To some people, the above headline may seem somewhat controversial or maybe even provocative to a certain extent, but is it really that far from the truth?
In many countries, the U.S in particular, the mainstream media has come under attack, often being referred to as fake news. On one side each network has its defenders and on the other, its attackers. Mainstream media has been around for some time now, so why in the present era, has it come under greater scrutiny and criticism?
Going back 30 years to my childhood, I remember how my parents would religiously watch the 6 o'clock news to keep up on current events. It was such a normal part of life and deeply ingrained into the daily routine. As a child, teen and adult I would hear stories of what is happening in the world and within Australia in particular. I heard similar stories over and over again without giving it a second thought. Over recent years my view of the media has taken a drastic turn. The strange thing is, my perception of the media has become more negative, while at the same time I have improved my knowledge and awareness of the world. Now armed with greater knowledge, access to information and awareness, I have come to realise, the Mainstream Media can be and often is poison.
Let me break down the supporting evidence so you can form your own opinion rather than have me impose it upon you. Each point is focused on mainstream media, not social or alternative media outlets.
1. Mainstream Media is Big Business- The way the media portrays itself is as a giver of truth and provider of information. The information is sold as necessary and important to know, as if the media are doing the viewers a favour by improving their knowledge and shaping their opinions. When you start to break down the media from the frontline journalist to the individual owner or collective owners of a network, you start to see the truth. First you have the journalist on the ground, providing the stories, then the story is sent to the production team if it isn't live, to be edited, this is then followed by the news anchors who are the story tellers- but who pays these employees? The anchors are paid by the network and the network is funded by the businesses who advertise on their station, as well as other wealthy backers. It is hard to really know exactly who is behind the scenes, but one thing you can bet on is, the roots run deep.
2. Agenda Driven- Yes believe it or not, if the goal isn't money, it is probably power, influence or manipulation for the purpose of personal agendas. It doesn't matter how powerful or wealthy an individual may be, they are still human, and human beings have values, morals, conditioning and ideologies that they wish to express in any way they can and mainstream media offers a powerful platform. It may not be an individual, but a group of wealthy individuals, backing the same agenda and goal. If these wealthy and powerful people are behind the scenes pulling the strings and making the decisions, then how much influence over the content do you think a reporter, journalist or anchor has? The truth is, in most cases very little, unless it aligns with the agenda and ideology behind the stories. Anchors have families, those families need shelter and food on the table, so of course the reporters and anchors cannot stray from the path already set for them or they may lose their position.
3. A Predictable Pattern- If you take the time to analyse certain networks you will likely identify patterns in their daily news and stories. In Australia the main News outlets are very predictable. The News usually looks like this- murder, fire, accident, political drama- this is followed by something a little lighter, maybe related to finance or a celebrity, then we have sports, weather and a soft story or footage of a baby animal to help you forget all the horror and filth implanted into you mind during the headline stories. Why this pattern? because the media rely on basic human psychology to grab your attention and to keep it. More people watching translates to more money. The other reason being, the shortage of real or positive news. The media can count on murder, fire, accidents and tragedy every single day, however what they will struggle to find and often not even look for, are the positive stories.
4. Poison Sold As Information- I will break this section down into individual posts at a later time, as each aspect mentioned below is far too in-depth to unpack within a single post.
Firstly, mainstream media do not care about lying, if the end result is more money, power and influence. The media thrives on controversy, therefore inciting violence through highly emotional topics, is not beyond them. In fact to an extent the media can manufacture situations for their own benefit, often at the cost of the public. Consistently negative stories perpetuate fear and anxiety within the public, this anxiety covertly invades our psychology, creating negative and unconscious biases, which manifest as hate, anger, fear and toxic behavior. The media controls information, which means they have great power to influence the minds of many. Unfortunately, they are very successful in achieving this goal, as the internet has not yet taken over as the primary source of News information, although it is making the transition.
The influence of the mainstream media cannot be understated and the affect it has on impressionable minds is significant. Understanding the reason for the mainstream media, its motivations, true purpose and strategy, is the first step in transcending the negative influence on your thinking. Secondly, having awareness of the toxic effect of the media, will enable you to avoid falling under the influence of the lies. If the mainstream media acted as it professes to, it would promote positive stories, avoid dividing people into opposing groups, not favour one side over the other, cease selling and perpetuating hate, fear and anxiety, stop acting like a giver of wisdom and truth and not lie or manipulate the audience and viewers. There is a positive side to the media, but I will save that for another very very brief post.