At one time, the news mattered. People tuned into the nightly news, or read a newspaper, to learn the truth about the day’s events.
But over time, the news media landscape fractured. There were no longer three channels and a hand-full of good newspapers. Technology advanced and the internet provided a megaphone to anyone who wanted one.
People managed to find like-minded souls all over the world and migrated to them, allowing some to build large followings. Those who practiced and studied discovered that the articles that were most read, and most shared, and most commented on were those that stirred an emotional response. Some, like cat videos, stirred warm feelings. Liberal and conservative blogs found that readers became the most engaged by stories that inflamed their most fervent political opinions.
This did not go unnoticed by big traditional news providers, now struggling to maintain relevance while competing with a hundred different cable channels, digital streaming outlets, and about a million different websites.
Look now to once proud news outlets and you will likely find articles or produced segments that expose your fears or provoke your outrage. Why? Because it’s been shown to make you more engaged, and they need people to be engaged in order to sell advertising and maintain profitability.
I no longer trust the media landscape to tell me the truth. I only trust it to try and manipulate my emotions to serve their agenda. In turn, this has caused me to disengage.