(Fake) News



With everything that is happening in the world currently, we can be easily distracted. The 24-hour news culture we have has meant that we constantly get bombarded with news.

So, why this is a problem? The more we know, the more we are informed, no? Well, it is very hard now to separate "news" from "noise". The speed of news is now so quick it has developed into a micro life-cycle.
What does that mean?

Well, let's take a single issue. Something happens in the US. Something small like:
"President Drumpf* declares that he is orange because he is a massive Roald Dahl fan."

So far, so good. This then gets reported via all of the major news outlets. In order for them to achieve their targets for ad revenue, these are shared on social media - with an even more sensational headline:
"You'll NEVER believe this - Donald Drumpf* is an Oompa loompa!".

This then gets onto the US chat show circuit in the evening, followed by an insane rebuttal by Fox News/Breitbart who will say something like:
"Donald Drumpf* paints himself orange because is actually a fan of Kel Mitchell from the 90's and really loves orange soda. This proves he is all American hero."

Of course, this is a fictional example (as of 09th April 2018 - you have to be careful with Drumpf* news). This is where it has become a problem. During this media storm, there may be a real news story of something that has had an actual real human impact - like there is still no power six months after a hurricane in Puerto Rico for 11% of the population (story link below). During this period the "Orange Drumpf*" news article has drowned out all other news.

There is no precedence anymore between real, important news and what is just sensationalist waffle. The news has also run its course within a very short time period. With no momentum left, the news agencies move onto the next story. This means the basic equation for news has now changed. Rather than prioritizing what should be informed for the betterment of society, it has now developed completely purely into the profit motive.

This is a big problem. In order to catch peoples attention in order to earn ad revenue, the result is what we see now. Binary news. In the US, the TV news station you watch reflects your already established political views, which then harden. In the UK, the print and online media do the same. It targets content to an already willing audience so that it holds your attention. It tells you what you want to hear, rather than what is actually fact.

The result is binary politics. Which will never end well (for reference: see anything in the last two years within the UK/US). The entire idea of a political spectrum is that it is the diversity of the opinion that makes the country/organization come together and develop fresh concepts. Polarised politics, however, will just produce violent swings from the left to the right.

Of course, there is one real additional bad element that has infected our news media, and that is "that there are always two sides to every argument". This is not the case. Now it may look like this statement contradicts my previous viewpoint, but it doesn't. There are some things that need to be reported where "opinion" is not a factor. Sandy Hook, is a fine example. These crazy outliers should not be given a platform and degrade the media.

My personal bugbear, however, is on climate change. This is not an opinion. The science "is not out".
It's fact.
Yes, 99% of the scientific community believe in it, and one per cent question it. This level of agreement is uncalled for in any industry. Yet even established broadcasters like CNN and the BBC feel that they should give these discussions a balanced argument, with an idea that this will establish an equilibrium. It doesn't. It produces a warped sense of reality for the population as a whole (we have all heard the "well, there can't be global warming - it snowed in March" argument.)

With these two factors working together we have a real problem. The art of journalism and the standards to which they adhere to are slowly degrading - all in the exchange of clicks.

The problem is that facts formulate the bedrock of our future.

If we keep going like this, we will be sleepwalking into a global climate disaster.

The only thing that will be on the news, however, will be the latest fashion faux pas by <insert future dystopian celebrity name here>.

So to end on a positive note: Here is a comedy sketch about the quality of news reporting. You've earned it.
*Drumpf. For legal reasons :)


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