Truth V.S. Ratings

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Who do you trust when you can’t trust anyone?

Trust takes time to build and can disappear in an instant, so it takes long-term planning to maintain trust with a person.  Building trust requires thinking ahead about the repercussions of your actions on other people – sacrificing quick pleasure today for more pleasure in the future.  That does not sound conducive to a 24-hour news cycle in which a news station must develop new methods of holding the attention of an audience in a society that rewards instant gratification more than long-term planning, a society that records success in quarterly reports with the expectation of indefinite growth.

Screenshot_2018-08-02 Why don_t people trust the news and social media A new report lets them explain in their own words

“Why don’t people trust the news?  Concern about bias, spin, and hidden agendas (Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab, 2017)”

The 24-hour news cycle has ruined the news industry – it’s no longer about effective journalism with an intent on holding power accountable to people – it’s about voyeuristic, sadistic, and instant pleasure for the worst aspects of ourselves.  We are not going to find content of substance on the “mainstream” networks designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the public and there is a shift taking place from traditional forms of media to new media.  Some new media stars (commentators, pundits, call them what you want) are gaining their own audience by mocking the old guards, making substantive new content through satire.

Let’s compare an interview from BBC’s Newsnight to it’s satirical counterpart by rising YouTube entertainer Wizard of Cause:

Both of the above videos inform the audience about the people involved in the interview but which of the video is more entertaining?

If media spokesmen want to regain the trust of the public, I think the first thing they need to do is place more faith in the public, particularly their audiences.  Rather than dumbing down content to make viewing require less effort to undertake, trust that the viewers can figure things out for themselves.  Perhaps newsmen can learn some things from comedians.

 

From New Mexico’s rural north to the big city.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

In March of this year, I migrated south from the village of Questa in northern New Mexico to the city of Albuquerque.  It was a dramatic change going from a village (not even a town) of less than 2,000 people to my state’s largest city of approximately 559,200 people.  I’ve lived in rural New Mexico since 2005, so for all intents and purposes, I’m from rural New Mexico.  I attempted to go back to southern California in 2016 after graduating from college but then I got a closer look at housing prices over there; I came back to the high desert with open arms.  Although, I’ve always preferred more urban environments over rural towns for purposes of convenience.

My initial hesitancy to move to Albuquerque was based on crime statistics (number one in the country for auto theft) as well as a less than favorable local reputation.  However; my two best friends in this state secured an apartment in one of the better neighborhoods in the city and offered me a chance to move in with them.  I accepted the opportunity because I was tired of living with family members; I wanted a place I could legitimately call my own (or at least 1/3 my own).  I had my own experience with local crime early this month and I may write about that in a future post but, other than that one instance, my apartment living in Albuquerque as been decent.  I’m using my hand-me-down car a lot less than in rural Questa and I’ve been attempting to “get out more” so goes the phrase.  I’ve learning more about the culture around the craft beer industry and scouting some local hangout spots where taps drip and gossip floats.  One brewery on Unser Boulevard, the Lava Rock Brewing Company, has a spectacular eastern view of the Sandia Mountains from its gated patio.

20180504_151945
East view from Lava Rock Brewing Co.

It seems New Mexicans really enjoy congregating around craft beer since there are 20+ local breweries/taprooms in Albuquerque alone.  Can you blame us?  We’re in the middle of a desert.  What else are we going to do with our water?

Communication, congregation, and productivity are keys to solidifying a community.  There are a lot of small communities in New Mexico but not much communication between those communities.  One reason for such isolation is the geography, the vast space between each region of the state.  I assume that as been an issue with communicating across the American west throughout history but, in the twenty-first century with our computer technology and digital environments, there are less excuses for not connecting with one’s neighbors.  Even a solitary curmudgeon like myself can understand the importance of being in touch with one’s locality.

The Media Outrage Machine Must Die

Featured image courtesy of <theantimedia.com>.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

If you ever find yourself the target of an angry mob over something you said on a media platform, DO NOT make a public apology. Double down on your ideals and embrace the hate.

The media outrage machine is arguably a product of the 24-hour news cycle and the extreme partisan climate Americans see in our politics these days. When television news stations run programs all day, every day, how much of what they’re covering is actually news worthy? What is news worthy? What topics are simply used as filler for day-time programs?

I think a news station that is required to run programs all day, every day, is destined succumb to partisan play (catering to a particular faction or ideology). Political journalists should be writing about promises from political candidates, candidates’ financial sources, financial corruption, elections, votes, election fraud, voter fraud, legislation, government appointments, government edicts, conflicts of interest, (you get my point) any number of issues relating government functions and public transparency. Drama between two specific commentators is not news worthy.

The new poster boy for the Democratic Party, David Hogg, was wrong to sick his sycophants on Laura Ingraham and attack Ingraham’s advertisers. Ingraham’s initial tweet about Hogg and his college aspirations wasn’t even that insulting compared to most political insults these days and, in any case, she already apologized for it (something Ingraham should not have done). Ingraham should have ignored Hogg’s whining and continued with her usual banter. On the flip side, Hogg cannot step into the political arena and then claim the victim card once he’s criticized. I don’t care if he’s a high school student, his ideas (like everyone else’s) are not immune to criticism.

I suppose I should be cheering Hogg and Ingraham for further contributing to the fall of mainstream media. That’s what happens with a business model that caters to the lowest common denominator of our society.