The so-called “news” (ha ha ha ha ha) media are bad for your health. They’re bad for your personal health. They’re bad for the health of society. They’re just plain bad. I think at this point we all know it. We all know that the pompous claims about being watchdogs for democracy, the Fourth Estate, speakers of truth to power (oh, spare me!) have long since been crushed under the wheels of “Jessica Biel Goes Shopping in Auckland” etc.
Sure, I’ll admit there are teeny tiny corners of what we call the mainstream media (MSM) that still do some of that stuff. But they’re teeny and they’re tiny. And if MSM ever did more good than harm (I don’t believe much in halcyon days), that time has long since disappeared. Simply put: Whatever good the media might do or stand for is surpassed in great measure by the damage and destruction it wreaks. It doesn’t speak truth to power, instead it narrows our view of humanity and the world; it reinforces envy (wealth, beauty things) and stereotypes (where to start on this one? Read through some of this. OK, that was mean. That was click bait, i.e. mysterious link. The link is to the Treaty Resource Centre’s ‘Media and Māori’ section), it tries to tell us how we should think, what we should consider important, it plays down or avoids altogether so much that is significant while filling our lives with the most stomach turning trivia… (I should stop now) I think deep in our hearts, we all know it. We listen to them when they bang on about freedom of the press, and figure, well, we don’t want to live in a totalitarian society. OK, so the media suck, but it’s better than being stuck with Pravda. And we go along with it. We accept their inflated view of their own importance and, off we go, falling for the click bait. Feeling the blood pressure rise. Then becoming overwhelmed with the inevitable regret that we clicked in the first place.
You know what it’s like, that feeling that you’re helping a drug dealer sell more meth, or P, or whatever it might be. The realisation that you’re reinforcing the use of such cheap, smelly, stinky bait. That you are what lies behind all those media people who, when challenged say, “but we’re giving people what they want to read”. All because you just had to click. C’mon people. Take control of your own digits!!
Back in the pre-internet days, newspaper headlines were generally aimed at telling you as much as possible in the fewest words. The editors and subs couldn’t track how many eyes continued down the page, or turned to the next instead. Now, though, they can. And this is where it’s left us: (a) knowing the media is destructive and (b) knowing we’re propping it up. Which is why I think we must give it up. I know, it’s not easy. And you need to take this in steps. Steps I’ll be incoherently outlining in a series of posts. (If you want the whole series, of which this is the first, click here.) Here are a few points for starters.