On any given day, it is the job of the writers and producers, publishers and pundits, propagandists and activists of the political media to identify what will agitate the public and to push their buttons and pull their strings. It is part of the job of these professions to sensationalize, to induce sensation. The daily and ongoing goal of the political media, entertainment, and propaganda industries large and small is to manipulate the public using cheap tactics to infuriate, motivate, and divide them according to political parties, factions, labels, and contentious issues, either in order to sell media or show advertising to consumers, or to encourage irrational partisanship, to obtain the currency of votes or money.
On a deeper level, it is naive to believe that it will have escaped those in power and behind power that maintaining an agitated, divided public renders the challenge of social control far easier. In the midst of this distraction, the total conquest and regimentation of people herded and labelled into groups who are constantly, repeatedly divided and agitated against each other can be gradually achieved with little difficulty.
Major political parties and contentious issues such as abortion, like sensationalized media reports on outrages, effectively function as devices to distract the public. This is their primary purpose from the point of view of social control by those in a position sufficient to care little which party holds office as long as the effective status quo is maintained, and preferably never discussed or questioned. If the important trillion-dollar issues to those individuals are the likes of remaining powerful while maintaining the fiction of participatory popular government, keeping central banks and their influence over them, keeping war industry money flowing, and generally keeping tax money flowing to their privileged interests, et cetera, then their only concern about a hot-button social issue is that it never be resolved.
The “mainstream” political parties and labels like left-wing or right-wing (and nationalities) are useful brands—on the level of soft-drink loyalties—to encourage hostility and bickering. Aggressive arguments over relatively pointless and relatively unimportant offenses, often based on overly-broad mischaracterization of groups adopted as enemies, are useful devices to monopolize conversation.
The reporting of the “mainstream” media—not coincidentally owned by some of the most powerful individuals in the world—exists first of all to hide all substantive interests of the powerful from attention and accurate analysis, as well as propagandizing in the midst of distraction. A second-rank media of self-appointed intellectuals and bloggers echoes similar talking points, and chiefly reacts to the mainstream media outlets. The “mainstream” consensus functions to exclude all real issues from discussion.
These are means to insulate all true roots of the system from notice and upheaval. It is typical and almost certain that no dialogue promoted in major media outlets or in the second rank of reactive intellectuals (or quasi- and anti-intellectuals) will get at the substance of how the world works, or identify “the real issues” which should concern people. All alternative models and ways of thinking sufficient to break this stranglehold are typically excluded from consideration.
Indeed, consideration itself is the enemy of the political system. Careful thought, patience, toleration, and open-mindedness are antidotes to the reactive politics of the easily-led. Puppets have no time to think, however. A constant state of passionate agitation over issues and divisions sufficient to arouse loyalties and hatreds is, as Orwell noted, the desirable state in which the public should be maintained, from the point of view of a one-party Elite.