How The Focus Of Today’s Media Is Doing Us More Harm Than Good


An Eternal Golden Braid

Imagine coming home from a long day at work, relieved to finally be off the road and in one piece after fighting that brutal rush-hour traffic.

Last night’s leftovers have been calling your name since you put them in the fridge a little less than 24 hours ago.

Thoughts of the contract negotiations and that jerk from accounting both linger, but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Comfortable clothes now fully adorned, it’s time switch on the TV to see what might offer entertainment and information between now, primetime and bedtime.

In this age of state-of-the-art technology and incessant social media sharing, it is perfectly natural to want to “veg out” on the couch and catch up on the day’s events while marking the calendar with what lay ahead.

We rely on our smartphones, televisions, tablets, laptops and any other device connected to cable or WiFi to feed us our daily allotment of breaking news and scrollable stories.

During any given broadcast, no matter to which network you pledge your allegiance, how many times have you thought to yourself, “This isn’t news”?  Have you ever exclaimed, “Enough already!” at the screen?

A media-driven routine is the norm for people everywhere, but lately, it seems that an underlying theme has emerged, a trend that is not moving in the right direction. Viewers want to effortlessly stay informed, and to that end, buy-in to and subscribe to subject matter that offers little to no substance or benefit.

Sex sells, and it always will, but now, violence, greed, civil disobedience, corruption and gruesome crimes all rule the airwaves. We allow the media to feed it to us at every meal because it’s what we ask to eat.

Football’s numerous off-field scandals, as well as the unruly protests in Ferguson, come to mind as recent additions to our news diet.

They share similar traits: First, the ripple effects and shock values associated with each event, fueled by the media’s non-stop coverage, caused chaos across the country.

Second, raw video footage placing the accused and creating victims incites wide ranges of emotion from viewers while helping to build ratings.

We kept watching, buying, digesting, and the cycle continues. A witch-hunt ensued from the Twittersphere to the streets, but what good came from it all?

Are we actually desensitized by the exposure? We need to change the focus, start a new conversation and drive the ratings elsewhere.

Football learned a hard lesson in public relations and realized the need to speak out against domestic violence. Police Departments took note of how to properly use riot gear, and will undoubtedly do everything in their power to prevent negligence and outbursts in the future.

Viewers absorb the retaliation, looting, tear gas and defamation of role models, but who is there to address a concerted effort to move forward and create progress?

Even our own president knows where to stick his head — and it isn’t in this conversation.

The United States of America is a beautiful melting pot of a country founded upon liberties that allow protesters to speak out against injustices, media members to broadcast images to the masses and people, like me, to write about it.

How long until the repetition of crude, violent imagery becomes too much for our citizens to bear?  When will we stand up for what will move us in a direction poised to foster growth instead of hate?

We don’t have to buy what the media machine is selling. In this case, the consumer drives production. If we, as a society, intend to focus our attention elsewhere, the media will have no choice but to listen and oblige.

If the smartphone and television era continues, shouldn’t we hope to ingest something that will enrich our minds, bodies and spirits? Let’s use it for good, instead of the hope of YouTube hits and Instagram likes.

This is not a call to water down your viewing or to stop watching the news completely because that just won’t happen. Rather, this message focuses on the relationship between the viewer and those who decide what we see.

We need to change the conversation and alter trends if we ever hope to hear the Pelleys and Blitzers of the world utter anything other than stories of death, deception and destruction. And, if I had to bet, without any action, it will only get worse from here.

In the way millions of Americans band together to riot like we’ve seen this year, the same holds true for those who want to see long-term change for the good.

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