Sunday, November 18, 2018

Ridiculous Media Trends

The media has become a joke. From click-bait headlines to opinion masquerading as truth to the taking of hyperbole and jokes as earnest statements to generate controversy, the media has become a ridiculous creator of news and deceiver of its readers. Even beyond that though, here are some recent media trends that I find truly despicable.

● The media has turned to voodoo. They've been hiring "face readers", "body language readers" and "handwriting experts" to analyze people they don't like and declare judgment on their sanity, their honesty, and their moods. This is utter crap. These people are pure bullsh*t. Trust me, I've dealt with them in court and I KNOW they are total frauds. Hiring these people is not journalism, it is story telling by pretend experts. What's next? Psychics?

● Speaking of fake experts, the latest trend involves the creation of "studies" to back up liberal opinion that isn't playing well in the press. The media has been flooding us with utterly incredible, total-nonsense studies of late. These are reported as fact, when they are at best fantasy or fiction. Want to prove that voting Republican is harmful to your soul? Are whites evil? Are robots better lovers? Do guns cause autism? Does football cause brain damage? Hire an expert to run a study. Don't worry, the media won't report that your methodology involved cashing the check and little else. This is not journalism. It's quack "science". (And I hesitate even to use the word.)

White woman calls cops on... This is not news. In fact, to the extent it is news, it is news that no one got shot. It is news that this mild annoyance is what the evil of racism has devolved to. This is not journalism, it's the creation of a narrative. It is no different than reporting every black rapist you can find, every Mexican immigrant who robs a white woman, or every Russian person who molests a child. It is an attempt to create a stereotype where none exists by making people mistake repetition with commonality. This is not journalism, it is immoral smear-making.

● The fake misunderstanding. The media suddenly seems incapable of understanding obvious hyperbolic statements. The perfect example this week comes from sports, but the examples abound everywhere. This weekend, Rams running back was asked about the over/under on this week's game. The running back (Todd Gurley) said, "I don't gamble. I don't know about those things." This brought a series of idiotic "shocked" articles from sports writers asking if he truly does not understand what an over/under was. Of course he does, you idiots. That was a hyperbolic way of saying, "it does not matter to me." This has become the go-to way for media people to create click-bait headlines, articles when there is no story, and getting to try to embarrass someone they don't like. "Could he really be that stupid???" No... you are.

● Twitter is not a news source. Twitter does not speak with a single voice. Citing people from Twitter is as journalistic as citing what your mother and her friends told you. Citing people on Twitter is not journalism, it is sifting through a cynical pile of sh*t to bolster your opinion.

● There is no journalistic value in gushing about what some assh*le celebrity said about a politician. "Like, OMG, Assh*le Smith just had the perfect put down of Trump!" You are not a journalist. You are a publicist... a fellating publicist.

Finally, some news...

(1) It looks like the Governorships of Florida and Georgia will remain in Republican hands, and the Republican wins the Senate in Florida. In the process, Broward County proved to be yet another Democratic disgrace. They admitted Saturday to recounting the results for the wrong race and losing around 2,000 ballots, among other issues.

(2) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the little socialist girl in New York (seen to the left, I believe) is already calling for challengers to incumbent Democrats in the next primaries. Bless you, Stupid Girl.


Anthony said...

Of course the media is anti-Trump. Trump is anti-media. Anyone but bootlickers in the form of Hannity and Limbaugh tend to receive his scorn.

My favorite example is the British conservative tabloid (the Sun) who had a friendly interview with Trump about Teresa Mays. He freely said unflattering things about her. Then Trump had a nice meeting with her and changed his mind. He then denounced the interview as fake news.

More crucially the media sometimes lies, but it rarely leads people anywhere they don't want to go. People want nuggets of news which confirm their worldviews. If they don't get said nuggets from, A, B, C or D then they go to Z for it. Bias is not a bug, its a feature, one that consumers demand.

