THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS PRO WRASSLIN’
The business model followed by professional wrestling is almost exactly analogous to the one employed by the mainstream media. Wrestling is fake, the media is fake, but they’re both real to me dammit! Entertainment is the name of the game, and the bottom line is dollar signs. Obviously. Follow the money, find the answer.
Pro Wrasslin’, as a business, can be summed up simply. There are baby faces and heels, aka heroes and villains, cowboys and Indians, good guys and bad guys. A good baby face is loved by all, the people’s champ. The proper heel is the opposite, provocative for provocations sake, and diametrically opposed at every level to the baby face. Think devil’s advocate.
Again, it’s a dollar signed bottom line. Baby faces and heels hold equal value because they both ensure success to the company. The worst opinion a crowd can hold on a wrestler, no matter which side they play for, is to have no opinion or emotional feeling toward the wrestler. Love me or hate me, but for the love of God don’t be neutral. This is why the individual reigns supreme, not everyone can mesmerize the masses. So they ‘put you on’, slang for giving you a platform and opportunity to perform. If you are fortunate enough to be put on, your job is to ‘get over’ with the audience. Make them love you, or make them hate you. The harder they fall, one way or the other, the better.
Enter the mainstream media. News corporations pick a color, red or blue. That’s their baby face, with the opposite cast as heel. Then they choose their favorite potential superstars to put on, and the game is underway. Heels are worked in on a rotational basis to oppose predetermined talking points and bolster the heroes, with those drawing the most ire rewarded with recurring spots. If the crowd’s seething anger truly and deeply turns against a heel, they’ve made the big time. They are now a regular guest on an established baby face superstar’s show, someone like Tucker Carlson or Anderson Cooper.
There are also ‘turns’, used strategically to increase ratings. The turn, in professional wrestling, is when a heel or baby face attempts to turn the crowd’s perception of them 180 degrees. In terms of the media, it’s more likely a baby face turns heel when they’re about to lose their position, the “you’re fired” moment being the highest moment of drama in the program. This draws a final rush of attention and serves as a backdrop to “put on” their predecessor.
In the end, the mainstream media is almost nostalgically familiar to fans of professional wrasslin’. As such, fans of both programs will forever cling to their narrative based realities. Count me as one such fan. Long live the spectacle.