Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It Came from the Media

A friend of mine wrote a youth curriculum by that title in the early 1990's. The idea was that the media has a great influence on young people, their actions, and unfortunately, their beliefs. I would like to report that things have improved in the last 15-20 years, but sadly I think that they have only gotten worse. In fact, one of the most important issues is that at this point, adults are nearly as subject to media influence as teens. Not only that, the pervasive impact of the media has crept into younger age groups as well.

A couple of recent examples of media influence illustrate the dangers perfectly. To begin with, let me make clear that I believe the reality television phenomenon to be a very bad thing. I have written about it before so I will not belabor the point. Just know that there is nothing real about reality tv. They are not real people. They are placed in unreal circumstances. A recent change is the celebrity status that reality participants get. There are many people who are now famous because they were on a reality show. UNREAL!! But I digress.

  • John and Kate. These two have too many children, but that is not the problem. The media has hounded them, because of their status as reality stars, until they are questioning their marital commitments to one another.
  • Susan Boyle. The frumpy middle-aged singer became a sensation because her voice did not match her appearance. The media turned her into an international star. Unfortunately, we got too much of her and turned on her. God only knows the extent of damage to Ms Boyle.
  • Nadia Suleman. Octo-mom just signed a contract to star in her own reality tv show. Some producer is looking to make a ton of money on something that no one should know or care about.

All of these have received media attention beyond their own reality vehicles. In fact, television news outlets have been saturated with the latest news from each camp. It infuriates me to hear the latest ramblings of a woman in a lot of children when I want to hear about the latest news from Washington, or Darfur, or the Middle East. Reality stars are not real. They should not be stars. And they are definitely not news.

One final word: If the media goes overboard, it is partially our fault. MSNBC, CNN and FOX News are only interested in ratings. They do not care about political agendas as much as they care about making money. They only broadcast information that you and I will watch. Shame on the media for putting it out there, but mostly shame on us for watching.

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