The Media Is Playing You
Not me. I know the deal. Sound like you? There’s no way the media manipulators behind these engaging news shows, clickable websites, glossy magazines and gripping newspapers are fooling you right?
Maybe you’re right and maybe that’s just what they want you to believe.
I can’t say whether the media you consume is disinformation, bias, slanted or just serving a market, but I can tell you this:
If I wanted, I could produce videos every day that only covered:
· Police doing heroic things
· A homeowner defending themselves from an intruder
· A diverse community working together
· Young nerdy types who love books not guns
· Professional athletes who don’t hit their girlfriends or spouses
· Corporations giving back to the world in incredibly positive ways
And with the same amount of effort I could produce videos that told a different story:
· Police doing questionable policing, even committing brutality against citizens
· People killed and murdered unnecessarily, and sometimes maliciously with guns
· Communities full of tension and fear due to crime
· Young thugs committing crimes
· Professional athletes engaged in domestic abuse and other unsavory activity
· Corporations squashing the little guy and gouging the communities they serve
My ability to produce video content covering each of these topics requires roughly the same amount of investment of time and resources. The difference is which group of stories would you rather watch and which group of stories causes a visceral reaction begging you to share it with friends, family, co-workers, social media accounts, emails etc…?
Are you with me? Check it, in 2012 the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professors Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman found in their study, “What Makes Online Content Viral?” happy stories tend to go viral more often, but people over index in sharing content that makes them mad or anxious.
I have a video where a dad punishes his son by forcing him to take a sledgehammer to his own Xbox. I gave my commentary and included this anxious footage. At the time of this article that video has 2,165,011 views. My upbeat video of “Same Sex Marriage Ruled Legal in All 50 States” couldn’t even eek out 4,000 views and I have 48,000 subscribers!
Hey, I’m not letting media off the hook. Content creators have an obligation to their audience to provide content in an honest manner depicting their subject’s objectively and counterbalancing blah blah blah. Look, when was the last time you slowed down in traffic to see a woman picking flowers on the side of the road? April 28th 1989, you were 18. You couldn’t tell who it was bending over in the distance, but she was wearing biker shorts. When she looked up you could see it was your best friends mother. You sped off hoping she didn’t see you right? Okay, now when was the last time you slowed down to see an accident on the side of the road with that look on your face like,
“Oh my gawd, I know this has to be bad, it better be after causing all this traffic”
When was that? Today! I thought so!
Face it. The media may be fooling us, but we’re the ones doing the slowing down and as long as we slow down there will always be another wreck covered.