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We Always Blame The Media For Giving Us What We Want

Updated on December 3, 2012
I can't wait for them to print my article about how what they print is trash!
I can't wait for them to print my article about how what they print is trash!

I never get tired of hearing people go on and on about how "the media" is at fault for everything. I went to college to be a productive member of the news media. I took all the classes I could on the history of multimedia, the news, and even worked on the college paper; becoming the editor-in-chief. The most important thing I learned from that experience is that you deliver to the readers what they want, not what you want them to read.

During the 2012 Republican Primaries, Newt Gingrich blamed the issue of his questionable marriage practice on the media because they aired a story on his ex-wife before one of the Republican debates, he called it, “as close to despicable as [he could] imagine.” Whenever someone gets caught doing something wrong or questionable they always blame the media. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and Herman Cain all have blamed the “lame stream media" for their mistakes: Sarah Palin’s gaff on Paul Revere, Michelle Bachman’s comparison of a cancer vaccine and retardation, Herman Cain’s videotaped brain freeze over what his does or doesn’t agree with President Obama over. Yet, they complained about the media on the media (in an interview on their favorite news network, who would pamper them).

They all cry foul and say that the media is biased, or that they are being victimized, and that the American people are sick of the malicious and negative attacks. But that is not the reality. We love the attacks and so do they. All of these people have used negative ads and news organizations to attack their opponents.

All of us use the media for our own validations. If you are a Republican you watch Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, or even Glen Beck. They will validate your point of view. They speak the real truth on the issue and are "unbiased". If you are a Democrat you watch MSNBC, listen to Rachel Maddow, and Ed Shultz, because they get to the heart of the matter, "no spin" and tell the unfettered truth. Whatever we want to believe, there is a news station that panders to it.

That is how the media works. It is the internet, a newspaper, a television program, a radio station that gives you what you want; especially in today’s compartmentalized society. It is how the process works regardless of right or wrong (or left).

How many times how you heard of a company, “changing direction” to meet demand? Or a radio station changing its format? It’s all about the people. It’s what we want, not what they want us to want. We live with choices every day; but it’s not what to eat, drink or where to go; it is which coffee house do we want to go to, or which brand of candy, or soda or chips we prefer. The media is just like any other product. They can only exist by the will of the customers. The consumer is the person with the final say. If you don’t like the news you change the channel. Why do you think all the broadcast news organizations are turning to comic antics? Because they think it’s the best form of news? No—they do it because they want to attract the attention of the Daily Show and Colbert Report’s demographic.

The first lesson you learn in journalism is, “if it bleeds it leads.” We’ll pay attention to bad news. A hundred years ago Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst created yellow journalism during a battle for the most readers. It was over a cartoon strip called, “The Yellow Kid.” It was such a popular strip that they both engaged in aggrandizing and faking the most elaborate and dramatic news stories to get the most readers. The more sensational and salacious the story the more people bought the paper to read it.

A few years back, there was a radio station that, for an hour, had nothing but positive news. They had received a huge amount of requests via email for more happy news stories. A large amount of people were sick of constantly hearing about depressing news stories and wondered where all the good news was. After it was over every one of the callers complained about how they weren’t covering the important issues: the war, the economy, education, the administration….and on it went.

That is who we are as human beings; we thrive off of negatives. We look forward to it. It makes us feel better about ourselves when bad things happen to someone else. It makes us feel alive.

And that is despicable.


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