I was listening to a podcast from James Fallows from The Atlantic this past week. He said that we need more “proportionality” in the media. He cited that there is a small group of people who think that COVID-19 is a hoax and won’t wear face masks, but it’s a small group. Fallows went on to say that while they are a “cinematic…and…dramatic group, [they] shouldn’t be all over cable news all the time”.
The polarization of the media started years ago when the news became less about news and more about a place for political grandstanding then delivering “just the facts.” I stopped watching thinking I could read online and would pull instant feeds from social media to find my proportionality.
I was wrong.
Social media takes this all to levels that were unimaginable to date. Stories are blown up and clips are edited — slants are put on without any knowledge of who created it and what their slant even is. At least on TV, I am confident which slant Fox News will put on and which spin CNN will take. We’ve created this digital universe where everyone has a voice while at the same time no one does because the videos and pictures of single incidents can consume the voices of everyone.
Let’s take a few examples:
· How many videos of people looting and throwing Molotov cocktails (which I saw referred to on a newscast as a Mazel Tov cocktail) have you seen vs. the number of videos of peaceful protesting?
· How many videos of police offers beating protesters or shooting them with rubber bullets have you seen vs. videos of cops marching hand in hand and kneeling on courthouse steps all over this country?
· How many videos of body bags and awful stories of COVID19 killing people have you seen vs the 1000s of patients that beat the virus despite all odds?
So, how do we actually find more proportionality to make objective and rational decisions? Some thoughts:
· Be sure to watch both sides of arguments to obtain your news — e.g. CNN and Fox News
· Monitor and limit social media usage
· Don’t accept every posting you receive from the internet as true, do your due diligence before re-posting or distributing
Never has it been more important in history to educate yourself and find the truth among the disproportionate media we get.
There’s an election in 6 months — get smart and get out and vote.