Fallen on tough economic times, morals easily take a backseat
Different from (and besides) spreading lies, more and more news seems written to anger and sadden readers. Drama sells, also when baseless. This way, the media play a prime role in raising aggression, erasing tolerance, dividing the population, and destroying unity. Anti-democrats just need to proclaim something outrageous, and reporters are already all over them.
The print media follow their US-inspired audio and video colleagues using their own distortion and manipulation tricks for decades already. They do not anger as much, but they scare their listeners and viewers by speaking as if struck by terror, trying to make us worried, frantic, and fixated. E. g. scares that are over already, but still republished as if ongoing. Or, when there is alarming and reassuring news, only to publish the former.
Another vile side effect of stoking fears is that many, overwhelmed, bury their heads in the sand and likely risks (climate change) get drowned out.
It’s always hard to distill facts and truth from the news, subtract the bias, manipulation, and lies, and neutralize toxic emotions like nationalism and competition. Now, we also must filter out false, negative emotions.
This is on top of the inability of most media to systematically, successfully deal with liars and con artists trying to make the news. And then we have media bosses distorting and twisting honest reports into fabricated ‘news.’
Scientists and entrepreneurs looking for cash and honor are presented by journalists without background knowledge asking no critical questions.
Especially distrust any news outlet boasting to tell you the truth.
One of the worst distortions may be by omission. Truth can become lies when historical background and overriding principles are missing, like who are the powerless, and who are the spoiled grouching about discomfort? Any report that reaffirms prejudices is toxic and could do better.
Today, honest consumers of the news and activists in urgent need of the facts spend so much more time and brain power to decipher what the real news is and watch out for so many more pitfalls in the media landscape.
If you’re generous, you could say news outlets try offering entertainment describing a range of scenarios that may happen the next day—texts that tomorrow will be obsolete. Read the news a day late, and you save time.
But it becomes unequivocally stealing our time when they clickbait us, or purposely ‘refresh’ pages and keep us waiting to fictively ‘raise’ visitors’ numbers and reading time and so, the amounts they charge advertisers.
Violent crime is milked ad nauseum. First, ‘Breaking!’ ‘A developing story.’ Then the police, bystanders, family, human rights organizations. Then the court case, plea, trial, conviction, penalty, analysis, and commemoration.
Special shame on outlets that omit the sources they steal news from.
We lose when we unthinkingly and always use just one news source and are naive. Liars are everywhere, and we have gotten brains for a reason.
To defund bad news, just enough people must refuse to follow it.