered a posteriori, to disseminate a subsequent correction with at least the same audience as the original misinformation. In the case of an inaccurate fact reported by a person who regularly speaks in the media, for example a prominent politician, any subsequent interview or report of that person's words must be preceded by the replay of the correction sequence for the previous inaccuracy.
In other words, we cannot allow factually false elements to be imposed in our culture just by the accumulation of repetitions by malicious groups.

Cognitive dissonance requires us to go even further. A sentence which conveys only part of reality must be considered grossly inaccurate when it is repeated regularly while the other parts of the same reality are not repeated in the same proportions. Indeed, this aims to intentionally establish by repetition a distortion of reality. Example: “Immigrants pose problems” which hides other sides of the same reality which are for example “Immigrants are beneficial for the economy because they occupy the bottom of the social ladder and allow the locals to occupy more rewarding positions” or “Immigrants enrich our culture”.
We are not here trying to establish a political correctness that would aim to pinpoint any punctual clumsiness of language, but rather to assign to the media the responsibility of analyzing as a whole and over time the discourse they convey, to detect the intentional repetitions of a truncated reality, and put an end to it by reclassifying it as coarse false whenever they are broadcasted outside a sequence that deals with the whole problem.