Monday, January 30, 2023

Top 5 Ways Mainstream Media Pull The Wool Over Our Eyes

5.  Data mining and algorithms give us highly customized content … which is why a lot of us believe that we are quite knowledgeable about certain topics, even though we are almost exclusively exposed to material that reinforces narrow-minded bias. Our myopic viewpoints then set us up perfectly to engage in destructive communication.

 

4.  24-hour news cycle – there simply are not enough amazing stories happening every day, so media outlets that produce a lot of content daily are under great pressure to find shocking material to keep you coming back to support their advertisers. That pressure is inversely correlated with journalistic integrity.

 

3.  Quoting experts – the wonders of the Internet bring journalists the opportunity to within a couple of Google searches find an expert who will lend his/her expertise to “prove” any theory we might come up with.

 

2.  Cherry picking of data – media companies (other than BIG Media) rarely work with qualified data scientists, and even when they do, data is still almost never presented in a way that fosters education over sensationalism. The standard method of operation is to pull one or two morsels of data from a dataset and try to shock the heck out of people.

 

1.  Context/schmontext – the large media companies count on our society’s unhealthy fixation on scandal (I will leave the chicken/egg discussion for another day), and feed us non-stop drama. The last thing they want is for us to be educated enough to calm down and focus on silly activities such as going for hikes, and spending time with friends and family … when we should be glued to our phones, laptops, and TVs.

Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll is co-founder and president of BIG Media Ltd. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is deeply committed to elevating the level of coverage of our society's most pressing matters as well as the level of respect in public discourse.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great points Rob. Would you also consider that media is selectively promoting certain environmental mindsets and using their market influence by banning, hiding and in some cases outright disparaging certain stories, themes and viewpoints to “protect” the reader.
    I thought as reasonably competent and thoughful adults, we should be able to review the news with some degree of trust, but once I started to find a lot of news would end up with the final paragraph of whatever the story was being linked to anthropogenic climate change, I became very skeptical. And similar to your party message, when someone in a group mentions some of the current propaganda, and I challenge the ideas behind their thought process, I get the “look” from my wife.
    Enjoy all the articles and the great contributions by Laurie Weston and your other many insightful contributors.

    • Thanks David. As I mentioned in a podcast in which I was interviewed, intelligent people must be OK with getting kicked out of cocktail parties – https://rss.com/podcasts/thepragmatics/600824/. I don’t put myself anywhere near the intelligence level of my fellow writers, but I have always been able to see through the sensationalized garbage consistently presented by mainstream media. See below for what should be a humour piece but is actually presented as serious news – what should be good news about growing atolls is twisted into fear-mongering, alarmist trash – https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/06/asia/pacific-islands-growing-intl-dst-hnk/index.html

      Intelligent, respectful people used to just smile and nod when the ill-informed would speak about climate change in social settings. Now, we can see that our very lifestyles are at risk with the inmates running the asylum. I used to smile and nod; now, I engage in a LOT of awkward conversations.

      But we must always be wary of the “look” from the wife 🙂

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