Media bias?

The media’s bucket is already overfull with blame for civilization’s malaise and I don’t wish to add to it, but merely to suggest that the source of the sickness is to be found in the patient herself. America says that she wishes to cure the problems of our national discourse by addressing media bias and hysteria, but America is really the drunk who can’t keep stop chugging the beer bong.

The deconstructivist critique of the media makes a legitimate point to add to the discussion: news/infotainment has the volume permanently dialed up to eleven in a cacophony of hysteria and fear. The professional hyperfocus on even the most pedestrian tragedies lasts far beyond the viewership’s attention span, but fortunately there are frequent breaks in the action that can be filled with happy tidings about helpful products that will solve your early-60’s boner issues, or keep your spine from turning into an osteoperotic goo after a lifetime of malnourishment from Weight Watchers and Mickey D’s. Consume consume consume!

This is the opinion offered from the depths of Marxist academia. But as is typical of the reality-challenged intelligentsia, an interesting if ugly insight is subsumed by the stupid, counterproductive, and very human desire to mold that truth to fit their world view. In the end, for them it always seems to boil down to men in smoky rooms greedily oppressing the Good in the naked pursuit of profits. When the truth is a complicated and unresolvable mess people will invariably discard the truth in favor of a pleasing and well-crafted fiction, intellectual or no.

Conspiracy theories are often convenient fictional answers that people will grasp on to in hopes of avoiding the chaos of uncertainty. In the case of the media, I think there is actually very little conspiring going on (unless one considers marketing to be conspiratorial). If the news is sensationalist and fear-mongering, that is because the viewership wants to be massaged with titillating dangers. The media that America gets is the media that America wants.

The complaints against our shallow and hysterical media are actually against the free flow of ideas. Today’s myopic consumerist media is possibly the perfect representation of mankind’s baser hopes and imaginations; perhaps it is more descriptive of the human condition than all of the high art ever produced. The herd runs around and around in circles, unaware of its own lack of direction and titillated by the rush.


goooooood girl said...
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il Tucc said...

Excellent! But, I'm not sure this is exactly right, so I’ll quibble. I posit that a large part of the media bias is a result of geography — that the epicenters for the large media outlets are congruent with the left-leaning areas of the country. Naturally, the large broadcasters and news publishers are going to locate near where the political events happen. Being immersed in that culture (east-coast lefty elitism) forms and strengthens the left-of-center bias. If the news were happening in Omaha, over time, those immersed in that culture would have a right-ward drift.

As far as Americans getting the Media they want, you’re probably right. Those that don’t want the lefty bias (nor the sensationalism) tune it out leaving those who do want it (or don’t care or don’t notice) to continue supporting it (by buy the products of advertisers and sponsors). Obviously, there are enough people who don’t tune out to support the industry with its bias as is (and that support is lucratively too). But the congruence of geography with the left-leaning culture is more of an explanation than “conspiracy theories.” (Have you really heard people complaining that media bias is due to conspiring? I have not and I know a lot of people who complain about the media bias.)

CounterClckWise said...

Your quibble makes sense as far as politics goes, but I was thinking more of the bias towards shock and awe. Sorry that wasn't more clear.