What I hate about journalism is how easy it is to corrupt with garbage in the form of bias, inaccuracy, and just overall stupidity. What I hate even more would be how quickly people fall for such garbage. What I hate the most would be how modern day attention spans are so short and people tend to be so stupid that important events that should shake the playing field are forgotten about in less than a week and non-important ones are exaggerated and remembered years later. Some can say it is the news itself, which focusing more and more on worthless data while sliding important details in that stupid scrolling bar nobody reads at the bottom of the screen and oftentimes ignoring it entirely.
The news is supposed to inform you on everything. But sometimes, we tend to only hear the wrong sides of things and end up not being informed of anything at all. Nowadays, we hear about problems and just insignificant matters. For example, the day after the Superbowl the first thing I always hear about isn’t the damn score, but the awesome and epic commercials along with the horrendous Halftime show!
Oftentimes, the news itself seems to get off track entirely. Sometimes the news forgets the main idea and focus on the details (the way Clinton’s scandal was portrayed in the news), and other times they warp the main idea and ignore the details entirely (Fox News in general).
We hear of certain events, like the so-called Benghazi scandal, so much that even after the news boils down people still continuously bring it up. One of my favorite interviews of all time, albeit a very short one, would be the Fox News interview with Journalist Tom Ricks. Honestly, it is perhaps the most truth ever said when it comes to Faux News, especially about this “scandal” and this topic entirely.
Now, as the attention span of those who gain resources from the general media shorten and shorten with every news broadcast, we see more and more being left out. Topics that greatly mattered on a global letter like the Iran Letter are forgotten about after just a couple weeks and only “featured” on social media for just a few short hours. Meanwhile, CNN can have “wall to wall Ebola coverage” and hype up an apocalyptic hailstorm over a disease that isn’t even really dangerous to first world countries, unless you’re going to wallow around in fecal matter and bodily fluids.
Consider Bernie Sanders and the little uprising Vox and Mother Jones had against him. I have nothing against Vox, and I enjoy reading their articles. While most dismissed this article as click-bait, it actually does have some truth to it. Yes, he wrote the article. BUT, it is incredibly clear that it is a piece of satire. Not only that, but satire written for a newspaper that no longer exists. Imagine that! So much research was put into Bernie Sanders’ past that an article from 43 years ago was uncovered from a newspaper that no longer publishes articles. How much effort was put into this when other important news stories could have been heard? While it may not be click-bait like hundreds of Twitter users are claiming, if a huge majority of your audience dislikes the article, then you’ve done something wrong. Now, as interesting as this piece of journalism goes, it’s not surprising coming from a website that posts Hillary Clinton (you know, Bernie Sanders’ opponent when it comes to the 2016 Presidential Democratic Nomination) what seems like every. Single. Day.
Of course, the Sanders campaign distanced itself from the 43 year old satirical essay. It has been labeled as a “dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication” which “no way reflects his [Bernie’s] views or record on women […] it was intended to attack gender stereotypes of the 1970s but it looks as stupid today as it was then.”
That’s not even the end of it; I could go on for hours on how Fox News remains hypocritical over Ferguson and Benghazi. Or all the hypocritical conservative justifications towards the Iraq War. Or how several news sources are leaving out the fact (or barely mentioning it sixteen paragraphs into their article) on how Rick Perry is currently running for present EVEN THOUGH HE IS CURRENTLY UNDER INDICTMENT for abuse of power! I mean seriously, when there is a Wikipedia page specifically dedicated to a problem, you know it’s important.
If the same amount of attention placed upon Williams’ lies had been given to the Iraq War, imagine how much better the world would be!
Imagine how much more informed people would be! Imagine how many people would have cared more, even! But no, people would rather care more about other….things according to the top trending hashtags on Twitter.
While yes, several news sources focus on the wrong aspects of a story (Hillary Clinton’s favorite emojis don’t mean anything, people), we can’t just blame it on them. They get the ratings from these stories. They get the clicks, the likes, the comments, the shares. They get the views, the replays, and the nonstop barrage of response. Some agree and some disagree, leading to a war in comment threads that further boost views and further clicks. It’s gotten to the point that many people only hear news stories from social media, which are all simply squirrels with the attention span of gnats when it comes to world issues and events.
Once it goes off that top ten list of featured hashtags or disappears off of the front page, it never happened. Unless, that is, it’s been beaten into your head enough. And the problem is, only the contradicting, unimportant stories tend to stick with our memories. Perhaps that’s just turning into our concept of modern day journalism.