Also, social media and forums are major news sources for most people. Companies hire and fire based on such postings. Its worth noting Guardians of the Galaxy and Roseanne were too tremendously successful products which were nuked due to the postings of important people involved.

Last but not least its not formal media sites that make 'White woman calls cops on X' a overcovered trend, its snippets of video uploaded to social media which go viral. Almost everybody nowadays has an internet connected recording device in their pocket. By the time the media reports of stuff like that it is already famous (read: hundreds of thousands or millions of hits). So don't blame the media, blame the world.

The complaint about media cherrypicking isn't a new one. Below is a very old skit (1992) from In Living Color which makes the same complaint.

tryanmax said...

The more I consider different trends in various media, the more I think assumptions about competition fostering a "race to the bottom" are flawed. Certainly, outfits do compete to get to the bottom faster than the next guy, but when you examine the situation, it happens with outfits that are already pointed downward.

To look at this, let's sidestep ideology for a moment, and consider the dreaded shortening attention spans. All my life, this has been a monster lurking in the background, and the evidence of it was everywhere! (Not really.) The kids are reading comic books instead of Euripides! Commercials that used to be a minute long are down to 15 seconds! (No one watched commercials anyway.) Experts predict 10 minute TV programs any day now! Video games are feeding kids constant dopamine! OMG Twitter!

Of course, one reaction to this hair-pulling is to create shorter and shorter content. But guess what? Ultra-short content never takes off. Kindle Singles shut it's doors to everyone but top-grossing authors. Mini TV shows only exist in special blocks on niche cable networks. Twitter doubled its character limit and added threading tools. Vine is dead.

Meanwhile, the biggest literary phenomenon of late is a 7-novel epic aimed at kids. Comics are more complex than soap operas with story lines spanning decades. The new golden age of television is fueled by hour-long serial dramas and now the fear is binge-watching on streaming. Modern video games take hours to days of continuous play to complete.

The only thing anyone got right is that no one watches commercials. (And there is good evidence that short commercials are more effective.)

As this relates to the media racing to the bottom in terms of hate-fueled content, there are emerging in new media all over new programs devoted to long-form analysis of topics rather than the six people yelling and solving nothing format. They command very small audiences in comparison, but they are successful in that they've afforded a living to several of the people doing them. This is to say that, as the big boys plumb the depths for audience, they create opportunities for those with the flexibility to reach higher.

AndrewPrice said...

Hi Anthony. Huh. I don't really remember writing about Trump. I am sorry if my use of him in a made up example triggered you though. Have some tea.

As for the rest, that's great that you recognize that what I've said is an accurate picture of the world, but that wasn't really in doubt. The question we're dealing with is the legitimacy of the media for engaging in these practices.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I initially thought I would disagree with you about attention spans, but you make a very good case and I'm thinking you might be right. That said, I do see a disappearance of attention span and I attribute that to digital devices which make it so much easier to escape from the real world. I see this in the kids in particular, who vanish into their phones whenever confronted with things that don't stimulate them.

Said differently, our attention spans aren't shrinking because of the need for a new hit (like a cocaine addict), they are seen as the less enjoyable outcome and get avoided (like potheads avoiding work). So you stare at some silly webpage rather than engage in conversation or activity. Even texting is a lazy way to deal with people because you don't need to think of whole responses or respond in real time.

On the media, I don't buy the race to the bottom. That can happen, but not in something as diverse as the media. It really only applies where there is only two options and the bottom option gives an advantage. It doesn't really apply when there are many paths and no clear best choice.

I think the race to the bottom has been cover for a lot of other bad decisions: firing senior staff to save money, the hiring of unqualified employees who don't understand basic rules of integrity/ethics, the politicization of the profession with the idea that leading people "the right way" trumps truth, merging of news and opinion because opinion is cheaper, the chase for clicks (click-bait content), etc. I think all of these things are what have led to an untrained, cynical, lazy workforce that makes up stories and trolls the internet looking for whatever excites them to call it news.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, you hit on a good point. The "race to the bottom" is very often used as an excuse by media outlets for, if not their own laziness, that of their profession. It's another version of "it's what customers want." Is it, though? The fractured media landscape seems to suggest otherwise.

