There are so many complaints about the media right now, escalating over the last couple years. People get as territorial about which media outlets are fake and which are reliable almost as strongly as they argue about a political candidate, social justice stance, etc.
I often wonder why we can’t simply discuss our concerns with people, infusing conversations with respect and attentiveness, leaning in to learn. Why must we be so loud and angry? Do we really listen to each other when we are, except when the loud and angry people agree with and affirm us?
We firmly claim we don’t like some media outlets because they don’t agree with us, don’t cover what we want, or slant the truth. This is not new. If you wonder why the news didn’t cover a specific event, instead of assuming it’s because of a particular set of beliefs (and it might be), consider: Do you know how many media outlets are covering news, each one looking for a slightly different take while also staying on the line of truth or at least the line of what their bend is?
Media is a business, and businesses want to survive. Media is going to try to get an edge because they want the scoop, a different angle, and so on. Why don’t we stop blaming others and take some responsibility? If we’re wise and intentionally filter information with truth, we potentially do a pretty good job of coming to our own conclusions. So what if a specific news channel doesn’t handle something the way you want. For most of us, we don’t watch the media outlets we’re complaining about most of the time. We just take a sound bite that proves our point and continue to slam the sources we don’t pay attention to anyway. We’re watching what we prefer. Even when we tune in for a minute or two, we catch a brief glimpse of coverage. Some news outlets are on air or online 24/7. You might miss the main coverage or miss the specific content you’re looking for.
And what about other media options? Social media, newspapers (online or print), websites, etc. We complain certain events weren’t covered, yet we somehow found out about the events. Maybe we learned most our information through social media, but we still found out about it.
And why rant on social media about all the issues we have with media…while using media? How are we supporting the very complaints we have about media by our attitudes toward and approaches to flooding social media? How are we perpetuating the unreliable sources and distorted perspectives as we share without fact- and source-checking?
With media in general, few of us have close contact with the root sources and decision makers. Few of us are in the rooms where priorities are made and sources filtered. We assume we know the reasons behind decisions, but we don’t. So, when we complain and share assumptions and generalizations, are we any better than the media we’re roasting?
Are we helping matters?
Who really listens to us when we’re not willing to listen well and join the table to learn more and grow?