Meandering Monday about Creating the News

A chicken or the egg question: Does the NEWS lead the MEDIA, or does the MEDIA lead the NEWS?

I remember back when Jaws was in the theaters. There was a flurry of shark attacks reported in the news. Why? Were there more shark attacks than usual then? Did the sharks notice that more of them were happening, and want to join in the fun? Or was it just an attempt to boost circulation by giving people what they seemed to be interested in at the time?

The same thing seems to happen with UFOs – one report hits the papers (gosh I’m dating myself – whenever I say PAPERS, just remember I mean the MEDIA – whatever format is currently in vogue), and soon there are flying saucers being seen everywhere.

Maybe it’s our fault as consumers. If we demanded different perspectives, would the MEDIA deliver because that’s what we want? Or would the MEDIA still lead us around by the nose for our own good.

Oh look – SQUIRREL!

So much of our news media seems to be in lockstep – they all cover the same stories, almost as though there’s universal schedule that says “This week we’ll cover baby seals. Next week, lemmings.” Quite often they deliver the news using exactly the same words. I’ve lost count of the number of different MEDIA entities that refer to the January 6th event in Washington DC as “THE DEADLY JANUARY 6TH RIOTS” – not even appropriate labeling. It makes it sound like the “rioters” were doing the killing, when the only casualty that day was a protestor shot by a Capitol police officer. That day is also echoed through reports as an INSURRECTION, but no one has been charged with that particular crime (and the FBI has even concluded that there was no such plot.) Yet the labels persists. Sounds more like an exercise PROPAGANDA – in MAKING news rather than REPORTING it.

It makes me wonder why we have to have so many networks and stations if they can’t try to be unique – it’s like one person is writing all the news. The others are just engaged in a copy/paste operation. I wonder if a job at The Ministry of Truth pays the same as doing some actual journalism.

Someone once told me that a big difference between the USA and the rest of the world was that you could go to a newsstand (yes, I know – dating myself again) and find all sorts of publications, with news written from all different perspectives. We didn’t have just one viewpoint pushed, and you could determine the truth for yourself by weeding through the various accounts.

Nowadays, I see rows and rows of the same cover photos and headlines, looking like so many copies of the same publication, where only their names have been changed to give the appearance of diversity. How you know when you’ve found the truth?

Just saying…

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Reaching Out

William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

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