I see what you're saying about people disconnecting from each other and staring into their devices, and I definitely agree that it's a problem, but I don't think attention span quite gets at it. It's more of a priorities problem. A productive person can either maintain focus and shift focus at will depending on what the situation calls for. Mobile devices provide ease of escapism, which is essentially ease of mis-prioritization.

To put it in an illustration, instead of going to the bar after work every night and not getting home until after the kids are in bed, Dad can now come home, eat dinner, and sit in the den with his kids all evening while never looking up from his phone.

Anthony said...


I agree with your point that attention spans are not the problem. I think the 'problem' is an abundance of choice. That of course is only a problem for those competing for attention or money its great for consumers. Hundreds of websites and people offer hot takes or deep dives into every subject one can think of.

Consumers are not necessarily choosing what is lowest or quickest, they are choosing narratives, philosophies and/or subjects of interest. With tv and newspapers, there was a certain amount of 'vegetable eating' (you go through stuff you are only mildly interested in because its right there in front of you on the page or the screen). The internet makes it easier to eat vegetables than ever, but also easier to avoid them.

Tennessee Jed said...

Media types are trying to appeal to their audience in an increasingly competitive business. This is a lazy way to do that to people looking to reinforce their own beliefs. It is sad

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, This truly bothers me because I think the media is injecting much of the tension and rancor that is damaging our society.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's a really good point.

ArgentGale said...

Sounds pretty accurate on the journalism garbage and good picture, too! Reminds me of how some people call our local big city rag the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation! On the governorship Abrams is still being a sore loser, choosing to "admit she can't win" instead of conceding the race because the word concede implies she recognizes the process as right and legitimate. Naturally she intends to keep making a nuisance of herself, too, of course. I'm not sure if it would be better for her to become irrelevant to save us the headaches or for her to keep making a fool of herself so her idiocy can be used against the Democrats.

Good points about entertainment, too, tryanmax. When you mentioned the length of video games Skyrim's immense popularity came to mind and I'm actually in the middle of one of those huge games myself right now, the awesome Dragon Quest XI! With gaming at least I think part of the reason for the big games is that with a base cost of $60 they need to be seen as worth the time, especially considering that companies want to make more money off of DLC (including season passes), microtransactions, and other things that come with this whole "games as a service" business model. Makes me wonder how much longer me and a lot of others are going to be able to afford gaming, actually...

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, I think her whining can only help. She's preaching to the choir and in the process is turning off "the straights." ()

What's just as funny is that the MSM is attacking Trump for challenging the legitimacy of the election while giving a total pass to people like her. Even some in the MSM are pointing out the hypocrisy here.

ArgentGale said...

That's what I was thinking as well, Andrew. I can't see her tantrum appealing to anyone who isn't already hard left and/or deeply immersed in black victimology (which is one of the big things she's appealing to in her tantrum) and you've already mentioned how anger doesn't sell, especially when the person comes off as whiny. They hypocrisy on how they're handling her and Trump's old pre-election comments is staggering, too. Seems like the Democrats and their allies are well on their way to pissing away their victory already!

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, The charge has become so overused/misused that I think it annoys normal people (though it is good for rallying the base).

"Seems like the Democrats and their allies are well on their way to pissing away their victory already!"

I agree. The latest thing about going after Ivanka for using a personal email is truly shark jumping, given the way they still pretend that Hillary did nothing.

Anthony said...

Its the loss that damaged Stacey Abrams rather than her subsequent whining though I agree she should leave whining about elections to Trump.

I can't imagine any of high profile close losers (Abrams, Gillum and O'Rourke) having much of a future on the national stage regardless of where they shook the hand of the winner or spat in their face. They are all Wendy Davis. Next go round there will be fresh faces for Democrats to go ga-ga over.

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