It’s worth delving deeper into this notion of Media as an industry supported by paid advertising. The point here is that while advertising is a proven means of influencing and driving future consumer behaviors we are ignoring the effects of repetitive and inflammatory news stories on all human behaviors. The irony is that news program producers have to put stories out there that will grab attention and drive their ratings so that they can charge more for advertising.
When news media outlets choose to run a story (murder, theft, vandalism, rioting, mass shootings) they are in effect advertising this event or human behavior to the masses and unwittingly influencing future behaviors and causing, in no small part, these behaviors to repeat themselves on a larger scale multiplied by their audiences who are tuning in. When you bring this up to people in the media, they get uncomfortable and either deny while asking for evidence or tippy toe around it like it is some taboo, problematic topic. You can’t deny the negative effects of the “media stronghold” on society. We can’t have it both ways. They can’t just say that we affect consumer behavior but not public behavior. Nor can they say that it is not all advertising when common sense dictates otherwise.
What am I missing? Perhaps the problem is this thing we call freedom of the press or freedom of speech, but all freedoms have limits. We have freedom of speech yet there are certain things you cannot say in a public format. You cannot advertise cigarettes on TV as well as multiple other media. I am sure that this is where it gets complicated, but we still have to look at this with our eyes open and right now, I do not believe we are doing so.
My hope is that the internet will continue to change things as the power shifts back to the viewer. We will only view those media stories that we want to see to the extent that we need to be informed instead of Media Program Directors making that decision for us. This may cut the legs out from under the whole problem. Yes, the internet changes everything and sometimes, for the better. This would be one of those times.