I need you to clear your thoughts. Remove all distractions, torments and dreams. Free your mind and abandon everything that you have ever learned or assumed to be true. For the next thousand words or so you are a clean slate. You have no beginning; nor end. You are an infinite entity uninhibited by prejudice and fear. It’s difficult isn’t? It’s hard to remove all the subjectivity and partisanship that we have allowed into our lives. But this little experiment will be worth the effort. Trust me. I’m a writer.
I want you to think about the evening news. Close your eyes if you have to. Imagine the reporters and journalists on your television screen. They are immaculately dressed in the finest of clothing as they sit at their desks or report live from the field. They look fantastic. Enviable even. One must feel so accomplished standing in a beautiful dress or designer labeled suit as they deliver the current affairs.
But looks can be deceiving. When you turn your attention away from their image and the branding presented to you; when you focus instead on what they are saying, are you still impressed with what you now hear? Death, destruction, and sacrifice reign supreme. A man has murdered his wife. Another has shot five people dead in a robbery attempt. Millions are starving. Wars are tearing the humanity from the clutches of nations. Another child has become radicalized. Every heinous report is accompanied by depictions of broken windows, police units and fractured lives splashed across the screen in a macabre slideshow.
Ruin and woe are threaded so effortlessly through each story that you have become desensitized. The damaged lives and senseless murders of others have been reduced to nothing but sound bites and footnotes that barely even pierce the veil of your subconscious. You have probably never noticed how repulsive the evening news is. Until now.
Every day the media tells us to trust no one and fear everything. Ruin and woe make the world go round. Or so we’re told. But are things really as horrible as we have been led to believe? Is the man whose religion differs from yours actually plotting your demise? Are governments truly lying to us about everything? Is every man, woman and corporation really your enemy?
…The short answer is no. The guy who lives next door and practices alternative beliefs doesn’t give a shit about you. He’s too busy trying to live his own life. The shear logistics required for a government to deceive its people make it nigh on impossible for them to cultivate devious conspiracies against us on a daily basis. And no one actively wants to hate you.
We’ve merely been misled and misinformed in the media’s quest to win our attention. Outlets like current affairs programs, tabloids, and circulars are businesses. As a business their primary objective is to accrue viewers. More viewers equal more money, and big business learned long ago that the human brain is attracted to two things: violence and obscenity.
The world seems to be becoming increasingly grim because the media started exposing the general public to violence, obscenity and disorder through events like the Vietnam War with the intent of providing a genuine insight into the perils of a conflict on foreign shores. But their pure intentions became distorted when marketing began capitalizing on society’s interest in the darker side of human nature. Nowadays media organizations are competing for viewers by continuously pushing one another to feature increasingly graphic and repulsive imagery, and we the viewer have become so bombarded with grotesque content that we have stopped seeing beauty in the world.
Before we go any further I feel like we need to take a quick break so that I can issue a disclaimer… I am a writer first and foremost. I’m not a scholar or leading expert in the media industry. My thoughts that are being presented here should by no means be taken as gospel. If you don’t like my opinions, or don’t agree with them, that’s fine by me.
Alright, let the controversy begin.
The media has undergone a metamorphosis. What was once a medium designed to communicate messages of interest and entertainment has now become a rabid beast hungry for consumer attention. While it is fair to say that we have become desensitized to violence, we have also created a world in which we form judgment and beliefs based off of targeted stories and biased opinion. We believe that the Muslim man who lives down the street is an extremist because we are told to mistrust. We believe that foreign parties are radicalizing children because we are exposing them to adult concepts long before they have the mental capacity to develop rational thoughts and understand their own emotional and chromosomal makeup. And we believe that it is our right to question everything, but we are being led to ask the wrong goddamn questions.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. There are horrible people in the world. It’s inevitable that with a world population of over seven billion people that there are bound to be a few bad eggs. But the murderers, the rapists, the terrorists, extremists and extortionists are a minority. They are not the majority that you have been led to believe…
…So let’s start over…
…I want you to clear your mind again. I want you to empty your thoughts and bias just like you did at the start of this post and try to imagine that you are watching the nightly news again. Picture the anchors, the journalists and field reporters. They’re still dressed immaculately; they still smile at you with brilliant white teeth. But this time they’re telling tales of a different tune.
Instead of reporting that a man of Islamic decent has been arrested on terror related charges, they are instead talking of the Sheikh who has encouraged his community to aid the homeless. Instead of a story reporting that a man murdered his wife, there is one describing a man who loves his partner so dearly that he has professed his love with a hundred red roses. Instead of a child being accosted for attempting to carry a weapon onto a classroom, they are praising a school for their academic and sporting excellence.
