Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An insider explains the "narrative"

I'm a big fan of Stephen Hunter's Bob Lee Swagger novels. Not many writers know how to craft an exciting story while getting the important details right. Like Tom Clancy, Hunter almost always gets it right.

But this is not about Bob the Nailer.

Hunter spent decades working for daily newspapers. He understands how the sausage gets made. As a long-time denizen of the Washington Post, he is a jaundiced observer of how the news business works in the nation's capital. Of late, he has spiced up his fiction with some astute, if withering, commentary on the media.

This is especially timely as the MSM chews over the UBL raid:

For those involved, however, the trials and interviews and think pieces et. al. were really signifiers of nothing. It was just the assholes of the world catching up to what the people on the point of the spear had already done in their name

I don't know that i've seen a better explanation of  "the narrative" and it's role in the news business:

"Let me tell you what's going on, and why this one is so touchy. We are fighting the narrative. You do not fight the narrative. The narrative will destroy you. The narrative is all-powerful. The narrative rules. It rules us, it rules Washington, it rules everything. Now ask me, 'What is the narrative?'

"What is the narrative?"

The narrative is the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It's so powerful because it's unconscious. It's not like they get together every morning and decide 'These are the lies we tell today.' No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it's a set of casual, nonrigorous assumptions about a reality they've never really experienced that's arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they have chosen to live their lives. It's a way of arranging things a certain way they all believe in without ever really addressing carefully. It permeates their whole culture. They know, for example, that Bush is a moron and Obama a saint. ... And the narrative is the bedrock of their culture, the keystone of their faith, the alter of their church. They don't even know they're true believers, because in theory they despise the true believer in anything. "

UPDATE: 14 October 2016

Key point from Steve Sailer:

The Narrative is controlled in the retelling of the story.

1 comment:

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks. Great find.