Thiel Capitals Eric Weinstein has come up with a model to explain the way the media crafts political narratives by linking support or opposition to its preferred policies to morality.
Its kind of complicated, but its incredibly valuable and insightful. Ill try to explain as much of it as I can in my own words, but well quote from a piece by Shane Mottishaw at The Knife Media (which also appeared here on Medium) laying it all out:
In broad terms, the model is a tool for illustrating how the media stigmatizes certain nuanced views that challenge the status quo by portraying people who hold those views as prejudiced or intolerant.
The foundation of the Four Quadrant model is that there are two axes, X and Y, and they represent support for a given policy initiative, and moral virtue, respectively. The media routinely attempts to conflate the former with the latterin other words, if you dont support [given policy favored by the media], then you are a bad person. It is how the media denies the existence of any good faith debate.
Lets use affirmative action as an example. The medias objective is to put themselves into the upper right corner and you, who oppose affirmative action, in the lower left corner. By the waythis has nothing to do with the traditional left-right political spectrum.
The media equates support for affirmative action with moral virtue (upper-right), and opposition to affirmative action with moral repugnance (lower-left). So if you say, I oppose affirmative action, then the media allows for only one possible explanation: you are evil.
Nuanced arguments and points of view are unwelcome. The media is interested in painting in broad strokes and spinning simple narratives of Good vs. Evil. So you cant object, Just because Im against affirmative action does not make me a bad person!
Sorry, not an option, buckaroo!
The objective is to distort and mischaracterize your views and get you frustrated. The media would like you to lash out in anger, that way they can portray you as unhinged and ferocious. Because then that further underscores their original contention: that you are a bad person.
Each of the four quadrants in the model have names. Going counter-clockwise from top-right:
Doesnt this already feel like a revelation? Dont you already feel as if you have a far greater understanding of the political landscape?
The Four Quadrant model is incredibly valuable.
Basically, the medias game revolves around deception and mischaracterization.
Heres Weinstein elaborating on it:
The Four Quadrant Model of media narrative control has been the crown jewel in the toolbox Ive personally used for unspinning the central Gated Institutional Narrative (or GIN) for years, but it was somehow too complicated to give to others until the Cathy Newman/Jordan Peterson and Ben Affleck/Sam Harris interactions resulted in a mass awakening, Weinstein said in an interview.
He refers to the Jordan Peterson/Cathy Newman interview, in which the model was on full display. Newman, the dishonest leftist Journalist, repeatedly tried to portray Peterson as a troglodyte, and Peterson had to keep pushing back against her mischaracterization. Peterson would say something like The gender pay gap exists because men and women are biologically different. And then Newman would try to put words in his mouth: So youre saying women are inferior and should simply be paid less, period.
Newmans position was: the only way out is total submission to my feminist agenda. She had her preferred policies in mindequal pay laws, further government intervention in the marketplace, whateverand had already long since decided that there would be no honest disagreement.
Back to Weinstein:
Once the pattern is seen, however, it cannot be unseen, and realizing that you have been repeatedly controlled by a single trick tying your virtue to a thwarting of your own interests, is what is likely causing the model to spread more rapidly now, he said.
Tying your virtue to a thwarting of your own interests. By this Weinstein is talking about your objective political interestsi.e. good policies. The media has effectively made people choose between supporting objectively good policies or being seen as a good person.
Which is a horribly evil thing to do.
But, then again, what would I know? Im just a nasty troglodyte.
When people realize how they can oppose misstructured free trade without being protectionist, totalitarian Islam without being anti-Muslim, or oppose mass-immigration without being in any way xenophobic, the news media will no longer be able to play the role of Iago, playing its audience like unwitting pawns against each other in a deadly game of political chess for the quiet financial interests of a powerful few.
The Knife article has plenty of other examples demonstrating the Four Quadrant model.
One is from 2014, when Sam Harris went on Bill Mahers show alongside Ben Affleck. Harris is very critical of Islam, and small-minded Ben Affleck was unable to comprehend that Harris could criticize Islam without being Islamophobic or bigoted.
The examples go on and on.
The common thread running through them, however, is that, If you do not agree with me, you are a racist/sexist/Islamophobe etc.