Written by Jennifer Mona-Green
America, I have a bone to pick with you. Much has been made of the role that the “media“ plays in the United States and its power over the American people. The media has been vilified by writers, analysts, politicians, and media folks themselves for having an agenda. Unfortunately, the American people seem to have grown comfortable with the idea of basing their opinions on the very media that they blame for polluting the “truth” while they sit back and take it all in. They seem to have a problem with the dissemination of “biased” information and yet eagerly feed in to the very sensationalism that they claim to abhor.
Do we really care, if Kim Kardashian looks unflattering in her maternity dresses? Do Amanda Bynes’ confusions really bring anything of value to the general public? More importantly, why are these articles on the front page of major news outlet? Further reading led me to wonder whether we should place the blame of the progressively expanding ignorance of the American people on the media they criticize so much, or on themselves.
Headlines like, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, no, it’s cocaine,“ and articles about roadkill cook-offs on the front pages of some of the most reputable news websites make it very difficult to take the American media seriously. What ever happened to journalistic integrity being more than just reporting what people want to hear? When did we lose sight of the fact that the words “novelty” and “news” don’t share the same meaning?
Unfortunately, while articles like the aforementioned rank high in the “Most E-mailed” and “Most Popular” categories on the major news outlet sites, articles with truly compelling and important information are being left to gather dust on sub-pages within rarely seen sections of these websites.
After scouring several news sites for the past week, searching for some deeper insights of current situations, I was floored by the lack of newsworthy content available to the American people. Particularly heartbreaking was the fact that important stories have been replaced by senseless articles that add little value to what is supposed to be our ever-expanding wealth of collective knowledge.
I ask myself why and find myself pondering a chicken vs. egg scenario. You see, if you strip the media of the ideological confines we have placed around it—mainly that it is there to serve the people with the utmost transparency and integrity—and see it for what it really is, a business (hence the term “media”) then that begs the question: what came first, the American people’s desire to know less and less or the media’s generation of less and less essential content?
Is the media responsible for the gradual indoctrination of the American people into this progressively ignorant and yet uninterested state? Has the media purposefully made Americans more uninformed of their surroundings and important world events? Or, did the American public’s fascination with the trivial manipulate the media into becoming sensationalistic and void of relevant content? The media is, after all, a business. How would they make money if they published stories that nobody wanted to read? What can the media do if Americans are more interested in Lindsay Lohan’s shenanigans?
I think that this country has lived for so long in splendid isolation that it has lost one of the very qualities that made it so great. The American people have lost that curiosity that took them to the moon and have gained an unwillingness to look beyond their borders to see how their role in the world has changed.
Thomas Jefferson once said that information is the currency of democracy. I fear that the people of the United States are slowly but surely leading themselves from being a nation of independent thinkers to a nation of similarly-minded and blissfully-ignorant idiots unless people wake up and realize that they have a responsibility, as citizens of this country and this world, to be informed. The time of reckoning has come. Wake up America. The world needs you and can’t afford to have you not care.