One of the things that annoys me most is hearing people bitch about “The Media.” It seems to be the most buzz worthy thing to bitch about. Your favorite politician down in the polls? Blame the media. People don’t share your political views? Blame the media. Donald Trump about to take over your country? Blame the media.
That’s not to say that the media is picture perfect and there’s nothing wrong with it, but getting mad at news outlets for sensationalizing trivial events and promoting popular topics is kind of like getting mad at a fish for swimming. It’s just how news works. It’s what made William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch millionaires. Get used to it.
There’s a reason they say “if it bleeds it lead.” Let’s face it, it’s interesting when people die. The media is not in the business of telling us what we need to know, it’s in the business of telling us what we want to know. If you’d like to change this start clicking on news stories about local elections and charities instead of plane crashes and the Kardashians.
I think many people get confused and forget that media is a business. These outlets exist in order to make money. The news isn’t an art form. It’s not some altruistic endeavor to educate the population as to what’s happening in the world and inform them of basic facts. The news is a product, like computer chips and tampons. The news is all these things and more available for only $19.95*
Sure, there are problems with the media. Most news outlet are owned by very few companies, but that sort of concentration of power occurs in nearly every area of American society and no one seems to care.
Also, many news outlets are extremely biased. This isn’t much of a problem as it’s usually pretty obvious. I recommend checking out several venues to get a full picture. I usually read stuff from Fox News and CNN just so I can see how both sides are spinning a story. I also like to check out news from other countries like Canada’s National Post, Germany’s Der Spiegel and Israel’s Haaretz. And with Twitter allowing me to follow feeds from all of these sources it isn’t difficult to get a well rounded picture.
And remember: Opinions are not facts. No respectable media outlet lies. They just twist facts enough to support their outlooks. You do it too. You’re doing it right now while you’re agreeing/disagreeing with me. It’s impossible for journalists to be completely unbiased as they are also human beings with opinions of their own.
Now go back to bitching about the weather.
*I stole this from The Dead Milkmen who said the same thing about Blues music on “The Blues Song” from 1995’s Stoney’s Extra Stout (Pig).