Imagine how different our outlook on the world would be if the media presented stories designed to expand our minds and highlight the better angels of our nature rather than beating war drums and chanting tales of ruin and woe. If you knew of the wonderful deeds that they had completed, would you still be so quick to judge your fellow man? Would you still be so afraid of everyone and everything? And do you believe that we would be plagued with the same issues currently eroding the fabric of our society if we focused on positivity and progression rather than fear and violence?
I’m not saying that we need to be ignorant. We should never turn a blind eye to the one percent of mankind that choses to hate and destroy rather than love. There is no heaven without hell and without those heinous acts of brutality and violence we could never truly appreciate just how lucky we are to be alive. But we shouldn’t allow that same one percent to rule us through fear. The media has undergone a metamorphosis and led us to a horrible state of misinformation and hysteria. And if they can transform once, then surely they can do it again. So isn’t it about time they evolved into a medium of integrity and human decency once more?
40 thoughts on “Mediamorphasis”
Great analysis. Your eyes are wide open as well as your mind
A beautifully presented reality check. Sadly, most people appear to be lacking in their own lives such that you demand to hear about “death and destruction” in others……. and the news medium, being a profit making business, is simply supplying demand. I believe a “Good News” newspaper was created in the US many years ago. I also believe it failed. I agree with you absolutely but I have no idea what the solution is. 😦
Yep…Journalism is on life support. Another factor is the presentation. Often presentation out-weighs substance.
I’ve often gotten transcripts and READ what was said. When you actually read the words, your outlook is often very different. When I see people justify their position saying things likw, “it’s the right thing to do,” I know it’s because they don’t have a strong argument to defend their position. Readers are thinkers. Thinkers challenge unsubstantiated “facts.” Get the transcripts from either party’s presidential candidates and be prepared to be shocked.
This is why I don’t have the news channel on TV at home EVER.
This is why I actually don’t have TV at all;-)
By the way, great post! 😄
Fantastic observations…all the negativity spewed our way daily, through the media, and life itself, can be so damaging to the human psyche. The only thing we can do to combat this mind pollution is feed ourselves healthy doses of positive stimulus everyday, as a counter balance of sorts.
Again….Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts!
I wonder how the world would have looked had Twitter, Facebook, and satellite tv been available during the reign of the Romans, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, etc.? I read somewhere, a long time ago, that there is actually less violence in the world today than there has been historically. Media is a business and it is all about ratings as networks aim to capture the most viewers. I gave up watching the news and I have become very picky about which media sources I read.
Thanks for posting this.
I agree for the most part with your analysis of our current media, but we do differ on their only being 1% that want to do us harm. My belief is that the majority of muslims want to rid the world of any other religion. Which is why I refuse to recognized islam as a religion, but rather call it for what is has always been, a terrorist hate group that needs to be eradicated.
OMGosh. I could agree more! I don’t watch the news, I say it’s all head trash and my mind doesn’t need the pollution. I will feel that way until the media spins health and happiness and good charitable deeds. Great post, glad to see others thinking likewise. 🙂
“a rabid beast hungry for attention is a great way to put it!”
Yet another superb post. Ancient Rome kept its people under control with “bread and circuses” which were actually free booze and bread at the Colosseum every Sunday where the populace was subjected to spectacles of sickening violence and racism. The good “news” is that eventually the Romans tired of it and the last Emperor, a Christian one at that, abandoned the disgusting and expensive practice altogether. Alain de Bouton would fully support this article and your viewpoint. He speaks strenuously and often about the media-bias towards violence and despair and one has to wonder just whom this really serves. True the media moguls have learned that only “bad” news sells but does it also suit the faceless businessmen and women who traffic in arms and benefit from constant wars? Does it also suit governments so greedy for power they want any excuse to place tighter and ever tighter security on their citizens? Or are we being deliberately kept so dizzy and numb with fear that we turn blind eyes to social atrocities and remain mute in the face of poverty and extreme financial imbalances. I, too, am just a writer and not in the business of running a media empire or a nation but I sure as hell would like some good news occasionally…just for my own personal sanity if nothing else. By the way I no longer watch the evening news. I can’t sanction such deliberate negativity.
Reblogged this on Catch The Moon, Mary and commented:
Another brilliant post from Chris Nicholas. I could not agree more! The news has a deliberate bias towards negativity and fear and it’s far from balanced, certainly not informative or helpful and needs to lift its game if it is to survive. But the good news is people get tired of hearing the same old crap night after night. Stories with no possibility of catharsis or redemption are just gossip. The Romans ultimately got rid of the Colossuem barbarism. Humanity will tire of the evening news. One day!
Beautifully paced and guided realisation. I totally agree with you.
