Our Drive-Thru, Pre-Packaged Media

An apt description of the current American media landscape, and it’s consumers

Americans Are To Blame For The Fractured State Of The Media

Thirty years ago, there was such a thing as “the media.” The daily paper was dropped on everyone’s doorstep in the morning. When dad came home from work, he’d switch on the television and watch the nightly news on one of the big three networks while waiting for dinner

Social media platforms proliferate this practice. Many people today get a substantial portion of their news exclusively from social media, specifically Facebook. Everyone “likes,” “shares,” and “favorites” those articles expressing points of view they agree with. Social media platforms exist to make money from keeping people’s eyeballs on their sites, so they respond by giving the viewer more of the same, reinforcing existing preconceptions even more.

Prior to the internet, market forces worked as a pretty good check and balance. If a network or newspaper went too far astray, it lost viewers to one of its competitors, which eventually pulled it back to the middle. With the fracturing of the market into micro-targeted segments, that centering function is gone. Now viewers just leave to one of a thousand information sources each trying to generate inflammatory clickbait headlines. Whereas once the choice between news sources was Wheaties or Cheerios, today the traditional news media is trying to sell Wheaties while some of its digital competitors market Oreo cookies, and others are selling straight crystal meth.

As long as the media in this country remains free, which it should, it’s the responsibility of every informed person to eat his Wheaties. If you’re a citizen who considers yourself informed, whether liberal or conservative, you need to have a foundation of general news from an established news source, e.g., an organization that has actual reporters with bureaus in major cities or that at least uses major news wires like Reuters or McClatchy, not just a sketchy aggregator site. Only after that should you rely on opinion-oriented sites or sites with well-established angles on the news. You’ve got to eat a balanced meal before you eat dessert. Feed your mind nothing but garbage and it will become fat and lazy.

And as far as educating yourself, do yourself a favor and follow some that run counter to your own inclinations. Follow both Mother Jones and National Review, Fox News and MSNBC. It’s not only a good way to fact check both sides, but it will also serve to remind you that the other ideological side isn’t trying to destroy America. Most of either side sincerely wants the best for this country. They just happen to have a different perspective than you. Too many people dig into their ideological fighting holes and consume media only to throw derogatory news grenades at the other side.

Finally, for the love of all that’s holy, stop clicking on conspiracy-theory sites. You’re just feeding their cancer on society with your traffic and shares. You should know them when you see them. Gaudy banner headlines and words like “REVEALED!” and “EXPOSED!” in all caps should ring alarm bells in your mind.

Blaming the news media at large for the state of today’s civil discourse and polarization is like blaming Taco Bell for the obesity epidemic. Sure they could do more to help, but really they’re just giving the people what they want.

The solution lies in each and every one of us — stop consuming junk media before it consumes us all.

The business model of the mainstream media, is to foment argument between the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ [as if there are only two perspectives], in order to entice the majority of viewers who parse their politics only in terms of Left/Right….to raise revenue. Are we too far down the rabbit hole to change the course of our media?


6 thoughts on “Our Drive-Thru, Pre-Packaged Media

  1. “The business model of the mainstream media, is to foment argument between the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’”.
    That sounds good, but there goal is to support the liberal left politicians as an adjunct arm of the democratic party. There is no other explanation for the lack of reporting on recent the Clinton scandals.


  2. It’s easy to attribute the entire media to having a political goal, but the bottom line doesn’t change….while there are certainly media sock puppets who would sell their Mother to get Leftists elected….the selection of media coverage isn’t general left to those we see and hear on air, and usually know which way they lean. That job is left to the owners and producers…and the overriding factor for them, is most certainly, the dollar.

    Now, that said, with Clinton being so closely tied to Wall Street….I could see some shenanigans afoot…but an overwhelmingly Leftist government or POTUS, is not going to be in the best interest of their bank account.


    • It’s ironic to see a blog advocate for the “lamestream media”, as it’s known on Youtube. While I agree that it’s useful to pay attention to the mainstream account, it is a very narrow view. I hear local talk radio hosts and national radio commentators parroting “facts” that I’ve seen intelligently debunked by sites that those same mainstream media personalities pooh pooh as “conspiretards”. There are new media voices on the left (e.g. Dave Reuben) and the right (e.g. Stefan Molyneux) who are better journalists than anyone on TV or in print today, IMO. If the traditional media wants to stem the ebbing tide of their relevance, they need to up their game.


      • Certainly not advocating for the MSM here……I’m very much on record as opposing both their business model and the death of investigative journalism….and opposing their turn toward the TMZ-ization of ‘news’.

        Some independent outlets are very good, but the vast majority seem to exist only to serve confirmation bias, and allowing charges of “lamestream media” to be forever used as an intellectual crutch when the speaker/writer has little foundation for their own position.

        Agree on Stefan Molyneux!

        Liked by 1 person

      • When I said “ironic”, I probably should have added “and refreshing”. Good information is where you find it. The longer I live, the more I think that *everyone* has areas where they’re irrational, even when in other areas, they seem completely rational. I believe that objective truth exists, but boy, we need to be careful before we declare certainty that we’ve found it. Keep on seeking!


      • Good points. I’ve also found that many otherwise intelligent people seem to find it irrational when you try and rely on objective truth…but it runs counter to the political or social narrative of that person. They then devolve into utter appeal to emotion.

        Liked by 1 person

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