“The sky is falling.” Remember that famous line from the story? It generated a lot of talk, some rash actions, increasing numbers of characters either joined in or opposed the announcement with growing fervor. The truth in the end was though that the sky was not really falling.
Today’s translation of that line goes like this. “Trump is hateful and bigoted. Trump must be stopped. Trump generates violence at his rallies.” In all of the hysteria a very simple undeniable truth is overlooked. All of the violence, all of the extremism, all of the supposed hate is relayed to us through some form of news media. The overlooked part is that information is their product, not their mission. The mission of any media business (remember, they are a business- FIRST) is to maximize their product distribution to generate maximum revenue and by that maximize profit.
I am not condemning that. This is good old fashioned American capitalism at its best. We the customer however must not forget how the business operates. The film clips and quotes of Trump (or any candidate) are designed to attract as large an audience as they can and hold them for as long as possible. It is the audience size alone that determines the ad rates, and thusly directly determines revenue for the company.
Because of this business model, no news outlet will ever spend more than a token amount of time showing or commenting on the ordinary, the positive, or the good. Ask any journalist what the “prime directive” of media is. The answer will be, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Be honest, do you run faster toward a car wreck or a yard sale? Do you watch a NASCAR race for the uneventful laps, or to see the metal shredding crashes?
It is precisely to the basest of our macabre nature that media appeals, and why they bombard us with anger, hatred, bigotry and violence. The large audience (and ad revenues) do not follow the calm but the cacophonous. The cameras are not trained on the polite, but the polluted. Commentators will not address the wise, but will drone on for hours about the weird.
America is facing some important choices in the days ahead. But if you are depending on what comes across the airwaves to give you truth rather than investigating the sources of candidates and their philosophy, you are just running from an acorn on your head, and not walking toward a rational conclusion.