MEDIA: I Prefer to be Informed, Not Terrorized
The post-truth era of politics has contributed to the rapid mutation of our media. I’ve been frustrated with Internet journalism for years, wishing I could just read rational, actionable information rather than be terrorized by the irrational clickbait of bloggers posing as journalist.
After the election, this topic is finally being tackled. And instead of complaining about how much I can’t stand a post about this or that topic, I am forced to think about how I get information. I used to follow two liberal sites, but due to the nature of Internet revenue models, their informed posts about this or that turned into useless clickbait.
The first thing I decided was to stop getting my news from Facebook. Most people agree on that. The next thing to do was look for media outlets that I can stand to read. I don’t want a headline that says “This person is going to do these terrible things” and then the attached article just speculates what a certain asshole might do because of things that asshole did in the past.
I want a headline that actually represents the content, and I want content that provides facts, maybe a few insights, and also actionable information. So if a headline says “This person is going to do these terrible things” it’d be great if the content said, “According to this reliable source of information, this person has done these specific things in order to stop this group of people from having access to these important things. And if you don’t want this to happen, here is what you can do as a citizen to intervene.”
I haven’t found it yet, but I am finding pieces. The first great outlet I came across is Reddit’s SavedYouAClick. People post clickbait headlines followed by the actual information. The juxtaposition of the two is often hilarious and shines an embarrassing light on the current state of our media (Could Daniel Radcliffe be the new owner of 4 Privet Drive? | No. He’s not). The other media source I’ve found is Reuters. Their headlines are wonderfully dull and the content awesomely dry. I love it. Straight up information with sources. Some of the articles are very short since it is just information.
The third media outlet is LastWeekTonight with John Oliver. I’ve been watching this show for a while and I love it. Yes, it is very liberal and relies a bit on irrational emotion for the sake of comedy, but they do so much research and real investigation. And the most important quality is that the show very often tells audience members how they can act to oppose legislation or government actions they don’t agree with.
Internet media and clickbait won’t fundamentally change until ad revenue models change, but luckily people are working on that. I’m still looking for more outlets in the mean time, and I will post them here as I find them. I welcome other people’s recommendations as well.