Sensationalism and Newstainment

I wrote part of this post when I was on my way to New York. Somewhere along the way, in a haze of nigh zero caffeination, I had a couple of very deep thoughts. My hobby anthropologist has kicked in and well… I guess I had to get this concept out of my system.

We do not have news anymore. We have newstainment. Many reporters are actors in disguise who have a job to do to keep people interested twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We comment on what they look like, what they’re wearing, and focus on their appearance moreso than what they’re spewing. When something is incorrect, we reprimand them on our own social networks, but we keep watching. We keep listening. We keep feeding that fire.

The constant flood of communication is beginning to take its toll. Everything that you see and hear about now is not new. It’s not. What is new, however, is the fact that people who previously had no idea what policies, laws, or acts were being discussed now have access to that information. This, moreso than any devious set of people trying to push through their agenda, is what pisses people off.

For decades, we have been consumers of news. We have reacted to news when it happened. We trusted reporters to find the truth, to report what was valuable and what we needed to know. We were not subject to every piece of news that ever existed. Now? The tables have completely turned and we, the people, are creating the news and its the networks that are trying to catch up. To get us to listen to them again, the news feeds hit us where it count — our anger, our rage, and our sadness — to force a reaction. To get us to pay attention, so they can stay in business. And it works.

Sensationalist (or tabloid) journalism is a tactic to get readers and viewers. However, this is not (and will not) always be the case. We are reaching the tipping point where viewers and readers are exhausted from yet another fight, yet another battle. This is why you see the so-called culture wars that exist right now. It’s a combination of crappy reporting and too much communication combined with fear. While there are some issues that are very real, like how our society is coming to grips with the fact that love is love and isn’t defined anymore between a man and a woman, others are completely fake or based on old assumptions and paranoia.

People don’t like change. People never will embrace it, either. There will always be a hot button issue that will create strife among our society and there will always be oppression. Always. Right now, we do not have the tools to help our society transition to one of tolerance. We don’t. Why?

It goes back to sensationalism. With so much to scream and yell and shake our fist at — how do we know what is real and what isn’t? Scary thought, eh? Now, add censorship on top of that.

Congratulations, you’ve just entered into a daymare I’ve had.

    Mood: Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I shall consume mass quantities of rocket fuel. NOM NOM NOM.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Housework and painting.
    Yesterday’s Projects: Several
    In My Ears: Industrial
    Game Last Played: Grepolis
    Movie Last Viewed: Hrmmm…
    Book Last Read: Double hrmmm…
    Latest Artistic Project: Crystal cluster bracelet in silver
    Latest Release: Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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