Fiction in the Media

I love the art of storytelling. That’s probably why I’m obsessed with books, movies, and video games (a very underrated art of storytelling). I love stories.

One place I don’t want to experience fictional or sensationalized stories, however, is the mainstream media. The purpose of the news is to report the news, not create it. The age of 24-hour news coverage and advertising dollars has created an insatiable beast that I fear we will never be able to slay. I now view the stories on the news as more works of fiction than fact. The two most recent examples of the media and their story-creating tendencies are the royal birth (a non-story) and the George Zimmerman trial (a completely media-generated story).

The royal birth is non-news. We fought an entire war so we, as Americans, wouldn’t have to give a damn about the King of England. What is there to report? Here’s the story: boy…born…end. What else is there? He’s not the king yet…he’s barely a human being at this point. And yet the major networks found it necessary to interrupt television with “special reports” that were an hour long about this freakin’ kid and what kind of curtains were in his nursery. The monarchy is a complete affront to democracy in general. What do those people even do? They don’t have any real power, but the government still gives them millions of dollars a year?  FOR WHAT?! Why are they allowed to live in a big castle and soak up millions of dollars from the government? Why does England celebrate these freeloaders? Worse, why do WE?

But NOTHING has been worse than the George Zimmerman trial. I cannot believe how worked up people are about the entire thing. It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you’re on…there shouldn’t even be sides. If you know anything about law, there shouldn’t have even been a trial. The only reason there was a trial was because of the news coverage and their complete fabrication of the facts. According to Florida law, Zimmerman didn’t even do anything wrong. There was no evidence to support any story other than the one Zimmerman himself provided, In normal circumstances, if there is zero evidence, a case doesn’t go to trial. This wasn’t about race until the news made it about race, and they made it about race because they knew it would get people worked up about it and it would garner more attention.

Here’s the real story of what happened that night: two stupid people met on the street and one of them ended up dead. END. There’s nothing more to it than that. It happens every single day here in America. And yet by distorting the facts (and constantly showing a picture of a 12-year old Trayvon Martin when the kid was 17) the news made it something more. They made it about race relations when it wasn’t. If people want to get worked up about something, get worked up about the “Stand Your Ground” law; get worked up about the lack of gun control in this country. Don’t swallow the lies that are fed to you by the media who are so obviously playing off your emotions.

Here’s the truth: if Trayvon Martin would have gotten shot during a busier news cycle, none of us would have known about it. But since there was no news, the media CREATED the news. That’s terrifying. Information is power. These huge media conglomerates control the information we receive and when that information is fabricated or embellished or flat-out false, that breaks the sacred trust that exists between the viewer and those who are tasked with keeping us information.

Fiction belongs in novels and television; it has no place in the media.

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~ by themoderntranscendentalist on July 26, 2013.

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