Who sets the Agenda?
The BBC Agenda
The BBC News Presenter’s Tweet above consists of a short question and a statement, followed by another short question.
This is effective communication. Her job is to stimulate discussion. To guide viewers into the issue and also to help set the agenda.
This is the science of public opinion. It overlaps with agenda setting, propaganda and disinformation.
Competing claims don’t always get the same attention.
So who, or what, drives the agenda?
Is it a fixed or ever changing group of people?
Does Agenda Setting strategy depend on the situation?
The following quote is from the wikipedia entry on Agenda Setting
Although this topic would be interesting on any occasion, the current corona virus helps shine light on the workings of agenda setting.
It is much clearer to see the government’s messaging strategy as it is currently so prominent.
This means it is possible to speculate on the government’s objectives and definitively observe its methods.
Below is the oft repeated UK government slogan. It is Orwellian in its gaslighting.
If you have Covid19 you are encouraged to stay at home.
If you don’t have it, you are encouraged to stay at home.
So if you need help, you are encouraged to die quietly at home.
So the Covid19 story in the UK is one of propaganda and accounting.
Few people are being tested so nobody knows who has it and who doesn’t.
This means the disease can spread easily without anyone knowing where the hotspots are.
The technology for tracing is being rolled out late and is instead being used for general surveillance purposes.
The following Guardian article uses the word de-anonymisation to describe ministers taking data about the whole population and using it to target individuals, as you would expect in a full on police state:
This is just one example of the agenda. In France and at EU level the tracing conversation has already started. People know it means surveillance but they are forced to accept it along with all the other government imposed lockdown measures.
The population has trouble fighting draconian government measures at the best of times. But during an unprecedented global reaction to a post-war pandemic it is particularly hard to organise when you’re not even allowed to meet.
The yellow vests in France gathered to oppose Macron every weekend for over a year but have stopped thanks to Macron’s lockdown.
And in the UK all we have been treated to by the corporate backed media has been coverage of Boris Johnson supposedly contracting a severe case of corona virus which necessitated that he self isolate and eventually go to intensive care.
The same agenda setting techniques that were at play during the Brexit campaign are being redeployed during the corona virus.
The aim is not to defeat the virus.
It is to make sure the Conservative government cling to power and deflect all scrutiny away from them and onto anyone else such as the public, health care professionals, public commentators, regulators, suppliers, large corporations and even the opposition.
The following quote by Peter Pomerantsev is taken from the wikipedia entry on Vladmir Surkov, Vladimir Putin’s long standing head of communications.
It is hard not to see similarities with the way modern Britain is run. More effort is made here to convince the public that the government does not interfere with independent regulators, that there are checks and balances in place to protect the public.
But when something is important, then it’s political, and you simply can’t argue with the decision because no-one will hear you out or give you a platform.
Britain is a brilliant place to be rich and powerful. Otherwise you must do what you can to survive.
Vladimir Surkov — José Mourinho or Mr Bean?