Broad political discourse

Major problems that are not improved for a decade or more are often exacerbated by substantial misunderstanding on the part of the vast majority of the public. But how can the public understanding of an issue be improved – especially when the mainstream media restrict coverage to a range of options that is often excessively narrow? Dan Hind noted,[1]

If the laboring multitudes depended on a particular business to furnish them with their thoughts, then those who controlled the production of opinion could control the state. ... [T]he marketplace of ideas favored the wealthy and was subject to manipulation by powerful interests.

Herman and Chomsky insist that a major function of the major media conglomerates is to "manufacture consent" among the public for policies favored by the elites.[2]

This "Broad political discourse" initiative hopes to attack this problem by attempting to crowdsource discussions of the range of perspectives. In some cases, it may be convenient to divide the range of options into two groups: "Liberal" vs. "Conservative" or "Left" vs. "Right" or "Heterodox" vs. "Orthodox". This could be arranged in a table with two columns separated by a third column outlining "research needed" to help resolve which description seems more consistent with reality and / or which alternative policy seems more likely to be more beneficial for the vast majority of people. Different rows of the table could represent different aspects of the issue or alternative research approached to improving human understanding of the issues.

One example is contained in the discussion of Blowback, leaks, and U.S. national security. The first row of the "Hetero-Ortho" table there calls for reviewing the history of secrecy in the U.S. government focusing on whether the bottom 99% of the public in the U.S. and internationally is better off today because of information kept secret in the past. The second row calls for more research on political corruption and its relation to secrecy and democracy.

Heterdox - Research - Orthodox tableEdit

heterodox research needed orthodox
Describe in the left-hand column perspective(s) with a reasonable claim to viability but rarely heard in the "responsible" media Outline research that might help clarify the consequences of alternative orthodox and heterodox policies Summarize in the right-hand column perspective(s) commonly heard discussed.


  1. Hind, Dan (2010). The Return of the Public. Verso. p. 42. ISBN 1844675947. 
  2. Herman, Edward S.; Chomsky, Noam (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Pantheon. ISBN 0394549260.