Recently we’ve heard many outcries about the heartbreaking events in Connecticut. Some have blamed gun laws for its’ cause and in doing so have managed to cause the NRA to cower. A few people blamed the security of the school and would like to see something done about it. Others are blaming the parent of the shooter and the shooter himself for the action taken before he took his own life. The cynical and angry among us are also blaming the media, someone went so far as to impersonate Morgan Freeman to get their message out to the world.
The creator of the message is not known but the message itself has its’ own merit. The main objective of the message was to criticize the modern media’s glorification of people that cause harm in our society. It’s a common sentiment seeing that it received over a million likes and received the attention of an innumerable amount of people. It’s also only part of the story in the public punishment of modern media in our society.
Yes, a lot of attention was given to the killer and I do not condone turning horrendous folk into awesome anti-heroes. Such a thing can be seen as manipulation and is only done for the amount of attention it will receive. That attention, those eyeballs, those pageviews, those viewers? That’s the true source of this problem. News outlets exists to share information and provide news coverage among many other things but they are not doing it because they’re good samaritans. No, they do this for the money. More respectful pieces are not nearly as lucrative as creating giant scandals and unsavory coverage of the events that matter to us the most. It’s so very easy to point our fingers at Fox News, CBC and every other outlet but they can only stay in business because people keep supporting them.
The fact of the matter is that if people stopped participating in this warped relationship of consumer and content provider we cold influence the businesses to change their practices. At the very core of many businesses, even the news, it’s all about revenue. How many streams can they get, how much will they make, how sustainable is it, how much effort is needed to keep it going? I don’t want our news coverage to become a Mickey Mouse affair or to censor reality since we trust these institutions to be our eyes when we’re not around. What I would like is for people to take personal responsibility for their actions and to wake up to what their fellow man is doing. If 8 million people tune in to channel 2 to watch a cashier get punched in the face while only 10,000 people are viewing channel 4’s coverage of a proposal to help schools then we have to realize that the problem lies with us. You can’t blame an entity that exists to make money off of the habits of the majority for tastelessness in broadcasting when its’ that majority that demands it through the actions that they take.
If it’s truly such a problem then you have to treat it at its’ source. It may not be an easy goal to achieve and you will even find that there are “reprehensible” folk that like things the way that they are now. They’ll fight to keep things that way and to even take us further down that path. If you can’t convince them that what they’re doing is “wrong” then you truly can’t fix the “problem” can you? Going after the symptom is a fools errand when you need to fight the disease. Choose your battles carefully because on the other side of the tracks, you are the disease. Now if only I could get Morgan Freeman to voice my little blog…