The Failure of News

I found myself thinking today, “Why is every news platform so whiny and scared about a movie?” Article after article, I watched most mainstream news channels let their writers publish blogs about how “dangerous” an upcoming movie is, and how shameful it is for a large cinema company to allow the screening of it. Excuse me, but last I heard, there have been hundreds of R-rated movies allowed in theatres, so what makes this any different? I answered myself before finishing my sentence–it’s because it doesn’t promote the mainstream view. Because the movie has an opposing perspective on a “hot” topic, it is deemed “dangerous” by news outlets. This is ridiculous, because opposing perspectives are natural and make us challenge our preconceptions and think differently. If we’re not allowed to view material that challenges the mainstream view, isn’t that kind of brainwashing?

Also, why is there so much attention focused on a movie that’s only going to be screened for a few days, in a few theatres, when there are wars, sex trafficking, violence, poverty, all kinds of real injustice happening in the world right now? But a huge focus this week has been on a movie that might “offend” some people. How about we allow people the chance to see it if they want to and judge for themselves. (For real reviews from actual people who saw the movie, click here.)

News is supposed to be objective, not biased, emotionally charged, and written to evoke a certain belief. People should be able to read the news, have safe conversations with each other, and make up their own minds about where they stand. Almost every time I see a news article online about a political or social topic, it’s full of keywords that aren’t meant to share the truth, but help the company get more views and rank higher on Google than their competitors, while they’re all writing the same story. It’s hotter to write about controversial topics than what’s actually happening in the world, but we’re basically being fed garbage so news companies can make more money. As a result, this biased news nonsense makes us see anyone who disagrees with us as our enemy. It’s shaping the way we think and turning people against each other. Entertainment news is poison.

Frankly, I’m ashamed of where journalism has turned and I’m tired of the lazy, one-sided news and negativity. I’m also annoyed that I cannot escape these messages because social media has found purpose (and profit) in sharing these posts and causes despite my disinterest. Who decides what is acceptable and what isn’t? Isn’t tolerance, by definition, the ability and willingness to consider other ideas or actions that we don’t agree with? Or, does that only go one way?

On the bright side, there are other sources of news. International news may prove to be less biased and shed light on what’s happening outside of our bubble. Sources like the Good News Network has made it their mission to share encouraging, positive, uplifting stories.

News isn’t all bad, but there’s a lot of trash getting published online. My encouragement is for us to take a step back every time we read something online, and think, “What perspective is this story coming from? Does this article have bias? Does it reflect my personal views or someone I know? Is it genuine and true? Does it matter in the grand scheme of things?” Or, we can shrug our shoulders, close the tab, and move on.