About 5 years ago, while teaching at Green River College, I polled journalism students about where they get their news. Facebook was number one, handily beating all other media.
And, since algorithms rule, any newspaper or TV show that wants subscribers or viewers must provide free samples at the altar of Zuck.
Which means even if you are The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, you are dumbing it down to compete for clicks.
I don’t watch much news these days. It’s not healthy. TV is the worst. I read a few papers, I subscribe and therefore see all of the content, not just clickbait teaser stories. Still, it’s mostly junk food.
And it can be enlightening to take a break for days at a time. The circus doesn’t miss me, and I don’t miss it either.
Seems a bit easier to understand the world when I just think about the different types of people I actually know. They are my representative sample of humanity. Each personality is like a character in a movie, except that movie is real. They can love, support, be kind, encourage, teach. I also know some that can lie, cheat, steal, and hurt others emotionally and physically. It’s just like reality TV, only I can interact and make a difference. I can also usually choose who is in my life, and who is not.
Lately it’s occurred to me that there’s all the drama and opportunity I need in the actual world I live in.
Can we agree that most media today is commentary, written to be entertaining to a large audience? The size of the audience is how most media measures what’s good. What’s good. Hmmm.
What does the word “good” mean, anyway?
Most of us believe we are good people. But isn’t good an abstract concept?
If you are a drug manufacturer, selling a ton of OxyContin and making billions of dollars means you did good. If you work in an emergency room, pumping the stomach of an overdose victim to save her life means you did good. If you are an addict, you took the drug because it made you feel good. At first.
Good sounds a lot like an opinion, not a fact.
If I’m a shopper at Target, getting a good price on a pair of jeans that was made by slave labor overseas means I did good. Speaking of which…the Apple worker in China who assembled this iPad I’m typing on, likely made about $1.85 an hour working 10 hours a day 6 days a week to build it. It’s a really good product, making billions of dollars for Apple.
Would you wish that job on any human being you love?
Next topic: You can find joyful and educational media experiences, if you know how and where to look.
PS. Yes we’re going to record some Bob Spike and Joe reunion shows. For more info, stay tuned.
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Radio Host from age 14 to Present. Currently blogging, planning to launch a new radio show later this year.
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