Friday, March 17, 2017

The Problem with the Media Environment

Just noting this headline:

Stephen Colbert has never been angrier — and his show's never been better

His ratings are way up since Trump was inaugurated.

Just as Obama was a huge gift to right-wing journalists, Trump is making millions for left-wing journalists.

Anger sells. And that just feels very dangerous to me.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"Anger sells. And that just feels very dangerous to me."

Except Stephen Colbert doesn't want to be angry, and isn't setting out to be.

He isn't some cynical media huckster gleefully celebrating how much money he can make through feigned displays of outrage - he's genuinely and justifiably outraged, and he's drawing a larger crowd of viewers because so many people are themselves outraged for the same reasons. If he didn't have a real reason to be displaying anger, he wouldn't be. If things magically got better overnight, his anger would evaporate just as quickly.

Anger in media isn't dangerous. Unjustified anger in media is.

It's one thing to have people like Jerry Springer or Judge Judy on television, where the anger and outrage is all fabricated and senseless nonsense that exists solely to cynically exploit the worst aspects of human psychology and societal failings in the pursuit of naked corporate greed.

It's another thing entirely to have people like Stephen Colbert on television, where the anger is not only atypical, but wholly genuine and justified by real societal problems, and exists partly to entertain, but equally as much to try to educate the viewing audience on complex and controversial subjects, to create meaningful discourse through satire, and to motivate individuals to become involved, to stay informed, and to be vigilant in the face of real problems in our government and society.