Whether something is news worthy involves a complex array of values and view points. However, disaster, catastrophe, mayhem and crime appear, and have for centuries, more interesting than motherhood-statements of the happy-go-lucky. Apparently the platitudes of joy are boring and there is something almost innate that draws us to the dangerous and gory. Being “boring” is the only crime of art.
Media really had a big role in human life, ’cause these days they think that they can knew anything so fast just from the media, even if we dont have TV we can access them via internet and yes, the plotting of telling stories is a bit rounded in my thought.
I just hope that they always deliver TRUTH and prefer the positive first so that we can be motivate, not to feels depressed or awe of violence and rumour etc! I do hope it to happened!
A well needed reality check a lot of people need!! There is not enough good news out there. Not just good as in the opposite of evil, but also good news that makes you think, rethink and love the world you live in…
Thought-provoking stuff. I never grew desensitized, which is both a blessing and a curse, and I was forced to turn away from picture news long ago. I now read about news, and the difference is astonishing, as another commenter above pointed out. I find myself chasing facts, now, verifying sources. It should be taught in schools, as a life skill.
Beautifully written and I agree wholeheartedly Chris. I too like many others rarely watch the news. I don’t like to be ignorant about what’s happening in our world but I do believe we need to focus on all the positive and good that’s out there in the world. There’s definitely not enough good news stories out there.
I like it. I think a healthy dose of both sides can be the only way to live without deceiving yourself, either that the world is too fantastic or that the world is too terrible. There is much of both if you know where to look.
You’re a great writer.
Fear is really the crux of the whole thing isn’t it? Fear and money. But it’s been that way since the dawn of recorded history. Fear of God, fear of famine, fear of plague. Only now it’s at your fingertips 24/7. Fear of being alive. Fear of government. Fear of leaving the house. Fear that you won’t get laid. Fear of death. Fear of pain. Fear of the fucking CDC.You know what I fear? Ignorance, apathy, and complicity.
This is great, i’ve often had the same fantasy.
Great article bro!
Great article my man!
I love this! I never watch the news. It’s there for some…not for me. I enjoy reading your writing.
What a great perspective. One I often try to take on, seeing as I don’t get a chance to watch much television. What do you think we can do to produce more possibilities for positivity?
I really stopped listening to the news a long time ago..because this is how actually i felt. I started feeling that the world had only bad things going going on. And then I turned to my street and I dint have any problems. I don’t want to be ignorant but i feel because of the goals to commercialize news and make it interesting, media kind of goes overboard with it!
Excellent article, Chris 🙂 Truly, if good news was reported, then “copycat” news would be a welcome report! Unfortunately, mainstream media has sold its soul in the race for ratings… Thus, viewers are fed regurgitated reports of fluff, polished truth and whatever THEY choose to focus on and call news… I used to watch news daily, but it’s gotten to be too much! 😛 ♥ ❤
Thank you!!! I am soooo glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way!!! ^_^ I really appreciate your openness and honesty. ❤
Completely agree with this, are the government lying to us? Of course they are! ‘News’ isn’t what its namesake suggests it is a commentary. A commentary of what they want you to hear, the government are shit scared of the day that we ALL think alike and come together. They want us to be segregated little pocket communities and making you afraid of the person next door so you don’t interact with them and never find out if in fact they do think like you. Separateness is the greatest lie we will ever be told…………I say again I 100 % agree with this……….it’s time to wake up!
The media resents bloggers because our agendas are worn on our sleeves and we do it free, for the most part. Being a radio broadcaster and meteorologist for about 100 radio stations, they aggravate me with the deceptions and lies. Tremonte Watts was adored by young people and his boss at the station was jealous. Two years later Tremonte passed with brain cancer, I loved the guy’s decency and was just a good person. So sad, that he was literally given a raw deal,
This is fantastic. Totally agree.
I totally agree withvthis post. The media report more of the bad and the ugly than the good and the beautiful. And it’s affecting our psyche in a negative way.
The challenge for the media to change is a tall order, but it is possible. Thanks.
Yes! Your last paragraph says it best. Such a difficult thing to do, which is why we all need to encourage each other.
Great post, here is a bit from the past
[I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. … open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”] Howard Beale (Network 1976)
i believe that we live in a world where we are the media. with the advent of web 2.0, we are able to express our opinions, to share our views and our realities, and give to others the world as we see it. so, it is our job to tell the good stories of our lives, and tell what we’ve learn with the bad ones. it is our job to create new ways and new media to convey our deepest thoughts and emotions. and, therefore, create a world with less fear, and more love.
journalism, as we know it, is coming to an end. people need to realize that we are the voices of our own communities and that we need to use them if we want to make an impact.