By James Tracy
With few exceptions, the news that will shape public discourse is subject to a de facto censorial process of powerful government and corporate elites beyond accountability to the public. It is here that Sigmund Freud’s notion of repression is especially helpful for assessing the decrepit state of media and public discourse in the United States. In Freud’s view, one’s collective life experiences are registered in the subconscious, with those particularly disturbing or socially impermissible experiences being involuntarily suppressed, only later to emerge as neuroses. Whereas suppression is conscious and voluntary, repression takes place apart from individual volition.
With opinion polls indicating at least half of the public distrusting the official account of September 11th, the foremost basis for the “war on terror”, no public event has been more repressed in public consciousness via the mass media than 9/11. The enduring usefulness of Freud’s theory is suggested in repeated manifestations of the repressed episode to haunt the public mind for which a surrogate reality has been crafted.