Journalism, News, Entertainment and Critical Thinking

July 20, 2010

By Lance D’Aoust

Almost daily I read the World, Political, Health, Social and Tech news from various news feeds. Often I will read the entire article, watch the linked video and then share it with friends, or, just post it to facebook. I have made several observations while traveling along this path. It is as though these news sources are all coming from completely different societies, and the people I share them with are largely silent about what they’re seeing.

In The News

World: talks a lot about why global governance is important.
Political: abstractly talks about which party is better.
Health: talks about fitness fads.
Social: talks about the latest apps and games and staying connected.
Tech: talks about the millions in investments to startups and iPhone vs the Android.

There’s no substance to it any of it. The news is very, very, obviously for entertainment purposes, not actual information distribution. What is there to gain from these talking points? They are just that – points to talk about. There is a very strong emphasis on being entertained as opposed to being educated and informed. Evidence of this point is ample – you may have noticed I left out the category of Entertainment, which takes precedence over all other ‘news’ categories. There is a greater desire to learn about celeb drama than there is about real world issues such as the Gulf.

And don’t bullshit me as say that there is nothing you can do as an individual about the Gulf (or any other large issue). As much as that might be true it is then equally true about any bit of celeb news too. The difference between the two is the fundamental shift in the way people view the news and information, and ultimately human evolution:

a.) If the news is short, entertaining and accepting of what the reader is currently doing or is interested in, then the reader becomes a consumer of it. This is a lot like social drinking or social smoking. It is simple, and the group’s acceptance of it makes it easier to justify partaking in it. Not much thought or effort required.

b.) But if the news is long, is text rather than video, or not in line with the reader’s predefined paradigms, interests or habits, then the reader is already disinterested. A lot of the time they reveal themselves to be an opponent of the idea AND the source. “Hey, did you read that article I sent to you?” “No, it was too long, I didn’t have time.” and/or, “You’re a fool for believing shit like that. Are you one of those conspiracy guys?

c.) However, if the reader has the attention span/interest to commit to something with substance (usually controversial and rarely part of the mainstream), and the reader is a proponent of it (in agreement), the reader usually will not make their agreement public. That creates the risk of them being categorized as conspiracy theorist. Good old peer pressure in action.

Question: Where are all of the critical thinkers? Where are those people who are not afraid to hold an idea that is contrary to popular belief? It is that kind of thinking, it is that kind of person, who leads society forward. You don’t even have to be right – you just have to be honest with yourself and have the guts to say, “I can think for myself, and Mel Gibson doesn’t matter! I don’t need to be told what to eat, buy, wear, think or feel.

Anyone with children wants the best for their children, however no one seems to look at that idea in reverse: If it is not good enough for children, then why is it good enough for You?

2 Comments
ZX-14 lady
July 22, 2010 @ 8:15 am

Why jesus allows this sort of thing to continue is a mystery.

Sent via Blackberry

November 1, 2010 @ 4:25 am

Where did you learn about this? Can you give me the source?

Sent from my Android phone

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