Some bad media practice in massacre coverage? Yes. Public supporting it? Oh Yes. Want it to stop? Boycott any station that offends. Your life will not go downhill if you stop watching rubbish. Read newspapers instead and you will still be informed. Get over your own, possibly subconscious, hunger for emotional shock, and the cringingly awkward TV exploitation of victims. Realize that as an supposedly ‘outraged’ viewer you are actually paying the advertising bills that enable and encourage this. Stop naively assuming that that you too are a sort of victim of an all powerful media machine.
If only a few million unhappy viewers stopped eyeballing this kind of so-called journalism, there would be a rapid turnaround in coverage. TV stations and networks can not survive without your approval. And your eyeballs equal ad dollars equal approval. It is pure democracy. Yet, the elephant in the room is our failure as members of the public to exercise it. We complain but don’t use our leverage as individuals. Imagine if this thought went viral. The news media would in fact alter its coverage.
So ask yourself who is in charge. And if you happen to be in TV news, ask yourself what would happen if millions of individuals just turned you off. I know a bit about media tragedy intrusion and exploitation because I have engaged in it most of my life. I used to tell myself that I was performing a public service, serving the public’s right to know, and helping millions of viewers to make inform decisions. Sometimes that was true. But many times it was to advance my career, or at least keep my job. Trust me, it’s the same with those now covering Newtown, whether on scene or sitting in their chairs in New York. Self importance among us TV and web news media people is essential to the daily cut throat ritual of shocking viewers and web users into the loyalty which sustains ratings, which pays for mortgages and summer homes.
Emotional shock is a TV mainstay, and sometimes serves a noble purpose. It can be used to shock a nation into facing up to hard truths like abuse, racism or other injustices. It is also used by media platforms to try to survive. The logic goes like this: ‘If we don’t get down and dirty our completion will run over us.”. That’s true, as things now stand. But imagine what could be possible if even one network discovered that it could remain above water, possibly even flourish, not by ignoring or soft peddling bad news, but by at least not trying to drag soundbites out of tramasized children?