Toronto Sun Headline:”Terror at our door”
Jingle journalism, money making media, profit publishing…
The “bottom line” has always been a major concern of every member of the media. Without a profit the business would no longer exist, would not be able to function.
But in today’s society has resulted in a new instrument of publication, social media. And social media has a persona which never existed in past generations. Gone are the days of reponsibility, adherence to ‘good taste’ and fact checking before publication. Arriving also with social media is anonymity which has led to a free for all what is published. Anything goes. In fact, it seems that the more bombastic, the more incredible the posting is, the greater is its audience.
The media must resort to ever increasing extremes
Because social media attracts such a growing audience, the old fashioned media must resort to more outlandish reporting to slow the decline of readership. In the old days, sensationalism and sex sold subscriptions. Witness the “National Enquirer,” one of the more successful of the ‘tabloid publications.’ But as the readership grew there, their type reporting style was adopted by the legitimate publishing media. They too began to publish gossip, prurient headlines, rawer material and material that played more loosely with the truth.
The days of responsible journalism are waning
Today, it has evolved beyond just racy reporting. Fear is the new sensational. The Toronto Sun’s headline, “Terror at our door” is not a exposition story. Rather it is reporting which promotes fear in the reader and that frightened reader will buy the paper to learn more. No matter that the headline takes the events behind the story and sensationalizes them, escalates them and develops them in such a way that the reading population is frightened and wants to know more.
Where’s the line between hate and free speech
Reporting today skirts the fringes of hate under the defense of free speech. However, the alt right politicians go too far when they make exaggerated claims: Muslim immigrants are sources of terrorism in the country; murder rates are escalating everywhere; rapists and drug dealer are cross borders in rash numbers. Is this freedom of speech or is this hate mongering?
Talk radio more controlled in Canada
The CRTC in Canada monitors radio communication regularly and regulates the kind of shows which can be aired. The United States handles this is a more loosely regulated manner as is exemplified by talk radio shows such as Howard Stern and Rush Limbagh. What kind of regulatory system monitored the likes of the Jerry Springer show?
Rebel journalism or authentic activism
Right wing factions can easily publish their messages in social media under the guise that they are authentic activists promoting a positive cause. In reality, these journalists are right wing rebels inciting unprincipled protests for their own interests. Think about the recent protests you have seen. Are they what you would label acceptable using the standards and guidelines which were community standards of a decade ago. Today, not only are we becoming a society of “anything goes” but worse, criticizing the “anything goes” violates what is “politically correct.”
Where are we going?
False news makes money. Hate headlines attract subscribers. Fear mongering increases revenues. Is old fashioned journalism threatened? Are its days numbered? Who will do the fact checking for us? Facebook? Snapchat? Twitter? Who can we depend on for investigatory journalism where reporters research and dig into a story deeply to uncover corruption, deceit, and/or greed.
What do you think?