Group Think - Modern Media & The Decline of Democracy
toby last edited by toby
I was reading an interesting opinion piece, What I Learned About Media Rage After Getting Fired From Fox
The bits below hit the nail on the head:
As a journalist, I believe that what is wrong with my vocation and the industry in which I work is harming Americans left, right and center. Major players in the news business are abusing their privileges and shirking their duties, and we all pay the price. The agenda at many outlets is to move away from even aspirational fairness and balance and toward shared anger and the powerful emotional connections it can create.
Unable to sell large, diverse audiences to advertisers, news outlets increasingly focus on developing highly habituated users. To cultivate the kind of intense readers, viewers or listeners necessary to make the addiction model profitable, media companies need consumers to have strong feelings. Fear, resentment and anger work wonders. It helps news outlets create deep emotional connections to users not just as users of a product, but as members of the same tribe.
Reporters increasingly disdain the old virtues of fairness and balance as “bothsidesism,” reimagining the ancient vice of bias as something honorable. Opinion pages become more homogeneous. Story selections become more predictable. Most ominously, post-journalism produces stifling groupthink inside news organizations and serious consequences for journalists who dissent.
What we think of as “bad news” can score like gangbusters if it is scary and anger-inducing. But news that is bad for your audience’s ideological in-groups is clickbait kryptonite. In such a competitive marketplace, riling people up against the other side isn’t enough. You’ve also got to create a safe space for consumers to plop down and contentedly contemplate ads for beet-based nutrient powders, reverse mortgages and copper underpants. If you challenge their assumptions or suggest that their avatars in the culture war are wrong or losing, they may leave for competitors who offer more complete protection from harsh realities.
Which I guess are excerpted from the author's book:
What are we, as a freedom loving society, going to do to ensure our democracy remains thusly? What can we actually do given the cold facts at hand?