Back in 2004, American talk radio host Rush Limbaugh coined the phrase “the drive by media” to describe and compare some elements of the mainstream media, with that of a casual, “drive by“ gang that fires random gun shots at no specific target in no specific neighbourhood before moving on to the next target.
The phrase encapsulates and drives a media agenda fuelled, turbocharged and driven by scandal and sensation without context, perspective or explanation.
To continue the analogy in a very literal sense, it’s more about taking “pot-shots” and developing the proverbial “shock, horror, bombshell” headline in search of a story.
In the digital age we might think of such stories as tabloid click bait designed to simply trigger a reaction (more gun references) to get you to turn the page rather that convey anything meaningful or of any great substance or depth.
In the age of Trump and the Trump detractors, the “drive by” description could be applied more broadly to the drive-by experts with their drive-by opinions.
Closer to home they may have, at sometime in their lives, driven down the New England Highway and not bothered to stop, get out of the car and talk to the locals about coal, agriculture or the local economy but by the simple act of having driven by (or through), they think gives them licence and agency as instant experts.
At this time of year but in a harmless context that doesn’t really matter and is of no great moment, it could be a football Grand Final or the Melbourne Cup. Everyone’s an expert.
Many vent forth on Trump for example but when pushed, betray the fact that they have no idea what they’re talking about and can’t tell you any specifics.
They’ve read nothing in depth themselves apart from the odd story or opinion piece from within their own media bubble and are just parroting the latest progressive storyline or talking point.
It’s all about the way they feel. They’re driven by emotion and feelings as exhibited by the rage phenomenon of the irrational, Trump Derangement Syndrome. Detail, facts, evidence and truth don’t matter and have no bearing on their behaviour, thinking or decision making.
As an aside, it’s worth remembering in this upside down, topsy turvy, postmodern world, it was only in 2016 that the word or phrase “post truth” was the Oxford Dictionary, word of the year with post truth being described as “the disappearance of shared objective standards for truth”.
In other words, right or wrong, truth, fact, evidence and enlightenment are not as important as how they feel about something. Your feelings and emotions then become, “your truth” and to hell with reality.
Watch out for them. The “drive-by experts” with their “drive-by opinions”.
Something to think about…